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NYC and Portugal Sunshine

Remember when I thought it would be great to catch up and have a chilled out week in New York in May? How I ever thought that being in New York City and being relaxed would go together, I’m not really sure.

After one of the worst flights of the year, I arrived in New York. Mostly I was here to attend JDC’s board meetings, get some work done in the office, and to maybe change out some clothing options as I transitioned in to summer. I did all those things and more.

Some highlights:

  • I thought I’d be efficient and get my laundry done with a wash and fold. Well, I dropped off ALL of my clothing (ie. if it wasn't done I had nothing to wear), and it was only just done drying when I went to pick it up. Needless to say I didn’t get my clothes folded. One day all my clothes will be clean and folded, just not any time soon…. #thisshouldbemyworstproblem

  • I got to hang with my friends and family in NYC which was also the first dose of attempting to share all my stories with said friends and family. In doing so I recognized I really learned a lot and experienced so much. It was also nice to see and be around familiar faces for a bit.

  • I attended the board meetings, gave a presentation, and shared some of my experiences with the committee that chose me. This was another look at how this large organization functions, how work gets done, and op

portunities to network. It gave me a chance to interact and see the passion and care that board members have for JDC and the work it does.

  • I saw Fiddler on the Roof, in Yiddish. I wrote a whole post about it, but not sure about publishing it. The show is totally worth seeing, and served for me as somewhat of a capstone on my travels through the region in which it is set. It brought to life some of the stories I’ve heard and connections I’ve made, in that this story is so many people’s stories. The places the people go at the end are the beginning of a diverse set of unknown futures. In many ways, I felt like my last few months had shown me what these potential futures really turned into, what happened to all the people generations later and how JDC has had an impact on some of the outcomes. I definitely have more to say on this.

  • I tried to repack, I had a minor freak out about what bags to pack in again. I packed, and then completely unpacked and repacked, and ended up with the same bags. I eliminated clothes, and added them back in. I eliminated shoes, and added them back in. Suffice it to say, packing is forever a challenge.

Overall New York was good. But it wasn’t relaxing. It wasn’t a break, and it highlighted to me the importance of taking breaks, allowing yourself to slow down and the necessity of needing a recharge. I left New York exhausted. It wasn’t just being exhausted from the week, it was the months and weeks before catching up with me. It was recognizing just how much information and experience I’d taken in this year, and was still continuing to process. Then I went to Portugal.

Portugal. (Hi Mom and Dad!)

Portugal was vacation with my parents. Yes, I convinced my parents that instead of meeting me somewhere like New York, they should fly a little further and meet me somewhere like Portugal. So they did.

We spent time in Lisbon and Lagos. As I mentioned, I needed this. I didn’t realize it but I just needed some quality parental time, and a bit of a break. We navigated our way on trains and rental cars around Portugal, taking in sites, relaxing, reading, catching up, and only a little bit of funny bickering which usually has to do with someone being a bit “hangry”.

I impressed my father with my rental car driving and navigation skills (and made my mother nervous) around the very curvy, very narrow roads. We walked on beaches and sat in the sun and ate ice cream. We saw the end of Europe, some sweet waves and a semi-secret beach. Really, it was a wonderful week of a little bit of TLC mixed with adventure mixed with a mental break for myself. Plus, how cute are my parents?!

This trip also enlightened me to a few of my quirks and traits that clearly come from each of my parents. It was somewhat fascinating to really consider it all up close. From how I make decisions to thinking through problems, and my curiosity. I really saw to some extent how I became me. Thanks Mom and Dad you did a decent job! ;)

Truly my parents have always been amazing, allowing and encouraging me to adventure, trusting my choices, and knowing how to laugh. We talked about their parents – and my Dad made sure to share stories about our own family history – I may have had a few details wrong about my grandparents in past posts. It was a chance for them to get a glimpse of my “life on the road” as well. If you are in Detroit, stop by and say hi to them – I’m sure they’ll tell you all about it too!

Refreshed, I left Portugal and headed to Florence for a conference!

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