The honeymoon Graham and I imagined underwent a myriad of transformations throughout our engagement. A little less than a year ago, when Graham and I first discussed our potential marriage, his first question– even before “Will you marry me?”– was, “Where should we honeymoon!?” I guess he was excited about it or something. Graham first suggested “The Mediterranean Coast” and “Italy” and probably “Mars” before I reminded him of the sad state of our bank accounts. After officially becoming engaged and eventually setting a date, we toyed with the idea of honeymooning in Outer Banks, North Carolina where he and his family frequently vacation. Because of a few complications like not owning a car and not wanting to drive hundreds of miles on unfamiliar highway (I’m a skittish driver with a terrible sense of direction), we nixed this idea. We came very close to booking a vacation cabin in the Catskill mountains (reasonably price and close to home) but my family thought of a better plan. My dad’s family lives in Mexico and owns a condo in Acapulco, which they graciously offered us the week following our wedding. My dad planned to help us with the airfare and aside from Graham’s lack of passport, everything seemed fabulous. Due to unforeseen financial difficulties, my Dad ended up helping us with the broker fee on our new apartment as a wedding gift rather than pay our airfare to Mexico. Realizing that we’d rather have a place to live for a year than a six day vacation, we opted to forgo a proper honeymoon and save the money for a big trip next summer.
Nevertheless we still had a relaxing and incredibly fun first week as Mr. and Mrs. Badger. We stayed two nights at a gorgeous hotel near the site of our wedding where we spent a day and a half being completely lazy, drinking water out of champagne flutes and eating way too much at the four star, river view restaurant on the hotel’s lower level. Although we left our room quite a bit (surprisingly) we rarely saw other guests. Even the swimming pool was completely empty aside from Graham and I, which meant we acted completely juvenille and spent way longer in the hot tub than is healthy or necessary. Our room was almost as large as our entire apartment back home and completely worth the high cost. I almost refused to leave when check-out time rolled around on Monday.
Because of a lot of reasons I won’t discuss in length, Graham and I had to take separate flights back to New York. I left first on Monday afternoon, while Graham arrived the next evening– not the way to kick off a honeymoon. I love Manhattan, but after spending ten days in a place as beautiful and serene and community-oriented as Graham’s hometown, the city felt empty, dirty and just . . . too much. I never thought I’d feel the need to live anywhere else, but the more my priorities change in adulthood, the more I realize that I can’t do the New York Thing forever. I can’t deal with the materialism and the crowds and the somewhat shallow attitude posessed by so many people here. There are rich, vibrant communities and a lot of layers to this plays, but as a middle class, white, conservative Christian, married nineteen year old, I don’t fit here anymore. Upon arriving in the city again, I resolved to enjoy life here while I can because I know I’ll miss it when and if we move away.
I spent Tuesday pining for Graham, cleaning the apartment and shopping with our wedding giftcards. Disappointed by ugly selection of area rugs at Bed, Bath and Beyond, I purchased such exciting items as kitchen cleaner, potholders, a tablecloth and fragrant candles to help me feel less lonely. While waiting for Graham to get home, I twittered obnoxiously and cooked a semi-elaborate dinner which I had waiting on our tiny kitchen table when Graham walked in the door. We turned off our phones and spent the next five days on a “homeymoon staycation” that looked a little like this (figuratively speaking):
- Wednesday, we walked around the Upper West Side, browsing our favorite thrift store, a great place called Housing Works which sells donated, high quality items to fight AIDS and homelessness in NYC. After acquiring a shirt, two dinner plates and a pair of reading classes for a total of about $10, we walked through central park and briefly considered visiting the zoo or a museum before deciding that we’d rather spend three hours at a new bookstore that recently opened on the Upper East Side (which we did). That evening we picnicked on the floor of our unfurnished living room watching some lighthearted comedy and fell asleep at 9pm.
- Thursday was “Brooklyn Day.” We indulged our touristy side and hiked over the Brooklyn Bridge, marveling at the gorgeous views of Manhattan and the East River. Upon reaching the borough of my former residence, we walked to a cute rare and used bookshop near the bridge where Graham looked for rare copies of important novels and I reminisced over my favorite children’s classics. We resisted buying anything and instread hopped on a subway to the Park Slope neighborhood for lunch at my favorite brooklyn vegan cafe and a visit to the magnifiscent Brooklyn Public Library. I played in some water fountains with a group of six year olds and Graham looked at their expansive collection of college & university reference books. Greenwood Cemetery was on our agenda, but we were both so exhausted from walking all day that we decided to head back home to Upper Manhattan, watch another movie and fall asleep way too early.
- On Friday, we rose with the sun (um, sort of) and braved the confusing MTA bus system to spend the day at Orchard Beach in the Bronx. I tend to think of the Bronx as the mysterious last few stops on the 6 train, the zoo and a place where people get mugged, but to my delight this often unvisited borough is home to one of the most gorgeous and relatively quiet beaches in the Bronx. Though the water was freezing and there were few waves or food and beverage options, we spent hours in the water and “tanning” on the sandy shore. In reality, Graham’s too white to tan. He got a little color and a lot of neck sunburn, while I got in interestingly complex tanline from my new “modest” swimsuit. (Okay, it’s not THAT modest compared to my usual standards but it’s got a skirt and a long top, which makes me a nun compared to your average sunbathing New Yorker.) There are few things I love more than a day spent by the water, so this was without a doubt my favorite day of the honeymoon. That evening we stayed in (as usual), made pizza and watched another cheesy movie of my choosing.
- Saturday was mostly spent walking around the East Village, eating falafel and spending more time at bookstores. (Housing Works Bookstore and Cafe to be precise. Easily my favorite spot for CHEAP books and good coffee, all for a great cause.) I’m sure we fell asleep at like 8pm and played Bingo or something.
After we came back to “real life”, Graham went back to work, I went back to dance and we both got sick. I had a moderately successful audition for a regional musical while sustaining a 101 degree fever, which proves that I dance better when I’m not trying and possibly carrying swine flu. I’ve been incredibly spoiled over the past few weeks, spending my days playing housewife and going to dance class. Once I start school, I’m going to have stress and more responsibility and all kinds of fun things. As of now, I essentially clean a lot , cook a lot, do dishes, go to dance class and write. Right now, my good friend Adam is in the city and staying with us, so I’m getting to play hostess as well as housewife. It’s amazing how much more I care about things being cleaned and organized when the things are my responsibility. I’m by no means a neat freak, but there’s something so peaceful and home-y about having a clean apartment that’s mine. It makes me feel like I’m doing my job right. It doesn’t hurt that I have the most caring, thoughtful husband in the world who continually raves about my cooking to anyone who’ll listen. I know my life is about a lot more than cooking and cleaning, but right now, it’s pretty satisfying to know I’ve got those two things down.
This entry was all over the place and I’m sorry. Starting next week, I’ll be back in school, back to work more often and probably not blogging quite so much. If you want to keep up with what’s going on with Graham and I, follow us on our new blog Marriage on the Quad where we’ll be discussing college, work, marriage, faith and other things. It’ll have way more structure than this ol’ thing and you’ll probably see a lot more of my domestic side– recipes, tips for saving money on stuff etc. I’ll still be maintaining Words Can Keel(er) but chances are I’ll update Marriage on the Quad more frequently. Apologies again for the unusually long, fever-induced blabbering. Time to go take care of my sick husband (and self).