May 18, 2015

Sister, Sister || Rachel in the Big Apple

It was so, so special to have my baby sister Rachel visiting us for a month of her summer vacation!.Though I do get in my quality time with her whenever I'm back home for a visit, but it never feels like I get enough. So to have her come and stay with us was really fun! We did so many things in such a short amount of time, and just looking back at the past few weeks is a real treat.


Everything started the moment we were dropped off at the airport and embarked on our first flight ever where it was just us two. We watched movies in tandem, fell asleep and read books (or I did, anyway), and generally just enjoyed the fact we had each other for company on such a long trip. When we touched down in the US, we were picked up at the airport by Joel. Upon our arrival at home, we tidied up a bit before going off to Trader Joe's to grab a few groceries and celebrating with a welcome home dinner at Panda Express.

The next day, Rachel & I headed off to go and see the Statue of Liberty. After living here for nearly five years, you'd think I'd have already done this, but I hadn't! The timing was pretty good because it wasn't too crowded, and the sun began to peek out of the clouds. We visited Liberty Island first, then Ellis Island next, before returning back to Manhattan. We dropped quickly by the World Trade Center memorial, then went up to Levain Bakery for some cookies, before we took the train to Target to grab a couple of essentials.

On Saturday, Macky, Rachel and I ventured into New York to play tourist. We visited the Top of the Rock, which I've also never done before. It has spectacular views on both sides (Central Park and The Empire State Building being the main things you'll notice), and I really am glad we were able to go! We then walked by St. Patrick's Cathedral on our way to Momofoku Milk Bar for some cereal milk and cookies. On a whim, Macky decided to show Rachel the Boat Basin. We then headed over to grab some Shake Shack, which we ate at a bench by the Museum of Natural History.


I had to go back to work the following week, but Rachel managed to learn the subway system and wander around on her own. The next fun thing we got a chance to do together was go to Woodbury Commons on a Saturday, where we did just a little bit of shopping before we headed back home.  It was a fun, random road trip with Mel, Joel, Macky along with us! The next day, we went to Poco NYC for Mel's birthday brunch and visited Il Laboratorio de Gelato for some ice cream. Pat & Ian gave us a ride home, and we wound up having a late dinner while watching the Avengers movie.


Birthdays week! During the next week, we celebrated Macky's birthday with a midnight salubong (welcome) and dinner at The Bao, followed by dessert at Big Gay Ice Cream. We also celebrated Mel's birthday with a midnight salubong and lunch at Bill's Burger and Bar. Macky, Rachel & I also went to see Avengers: Age of Ultron together, and spent the next day cleaning up the apartment. (And when I say cleaning, I mean MASSIVE spring clean.)

The weekend brought on a spontaneous road trip to Boston! I've already written plenty about this trip, but the highlights include the Cookie Monstah truck, a visit to Harvard, sunset at Nobska Lighthouse and a bike ride along the Shining Sea Bike Trail.


During this week, Rachel & I went to see a Broadway show together - Finding Neverland (which I really enjoyed!). We also went out of our way to get all the things she wanted to buy, and to buy all the stuff people were asking her to bring home too. Her friend Rose arrived in town on Friday, and we had a small dinner with Macky and Tita Joni at Sweet Basil, a great Thai place near the apartment.

We ventured to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens on Saturday. In spite of the gloom and occasional (very) light drizzle, we had a good time! The layout of the gardens is lovely, and the flowers are gorgeous. We were all especially enamored with the cherry blossoms. (They seriously made me want to go back to Japan!). After a turn around most of the gardens, we left to go and grab lunch at Grimaldi's. Even though we had to wait in line a bit, it was worth it for the pizza! We popped on over to Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory to grab some ice cream, and enjoyed it as we wandered around Brooklyn Bridge Park. Eventually, it was time to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge - which we did fairly quickly. 

We headed on over to Hoboken afterwards, and wandered a bit before meeting up with the Ornillos (family friends of ours) at Arthur's Tavern. It's one of the most well-known steakhouses in New Jersey, and for very good reason. It was fun to catch up a bit with everyone and see how they were! After dinner, Rose, Rachel, Macky, Clarissa & I headed on over to grab some frozen yogurt and then take a turn around the park before we parted ways.


This week was been all about the errands. We literally spent time finishing off Rachel's lists of souvenirs to buy and she's been out seeing what she has left to see on her list. It was the quietest week by far, but the most emotional, as we knew she would be leaving us soon! We had a birthday dinner for Joel at Ichiumi one night, then met up to go shopping on more than one. We also managed to squeeze in a showing of Pitch Perfect 2 on Friday night with my friend Danica, which was aca-awesome.

On Rachel's last full day, yesterday, we grabbed brunch at Serendipity, and then headed over to Coney Island for a couple of hours just wandering the boardwalk and Luna Park. We ended the night with an impromptu pizza party and movie marathon too!

Just seeing this month's worth of memories makes my heart so happy. I'm always glad to spend time with my baby sister, who is growing up to be a fine young lady with a good head on her shoulders and a good heart to match. I'm going to miss her funny stories, her little quips, her silliness, her cleaning skills, her easy affection. I'll miss getting my regular good night hugs, and the laughing fits, and just being able to show her the city I fell in love with. It was so, so good to have her here, and I'll treasure that forever. I love you, Boo. So glad you came.


  1. Wow, this sounds like one of the greatest months ever! You really showed your sister all of the best that NYC has to offer!

  2. You're so cute!

  3. THAT ICE CREAM, yuuuum! Finding Neverland sounds like a great show. It sounds like you had a great time with your sister, I'm happy for you :)


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