Yes, it’s been a while.
I’ve now finished uni for the year and it’s a great feeling. I’m getting back into the routine I used to enjoy and it’s so good to have less pressure and more time.
I found the last semester fairly demanding as it involved five subjects and two different campuses and essays and exams and yes, another dreaded maths test. When all of that wrapped up I had a weekend off and then started working in a rehabilitation unit at a public hospital. With those weeks now finished, the only thing needed to complete first year is my results. Apparently they’ll be posted just before Christmas.
The semester wasn’t all work and no play as I was able to organise a lightening fast trip to New York. Although gone eight days, I had just six nights in the Big Apple that went faster than a New York minute. I took Arabella with me. We left on her birthday, flew into Los Angeles the next morning which was the day we’d already had so it was her birthday again, then landed in New York in time to go out for a celebratory dinner at a restaurant I’d booked four weeks earlier.
We landed at JFK and were pounced on by someone pretending to be a cab driver who then took us to Greenwich Village via a petrol station where he filled up and bought snacks like pots of yoghurt he ate with a spoon while texting and talking on the phone all while driving. He ripped us off and demanded an enormous tip and all the drama made us 15-minutes late for our dinner reservation. As we were walking in, our table was being swiftly given to an older couple.
Not knowing where else to go, we stood five-deep from the bar and waited and waited and waited for a table and every now and then were told it wouldn’t be too much longer. At that point we’d been awake for about 30 hours so wouldn’t have minded a seat and finally, we were told we couldn’t get a table but they could seat us at the bar where we would be able to order the burger (and that apparently was an enormous expression of goodwill because the chef has a rule of making no more than 12 burgers a day).
So we had a lovely dinner that I didn’t photograph because it was impossibly dark and I was just beyond it with fatigue but the lovely gesture from the restaurant was that they had remembered it was Arabella’s birthday (I’d mentioned it four weeks earlier when I made the booking) and so they brought out complimentary profiteroles with candles. That was a wonderful touch on a great birthday. Arabella said it was one of her best birthdays ever – it was certainly the longest.
The restaurant is Raouls. To me it was very ‘Sex in the City’. I can highly recommend it but make sure you book and whatever you do, don’t be late or your booking will be given to one of many other walk-ins hoping for a table.
We were in New York for my sister’s birthday. The party was on the Saturday night and we knew it would be glamorous so from Sydney we booked The Glam Squad. A hair stylist and a make-up artist came to our apartment and glammed us. They were so professional yet so much fun and they told us great stories about their experiences going all over Manhattan for work and the people they’d met and the experiences they’d had. We were highly entertained.
I can definitely recommend The Glam Squad although, this wasn’t inexpensive. However, we decided this would be the one indulgence of our trip and we had such happy time with the glammers that it was a definite highlight. If you’re paying in Aussie or non-US dollars you have to factor in not only the fee and then the tax and then the 22% tip that’s automatically added to the bill, but also the exchange rate. I’m just not going to look at that AMEX statement for a while.
The party was a sit-down dinner for 50. It was held in a New York loft that was an empty space and then everything was brought in – tables, chairs, cutlery, food, drinks, waiters, etc. My brother-in-law organised the night from start to finish and did an impressive job of making this a really special night for Em.
The only way to get up to the venue was via a lift that was like being in a bird cage – I’ve only ever seen lifts like it in movies where there’s an imminent murder scene.
After the entree and before the main course it was my moment to be on stage as I gave a speech I’d finished writing on the plane. I received a standing ovation which completely took me by surprise. Later Liev Schrieber came up and, thinking he was talking to a kindred spirit, talked to me about theatrical direction, timing and audience reaction. I tried to appear very knowledgeable by nodding and agreeing and then he asked, ‘So what part of the industry are you in?’ And I said, ‘The public health industry; I’m a nurse’. Hilarious!
Then he asked me when I’d be back in New York because he’d love me to come and see him perform in Dangerous Liaisons on Broadway. Well…don’t stand by for that story because as tempting as that offer is, it’s going into the ‘Sadly-Very-Impossible’ file.
I landed back in Sydney with a thud with all the shimmer, sparkles and star-dust quickly vaporising as I returned to uni to receive dire marks and work on the wards in an unflattering uniform that makes me look like a shapeless bus driver.
So that’s what I’ve been up to. I’m now looking forward to the Christmas season and in the next couple of weeks, if you’re looking for inspiration, I’ll be posting a couple of fabulous recipes for the festive season.