For the first time in three years I was able to celebrate Thanksgiving at home with my family. This year, instead of my parents and me flying all the way to New York to be with my sister, she flew home with us. It was the first time I had seen my sister in person since leaving for Buenos Aires in June. It was so nice to have her home! We spent most of the time lounging on the couch together and catching up. On Thanksgiving my dad and I prepared a side dish (a quick-fix butternut squash recipe after we burned our first squash), drove up to Petaluma, CA and spent the afternoon with two of my dad’s brothers and their families.
A few days later I drove my sister to the airport to send her back to Fordham University at Rose Hill for school. I wasn’t too sad for her to leave because I was going to see her in less than a week. As a present for my 21st birthday, my parents agreed to send me back to the East Coast so I could visit some of my friends at Holy Cross and then spend my big birthday weekend with one of my best friends who studies at Fordham University Lincoln Center and then with my sister at Rose Hill. The trip also worked out perfectly because I could stop in Framingham, MA to pick up a few winter items that I had left in storage at a family friend’s house, which I would need to get me through the cold Dublin winter.
It was the weirdest sensation to be back on campus after a semester away. I felt so out of place and yet right at home. Usually when I am on campus I am running from classes to meetings to study sessions, but this time I was just wandering campus with two of my best friends and enjoying spending time with people I know at a place I love. I only stayed for 24 hours but I did get to fit in a trip to the library, a few meetings, and, of course, dinner at Kimball.
The next morning I rushed off to Union Station and took the commuter rail to Boston then the train to Penn Station in NYC where I met my friend Anna, a theater major at Fordham. She and I spent two days packing in as many activities as possible. We went to an art exhibit at Columbus Circle, saw the movie Lincoln (one of Anna’s professors was a senator in the movie!), and ate out at a few great restaurants. One morning we took a run through Central Park together and although it was chilly, it was so beautiful and so quintessentially New York.
I spent the next two days in the Bronx with my sister, meeting her friends and walking around campus. For my actual birthday we went back into Manhattan for a nice dinner at the steakhouse Smith and Wollensky’s. My sister and I were joined by our friend Claire who surprised me half way through dinner with a present from her family and her sister Katy, my friend from Holy Cross who is studying at St. Andrews in Scotland this year. Katy bought me a beautiful scarf in Scotland and her parents dropped off the gift at the restaurant while we were there. We all ate way too much steak, I ordered my first legal glass of Champagne, and we got a massive plate of dessert on the house. I left the next morning to go back to California and although I left the East Coast exhausted and with a head cold, I think it might have been the best birthday on record.
Katie Riley '14