Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Happy Holidays, and A Few Much Needed Catch Up Posts!

Well, things have been kind of hectic since I last posted.  I can't believe it's been over 2 weeks since I visited this space.  I am now typing on my new Dell XPS13 (which is still taking a lot of adjustment - I miss the exquisite hardware of my Macbook Air!) and I have a lot to say about what has been taking place this month!

When we last left off, Michael had departed for New York a few days ahead of me, and he used the time to work on some improvements to our house in Brooklyn.

I flew out of Hong Kong on Thursday night, planning to land in New York City the same night at around 10:30 pm.  In an utterly unbelievable stroke of luck, I was upgraded from economy to premium economy when I checked in at the airport (yaaaaaassss!) and then, upgraded again from premium economy to business class at the gate!  I couldn't believe it - the Thursday night before the busiest travel season of the year?!  It felt like winning the lottery.  I had been dreading spending 17 hours cooped in economy and it felt like the airline gods were really taking care of me that night.  If this is how Cathay Pacific awards passenger loyalty then they have just won my steadfast devotion.

The funniest thing about getting upgraded on Cathay is that they barely tell you.  At the counter I had to ask the lady, "why does it say premium economy on my ticket?"  to which she responded with no change in expression, "oh you were upgraded."  At the gate the man took my ticket, promptly ripped it up and gave me a new one with a smile.  It was only as I was walking away that I realized it was now a business class ticket!

When I landed in NYC, I was in a bit of shock at the cold.  I had just come from 70+ degree balmy weather to a frigid 30 degree, windy, dark night.  Michael (my chariot in waiting) picked me up, and we then began to make our way to Cleveland.  We were trying to make it to Michael's brother's wedding which was taking place on early Friday evening.

Michael drove until we were starving and drooping with exhaustion, and we checked into a gloomy hotel in western Pennsylvania and scarfed down stale pizza and chips.  It was not our finest hour.  I was very jetlagged so I was up by 5:30 am.  We got on the road before 7 am and continued west toward Cleveland.   Despite the bad weather it was pretty smooth driving.  I marveled at the fact that I was seeing snow for the first time in nearly two years. (!)

Our first glimpses of Cleveland when we rolled in Friday early afternoon.
 We promptly checked into our hotel, and I fell into bed and took a very long nap.  Sleep feels so good when you're jetlagged that you can practically taste it - that's how delicious it is.
 We stayed at the Ritz downtown this time, but I really didn't like their service.  This hotel was under construction so they had no gym, they lost our car at valet for a bit, and they're so slow to respond to requests.  For Cleveland, we really like the Westin.
 The room was still very comfortable, though.
 We had some nice views of blustery Cleveland.  It was really, really cold.
 The wedding was at Park Lane - a short ceremony followed by a cocktail hour, followed by dinner and dancing.
 This antipasti spread was yummy.
 We sat at a rowdy table with some of Michael's younger siblings and had a great time.  I hadn't laughed so hard in a while.  It was great to be back and see everyone.  It's crazy how much the nephews and nieces seem to have grown and changed each time we're back.

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