On Monday, my cousins arrived in Baltimore for a ten-day visit. This is the first Christmas ever that will be spent with extended relatives on my dad’s side of the family. Our holidays are usually celebrated with my mom’s sister and brother-in-law, as well as my grandfather. With the exception of my dad’s two nephews, the vast majority of his family currently lives in Iran. Nearly six years ago, my cousin, her husband, and two daughters moved to Canada. They were finally able to travel to the United States this year, now that they have their visas.
It has been eleven years since I last went to Iran, meaning that it has been eleven years since I have seen my grandmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins! Although I wish my entire family could be reunited for Christmas, I am grateful that I am able to spend the holiday with at least some of my relatives.
With this being my cousins’ first trip to the United States, we want to pack in as many activities as we can during their stay. By 6:30am Tuesday morning, my family and I were on our way to New York City. My mom and older sister stayed behind, but my dad and brother came along this time.
Just like when Natalie, Ali, and I go to the city together, we started the day with breakfast at Bagel Maven. A whole wheat everything bagel is the perfect fuel for a long day of walking!
Once we ate, we started making our way downtown.
After walking about 40 blocks, we arrived at our first destination, the World Trade Center memorial site.
We chose not to buy tickets to see the site since the lines were long and there was an hour-long wait. From there, we went to SoHo to do a bit of shopping. I was the leader of the pack to ensure that we wouldn’t get lost, though I seemed to get a little too far ahead at times.
[Natalie randomly took this picture, but when we later looked at it, we realized that Ali and I looked like twins. We always inadvertently end up matching and our similar haircuts don’t help!]
After spending the last several weeks diligently shopping for Christmas presents, I certainly did not need to be shopping (for myself or anyone else!). Instead, I helped my cousins pick out a few items, including lululemon gear. We stopped for coffee and a few other snacks along the way, but eventually made our way to Midtown.
When I travel to New York City, I tend to stay away from the tourist attractions, but we couldn’t let our cousins miss out on Times Square!
They were mesmerized by the crowds, the shining bright lights, and the cheerful atmosphere!
I hadn’t been to the Toys “R” Us store in Times Square since I was in middle school, but it was fun to see all of the little children going crazy in there.
We then went to Rockefeller Center to see the tree all lit up. I found the Grinch as we were walking!
By 7pm, we had been walking for eight hours (walking was our only means of transportation the entire day!) and it was turning into a cold and rainy night. To regain some energy, we ate dinner at Bella Vita, a brick oven pizza place. My siblings and I ordered a white pizza to share—it was fantastic!
After finishing dinner, we headed towards the bus station to come back to Baltimore. Everyone crashed as soon as the bus started moving. It was a fun but exhausting day!
Have you ever been to New York City? Tell me about your visit!
If you’ve never been to New York City, would you want to visit? What would you do there?