Making the Rounds

Saint Louis, MO | New York, New York | Washington D.C., USA

It’s now been a minute since I’ve written a post regarding my ever-changing life… My excuse is the lovely few weeks I’ve been lucky enough to spend visiting with people I love and catching up with old friends I haven’t seen in at least a year. No, it’s not something I had to do and certainly not something I had the extra money for but as those who know me understand, the people in my life are always worth the extra effort and sacrifice.

It all started with a wonderful trip to Saint Louis, MO to see James and accompany him and his family to his cousin’s beautiful wedding. I really enjoyed getting to know his parents and sisters better, and meeting the extended family I’ve heard so much about. I felt so at home in the company of their family, which is something I am totally grateful for.

unnamed-1
James, his mom and I at the wedding in St. Louis, MO

I also got to catch up with a friend from Aussie, Theresa, who I met during one of my first weekends in Australia while out in Surfer’s Paradise, Gold Coast. She is from St. Louis and is back now waitressing and saving money for her next big life adventure. It was so cool to have bit of my Australia chapter back in my life for a bit.

unnamed
Theresa and I at a local STL bar

Aside from the wedding and dancing all night at the reception with James’ family, St. Louis was full of eating adventures and quality time with my partner in crime. I got my fill of IMO’s Pizza, St. Louis’ local pizza chain, had a couple nice meals with the family, a couple hikes in surrounding parks, an afternoon trip to a couple wineries and an afternoon at the zoo. We had enough chill time at the house and places around STL to catch up but also plenty of activities to make the trip new and exciting. I had an amazing time in St. Louis and spending time with James so the next trip out there can’t come soon enough.

A few days after arriving back to Orlando, I took off again for a week-long trip to New York City and Washington D.C. to hang with friends I hadn’t seen in too long. My friend Maya travelled with me so we had a fun flight up to NYC and spent three nights with our third musketeer, Nicole, in her city. Our first night there was my favorite because I got to see many old friends I hadn’t seen in a while. About eight of my best friends from Orlando are all living in the big city now and I couldn’t wait to catch up with all of them and hear about their new adult lives. We met at a bar in East Village that night and danced like idiots, of course.

unnamed-3
The crew in East Village, NYC

Like every other trip I’ve made to NY, I walked my butt off but also managed to find new activities to do. Maya, Nicole and I had a great afternoon after a brunch with everyone on our second day walking around Central Park and paddling a canoe around the little river there. We had such great views of New York from the boat and took great pictures I’m so happy to have. We also cooked a delicious dinner together that night and kept it chill in Nicole’s cozy NYC apartment.

Central Park, NYC
Canoeing in Central Park

The rest of my time in New York was filled with a trip to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, lunch at Chelsea Market, a walk on the High Line, dinner at Nicole and I’s favorite pizza place in West Village we’ve been going to since we were 14, a trip to Brooklyn to check out the views, lunch in Chinatown, window shopping in SOHO, another walk in Central Park, more meals/happy hours with friends and a couple nights spent over in other friends’ apartments.

The city is always slightly overwhelming to me but I always leave with a smile because of the number of friends I know living their dreams there. So many of them talked about moving to NYC for years and it always makes me so happy knowing they did it and are successfully navigating life and jobs in the city. I also leave reassured it’s not the life for me but our differences are one of my favorite parts about my friendships. They keep life interesting. So shoutout to my gals (and guys) in the big city!

After five nights and my longest time spent in New York yet, I took the Megabus for $10 from the city to D.C. I felt like a backpacker again and loved it. Also for those scared of Megabus, don’t be! It was a great ride!

D.C. was a refreshing experience after the hustle of New York City. My high school friend, Megan, took me in and I arrived at her adorable and spacious house on East Capitol Street a few hours before she would get out of work. I took a nap, got ready and then headed out to Chinatown to meet her and another friend Hannah for a sushi and cocktail happy hour. We had an awesome time catching up so decided to keep the fun going at a couple more places around the area, one being the Bullpen next to the National’s baseball stadium. I got to meet some of their new friends and roommates, which is always exciting.

The next day I entertained myself for half a day wandering around Capitol Hill and the National Mall, checking out all the sites and taking pictures. I then met Hannah for lunch and we headed to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. I learned a lot of new fun facts before my feet felt like they were going to fall off and I had to take a break at a coffee shop. That night we met a couple of our other high school friends, Sarah and Andie, at a cute Mexican restaurant and split a couple margarita pitchers. It was an awesome reunion with my pals. We had so much life to catch up on.

I ended the week with a bang out on the town. Megan and Hannah took me to their favorite D.C. bars and we danced around and splurged on drinks like college kids again. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get through the week without at least one of those nights…

I headed home after a housewarming brunch at Sarah and Andie’s in Arlington, VA just outside of D.C., where I was unable to participate in mimosa drinking because of the last night and opted for the bagels and coffee instead.

unnamed-4
LHP friends for 10 years – Annaleigh, Megan, Hannah, Andie and Sarah

My heart is so full going home as I was able to reconnect with so many people I missed out on life with for a bit and hear about all the new adventures happening in their lives. It’s so awesome to realize no matter how far we travel from each other or how many days pass between meetings, we always pick up where we left off. I’m incredibly thankful for that as I’m sure they are too. Life is crazy at 23 but at least we all have each other.

– Annaleigh