An Expat X-Mas

Bryant Park ice rink

Ice rink at Bryant Park

The Friday before Christmas, I waltzed into Om Aroma, an organic day spa, that I frequent for eco mani/pedis and monthly massages.  I told TK, the masseuse, that my body felt really good this month.  “Then maybe we’ll do a relaxing massage this time,” he said.  The past five months in NYC:  moving across the country, divorce, being apart from loved ones, 3-4 days of ballet a week… the hurricane etc. has created a need for quite a bit of body work.  Of course this day was no different as TK inevitably discovered multiple knots and tension.  “You’re actually more tense than usual,” he said, “I think you’re more stressed out about Christmas than you realize.”  I did feel guilty about not going home for Christmas this year.   When I had expressed my guilt to a co-worker he responded, “I’ve never felt guilty about not gracing someone with my presence.”  That really made me laugh and feel better.  I hadn’t thought of it that way.  “It’s fine,” he said, “don’t worry about it.”  Well, he was right.  It was fine.

Jackie at Thai Select  Photo by Siciliana Trevino

Jackie at Thai Select (photo by Siciliana Trevino)

Jackie, the bartender at Thai Select, invited my friend and me to their Christmas Eve holiday party.  Workers from various restaurants in the neighborhood brought big platters of food.  Even though it was buffet, Jackie generously grabbed us plates featuring a variety of authentic Thai food and served us at the bar.  He is a New York gem.  Fashionable, friendly, generous and sassy, Jackie made fresh Sangria and poured it to us for free. Giant snowflakes fell outside, prompting us to applaud with excitement.

Balthazar                      Photo by Siciliana Trevino

Balthazar (photo by Siciliana Trevino)

Christmas day entailed brunch at Balthazar, a quintessential New York restaurant in Soho, with some truly delightful and entertaining friends.  Balthazar is comfortable and classy without feeling stuffy or unwelcoming.  You are encouraged to take your time there and everything looks and tastes of quality.  There was a walnut flavored Manhattan on the menu.  “It looks so good, but it’s only 11:30a,” I said.  “Do it!” my companions demanded.  So glad I did- twice.  Delicious.  The drinks were the perfect compliment to the fresh waffles and berrie compote with maple syrup– definitely helped to create an “Empire State of Mind.”  While I missed my family and loved ones in California, Christmas in New York was undeniably magical.

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View of Empire State Building from Ace Hotel 

One thought on “An Expat X-Mas

  1. Your family missed you; but knowing you had a great time helped to add to our Christmas Cheer. N.Y. probably never experienced such an ANGEL AS YOU. You are welcomed wherever you go. Stay Blessed and than Blessing Others is just natural behavior.


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