New Year’s Eve
For Peter and I, NYE is one of our most special occasions, it reminds us of how blessed we are to have each other and live the lives that we have set out to live. The end of a year together, growing in love, and the beginning of a complete blank canvas of a year couldn’t be more thrilling. We go big every year.
On New Year’s Eve 2011 we hadn’t met each other yet, that night I was at a Jon Faddis concert at the Kennedy Center with my dear friend Lily and my father, later I found out that my future father in-law was in the audience enjoying the same concert! Our first official New Year’s Eve was 2012, and that is when we set the bar.
|Bowery Hotel – December 31st, 2011|
|Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola|
|Jammin’ on Cowbell|
Even with all of that my very favorite part of the night actually happened as we were leaving Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola. As you walk out of the club there are these huge windows over looking Columbus Circle and a woman with her little daughter were looking out at the festivities. The little girl turned, saw me, and she started screaming as she barreled towards me. She kept screaming, “mommy, mommy look!!! It’s a princess!!!” As she ran right into my arms, I knelt down and she jumped onto my lap. She hugged me tight and smiled ear to ear. Her mother was a sweet woman, I felt a kind presence from her, as she replied, “Yes, she is a princess and that is her prince,”she wanted her to believe and have hope in something. She kept reminding her daughter to be very careful not to rip my dress, but I didn’t care, I wanted to make her night as much as she was making mine. She kissed my face and gently touched the sequins of my gown. There is something indescribable about the pure and untainted joy and innocence of a child. You could tell the woman and her daughter were not very well off, but they had so much love and kindness. I think the sweet lady wanted to show her daughter something special, on such a special occasion. The little girl looked at me and exclaimed, “Are you going to leave in your magic carriage??”I replied, “yes we are.” I gave her one last hug, kissed her tiny hand, and Peter and I walked out on to Columbus Circle. Every cab in the city was taken, even Uber was unavailable, then all of a sudden out of no where a man on a Rickshaw offered to give us a ride. We took our modern day magic carriage all the way down 9th Avenue, just as millions of people poured out of Times Square, making it the greatest and most memorable ride of our lives. Some things can’t be planned. I was living in a fairy tale bundled up in a blanket with my prince on the back of a Rickshaw. I never saw the little girl and her mother again, but i think of them often. They were the highlight of our NYE 2012.
New Year’s Eve 2013 is one that will live on in infamy. We started the life changing day by snorkeling around the warm crystal clear waters of St. John USVI. The last place we snorkeled was Waterlemon Cay, one of my favorite spots. As we floated around we gazed at the usual starfish, stingrays, and rainbow parrotfish that inhabit the cay.
|Delicious packed lunch from Sam & Jack’s Deli at Waterlemon Beach|
Then, out of blue, Peter started to rush me, when really all I wanted to do was take a leisurely swim back to shore. I remember being slightly annoyed that he was hurrying us along on such a beautiful St. John afternoon, but I reluctantly went along with him. He said he had forgotten about a year end work deadline, and needed to hurry back to submit an expense and billing report before 6pm…hmmmm. I was totally clueless. I did however note that he wouldn’t let me take his briefcase through security at the airport, even though it made us miss our flight, AND he was abnormally obsessed with the whereabouts of the safe at the villa…
We returned to Daffodil Villa, and just as the sun was setting over the beautiful turquoise Caribbean water, my prince proposed marriage. It was so heavenly and dreamlike that I had to ask him 5 times if it was real and if I was dreaming. He had me believe that we were setting the camera to take pictures of the sunset, and then he pressed record, came over to me, and dropped down on one knee. I will never forget the immense effort that Peter put into making that night perfect and special. From the gorgeous setting, to the loving promises, the delicious home cooked meal that followed, and not to forget the custom designed pear-shaped Padparadsha.
Aside from that very special moment, the trip itself was unforgettable. I loved driving, swimming, and hiking around St. John as we talked about our future together and what we wanted our wedding to be like. It was so much fun. I remember waking up with the sun every morning and having butterflies of excitement in my stomach at the thought of us being husband and wife.
|Ram Head Trail Summit|
|Southern most point of St. John, after a gorgeous 45 minute hike.|
|Salt Pond Beach|
|North Shore Road, always keep left!|
|Daffodil Villa in Fish Bay|
|View of Dittlif Point|
|Chateau Bordeaux Restaurant|
Another memory from the trip that should not be over looked happened on the first day that we were in St. John together for the very first time. Once we finally arrived on the pristine island we relaxed our travel nerves with a lovely dinner at the bar at Asolare, where we met our friend Kim who we later asked to bartend our wedding. I wanted so badly to show Peter the beach that I just couldn’t wait until the morning. Little did I know that during a full moon you can see the fish in the water, the trees, the sand, and the gentle lapping of the shore! It was just the two of us at Hawksnest Beach and we felt like we were on another planet, it was magical. Just above or heads to the right, nestled into the lush greenery, was Hawksview Estate, where we would be married 6 months later.
That brings us to the one year anniversary of our engagement, New Year’s Eve 2014. We celebrated at Singita’s Sasakwa lodge in Tanzania, Africa. (I just learned that Sasakwa was named the #1 hotel in the world by Travel & Leisure Magazine in 2011 and 2012. Hotel, is the last word I would use to describe this place, it is so much more.) They prepared the most romantic and private dinner for us in the library, complete with a roaring fire and the glass door open just enough so that we could hear the rain falling on the plains.
|A Special thanks to our friend Abraham for making this night so beautiful|
|My favorite course|
|NYE African dinner attire|
I’ve never really had a New Year’s resolution, but a few weeks ago I decided that I do have a goal for 2014. I want to create something every single day this year, any thought, feeling, or action that is making something in an artistic manner out of nothing. I started the year off by painting a few watercolors of the unforgettable serengeti-scape, wrote a lot about Africa and the Karibu sana of the Tanzanians, and studied the wild animals of Africa and their unique mannerisms. It’s hard to think of a better way to start this exciting new year. It’s difficult for me to imagine a more beautiful and awe-inspiring place, not just because it’s an immersion into pure nature, but the idea behind the Grumeti Reserve itself and the people that have dedicated their lives to restore and protect the land and it’s inhabitants. That idea is the most beautiful part about it, being there and experiencing it is all consuming. My next several blog posts will be dedicated to everything Tanzania.
|Every morning should start with Tanzanian Coffee and Watercolors…|
“Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson