Almost exactly 7 years ago to the day, Simon and I flew to New York on what would become the first of many flights together. This trip, the idea for which was drunkenly concocted in the wee hours following our fourth date, was perhaps one of the most reckless things I’ve done. We were, all things considered, practically strangers – a fact we both acknowledged several times whilst waiting to board the plane. I remember spending the majority of the flight silently obsessing over all the things I didn’t know about him: his middle name, his birthday, whether he was the sort of person that clapped when the plane landed, whether he made a good cup of tea… I remember wondering if he put the milk in before the bag or if maybe – God forbid – he didn’t even like tea at all.
Even after landing we were both still in a state of disbelief at the spontaneity of it all but we quite quickly established ourselves somewhere between casual travel buddies and loved-up holiday-makers – a dynamic I was so nervous about ruining that for the first couple of days I didn’t even use the toilet in the apartment, opting instead for the public one in the hotel lobby. The last thing I wanted was for any embarrassing bathroom aromas interfering with the illusion of nonchalant glamour I’d been working so hard to uphold. On the third day however – and encouraged by Simon – I used the toilet in our apartment for the very first time……….and blocked it. We ended up spending $100 on an emergency plumber who had a good old laugh about it all with Simon whilst I hid behind the sofa. To this day, it remains the most embarrassing twist of fate that Karma has ever served me.
By some miracle (which I can only assume was aided by a large consumption of alcohol) I was able to recover from this incident and our trip continued without any further drama. Once we’d ticked off all the touristy delights and realised that we actually still liked each other (even post toilet trouble and even without the social lubricant of a breakfast Sambuca) we managed ourselves a little moment of romance and it’s one of my fondest, fondest memories. Simon spotted a stunning glass bauble, beautifully painted with the New York City highlights and glistening from the window of the Empire State Building gift shop. I totally fell in love with it and he went in and bought it for me. When he gave it to me, he told me that we’d one day have to share it when we were married and decorating a Christmas tree with our kids. He laughed. My heart exploded.
Since then, our bauble collection has grown considerably but each Christmas we indulge in a bit of nostalgia as we unwrap each one and reminisce about whichever trip led to it’s purchase. The New York bauble will forever be the most special and whilst a lot has changed in the last 7 wonderful years, we still hold onto that Christmas-card-perfect-kids- decorating-the-tree-while-we- merrily-sip-sherry-in-front-of-the-fire vision which, as I’m sure most parents will confirm, is quite far from the reality of what tree decorating with children is like…but a girl can dream.