Friday, January 25, 2013

My Mom, the Panamanians & the City.

Courtesy of Jesse
On Wednesday morning, Jesse and I woke up and headed to Grand Central Station to pick up my mother who was arriving to visit with some of our Panamanian family - my Tia Belinda, cousin Cheli, her daughter Sofia, their friend Milly, and my mother's friend Judy. Most of them had never been to New York, so my mom thought a two day trip would be fun while they were visiting from their paradise-like country.

Unfortunately, they picked the two coldest days of the year so far. When I woke up on Wednesday it was 12 degrees, but supposedly felt like -1 degrees. Hooray!

Jesse being the good guy watching the bags at Grand Central
My Tia Belinda and Mom, so sassy. 
Bundled Mom & Jesse
They came fully prepared and bundled up, and after dropping off their things at the hotel I brought them to Brooklyn in order to enjoy some of my favorite Venezuelan food at Caracas. Venezuelan food is similar to Panamanian cuisine - plantains, white cheese, arepas, etc. We had a fun time catching up, and as usual with me, my Spanish started off slow and as the day progressed so did the velocity of my conversation.

I was born in Panama and my first language was Spanish. Since my father was in the U.S. military and we moved from base to base growing up, I also learned English almost simultaneously. I consider myself lucky to have visited Panama almost every other year of my life -- all of my mother's side of the family resides there. I don't use Spanish nearly as much as I do when I'm at home or in Panama, of course, but it always comes back. Especially with such a fun group like these ladies. Sometimes Jesse was a little lost, but he's learning!

The ladies and Brooklyn graffiti
After showing them Brooklyn and our apartment, we trekked back to Times Square, which everyone wanted to see. Too bad the wind was cutting everybody's cheeks! We walked briskly to the TKTS booth and picked up evening tickets to see Phantom of the Opera. Rather than shop at the souvenir stores as they are wont to do, they wanted to take a break and go back to the hotel. I had no objection, as my cheeks were bright red without wearing any blush.

We rested while everyone readied themselves for dinner and the show, and then we headed out bundled up as much as possible. After a delicious dinner in the theater district and a few glasses of wine, we were ready for PHANTOM! Before, though, I explained the plot of Phantom for the Spanish-only folk, and I felt pretty, pretty proud of myself (this was after the wine, of course, who knows how it all came out).

My mom and I before the show
Phantom of the Opera was the first Broadway show I ever saw (but, you know, "Broadway" in Kansas City with my family and grandmother when I was 10). I still love it. I unashamedly love the Joel Schumacher movie starring Emmy Rossum as Christine and a surprisingly good Gerard Butler as the Phantom (he should have played Javert in Les Mis, just sayin'). It was great seeing it live again, and I tell you, those songs still give me goosebumps! "The Phantom of the Opera," "Music of the Night," and "All I Ask of You" are tremendous songs.

Afterwards, Jesse met up with us at a bar near their hotel and we warmed ourselves from the four-block walk with - what else?? - wine! It was a great close to a long and awesome day with family. They weren't able to see much of the beauty of the city from Central Park to the Highline to the Statue of Liberty to exploring the different neighborhood, but it was great to spend time with family I hadn't seen in a long time.

My mom and I ending the night with one more glass of wine!

1 comment:

  1. If I had to choose a musical to see on Broadway it would probably be Phantom.