I had fantasies of a perfect weekend in the Hamptons where I would lay on the beach in my large floppy hat, reading a novel, sipping cold water with a lime wedge, watching toddlers run by in Ralph Lauren trunks and social x-rays stroll across the beach. Lauren’s great aunt and uncle had invited us to spend the holiday weekend in Amagansit, East Hamptons and we didn’t even have to think twice about our response.
After work got off at 3 PM on Friday I strolled up to the Bloomingdales, floppy sunhat in hand, ready to experience this time-old New York tradition. The Hamptons Jitney was by no means glamourous, considering the older man next to me was taking over the arm rest and head bobbing for most of the ride, but it was long and quiet and I got to imagine all the wonderful things to come. About 3 and a half hours later I was mere minutes away from Sol and Nan’s Hamptons house, admiring the serenity of short, cottage front shopping, embracing the clean and salty breeze and praying for a super sunny Saturday. They welcomed us with a take-out Italian dinner that was practically gourmet and some fresh white wine. It was only about 10:30 PM when Carly, Lauren and I couldn’t keep our eyes open for the conversation and promptly went to bed.
We woke up at 10 AM, and by 10:30 we had eaten breakfast and assumed our sunbathing positions by their pool in the backyard, surrounded by an especially fragant and colorful garden that Aunt Nan tended every day. It was in these moments when I heard the birds chirping and enhaled lilac and herbs that I realized why I would most definitely need a weekend house if I ever move to NYC. While city living is electric and exciting, I can’t pretend that my childhood doesn’t flash through my mind. Those afternoons spent running through the acres of my backyard, hiding behind the grapevine, picking fresh apples and pears off of our trees and watching thousands of fireflies light up the night. The sound of the rain as it hits our old window panes. Somehow my serenity was quickly interupted when in less than an hour Lauren was packed and on a bus on her way to an airport. Joey, her puppy, was gravely ill and she needed to go home and be with him.
I was apprehensive about how this roadbump would affect the perfect beach weekend I had imagined, but Lauren and her family reassured us that it would be perfectly fine for us to vacation without her. Tentative and awkward soon become comfortable and fun! Sol and Nan welcomed us sincerely and we ate every meal together for the rest of the weekend. We watched action movies with Uncle Sol and his new toy, a subscription to Netflix, and we cooked and layed on the beach with Aunt Nan. It felt nice to be pampered by a grandma and grandpa-like figure again. As a thank you, Carly and I prepared a large salad with fruit and some unusual veggies, and I decided to do what I know: make challah. 4 pounds of dough later, the room was filled with the sweet smells of egg challah and cinnamon sugar challah, which we used for French toast the next morning.
As we packed up to return, I really did feel refreshed. Being in the city clogs your pores, ears, and eyes. It’s sensory overload every hour of the day, a blurried whirlwind of lights, cars, conversation, clicking, languages, heels, air conditioners and laughter. In my room at home, sometimes all I can hear is the soft whir of my fan and the insects flying against my window. When the breeze blows I smell fragrant peonies and apples with fresh cut grass. I love that our apartment has an outdoor garden, because just for a moment, under the dim flickering of our outdoor torches and citronella candles, I imagine that I’m back on my wooden deck at home and I can almost hear the deer munching the apples from our trees.
Carly and I packed a picnic lunch and hopped on the E to head downtown for riverside fireworks. We met up with Stephanie, Hayley and a few of their friends for food, card games, and creepers as we awaited the show. Three hours later everyone stood as sparkly loud explosions illuminated the warm indigo sky, reflecting on camera lenses and the smiling eyes of children. I love to watch children watch fireworks because the raw joy that you can see on their faces is contagious, and I love to imagine that feeling again. Being tangibly amazed at one of world’s creations, whether it be the explosion of a firework or the arrival of a subway train, is rare when you’ve reached twenty. In the midst of a world driven by everchanging technology and fading face-to-face communication, I try to take moments to soak in the simple things and see the world through the eyes of a child, bewildered and intrigued by every new thing that crosses my path.