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New York in Winter

Nida Spalding loves to read, travel, and spend time with family and friends. She believes that curiosity and persistence are key to happiness and success.

"You want to take a picture outside before we go?" Cymbie asked me that January morning in upstate New York.

Coming out thru their garage, a winter wonderland glistened in front of me. Fresh, pure white snow blanketed the ground and the bare branches of shrubs and small trees in the front yard. The setting with the lighted lamp post reminded me of Christmas card scenes.

Ah, so this is upstate New York in winter. I captured the magical moment with my camera.

A taxi arrived at 7:15 a.m. to take us from Saratoga Springs to the Albany-Rensselaer Amtrak train station. Cymbie and her husband Tony joined me on this trip to New York City. Sitting on the right side of the train, I was captivated by the scenery unfolding as the train traveled along the Hudson River.

I had flown to upstate New York to see Cymbie, my friend from the third grade elementary in Siquijor, Philippines. Previously, I had seen her in the fall of 2014 when she was still working in New York City and I had visited with my sister-in-law. We both remembered the ramen dinner at Ippudo and the famous frrrozen (not a typo) hot chocolate at Serendipity.

During our telephone conversation in November 2023, she said, "Why don't you visit me for a week or so?"
"Hmmm, I can come in January or September."

"Come in January."

I said I would also like to visit NYC for a couple of days and would love it if she could join me.

"I will need to find a sitter for my cats. Let me know what you'd like to do and I'll make it happen."

I gave her a list, mostly free things to do — ride the commuter Staten Island ferry, see the High Line, 9/11 Memorial, explore Central Park, visit the New York City library and a couple of museums. I said I would like to ride the train, bus and ferry to places, but I would just be happy to hang out with her in upstate New York.

"Would you like to see a Broadway show? It's very NYC," she asked.

"Yes, let me know which one you want to see or haven't seen."

"I've seen Aladdin but wouldn't mind seeing it again. It's a love story."

"Let's do Aladdin, my treat," I said.

So, we made plans. I would fly into Albany. We worried about the weather. I didn't want her driving in the snow or ice to pick me up. I booked a hotel room near Albany Airport just in case.

"No worries. I have a Subaru."

The weather cooperated — no nor-easter and no blizzard. It was cold but I dressed for winter in New York.

We did all the things on my NYC list plus more and enjoyed American, Italian and French cuisine. She made it all happen. In between and during outings we talked about our childhood, university years, careers and current lives.

While having coffee and a croissant at Bryant Park, walking around until the New York City Library opened, and on the train back to upstate New York, we talked some more. Tony was like our secret service, staying in the background for the most part, joining us when he wanted, and letting Cymbie and me reminisce and laugh.

When I told Cymbie that I would be delighted to hang out with her at her home, I meant it. Spending time with her in the kitchen while she made elaborate dishes, partaking the meals, playing with her cats Clair and Claude, meeting her husband and her son Alex, sharing our stories, were special and memorable.

Winter in upstate New York and NYC was the perfect backdrop for our long overdue reunion. I am grateful for Cymbie's friendship and invitation.

~ Nida Spalding








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