November is always a hard month for me filled with ups & downs. The beginning of the month is hard because it marks the anniversary (is that the right word?) of when my cousin committed suicide five years ago. I wish I could say that it gets easier, but it really doesn't. Those questions still linger in my and my family's minds. I still harbor feelings of regret, sadness, and anger. Mostly anger. Nevertheless, as I go on throughout the month, I'm filled with anxiety and excitement as we prepare for our annual trip to New Jersey.
This year we didn't know if our trip would be possible. I just returned to work in August and our finances are tight, but we were able to score cheap tickets through Spirit Airlines (I know..they're shitty, but we got dirt-cheap tickets) and Murad was able to work for two days while we were in New Jersey, so part of our trip will be reimbursed. We decided to stay 10 days instead of five (mostly because we could only afford the tickets with those dates). It worked out really well because this may be our last Thanksgiving in New Jersey. Murad's family wants to start doing destination Thanksgivings and having us, along with my brother-in-law and girlfriend, host Thanksgiving here in Texas. I am really excited about that. While this trip was good, I think changing it up will be beneficial for our family, especially as we expand in the future. It's so hard to travel each year and now that Joely is two, we have to pay for his plane ticket. Despite this, I am so thankful that we have been able to travel each and every year to celebrate Thanksgiving in New Jersey. Last year, we went to Washington D.C. and this year we visited Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Here are some highlights from our trip (and lowlights).
-scoring a parking Groupon for $35. This is seriously awesome considering how much it costs us to park our car while we're gone. The downside was that the lot was not well-lit and the company was kinda shady. They picked us up in a limo when we returned from Philly.
-usually we send Sampson & Maya to the pet hotel while we're gone. This year one of my friends offered to house-sit for us. We got picture messages from her of our babes and it was good to know someone was at our home while we were gone!
-going to the liquor store with my family members! Such bonding!
-sleep-walking into my in-laws bedroom, hitting my father-in-law on the head and climbing into bed with them. yep! That really happened! If you want the full story, just ask!
-going to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty with Murad's family. We did a ferry tour with two stops. It was so cool to see both sites and to witness American history. I know Joely's too young to remember this, but one of the things I'm proud of is that he's so well-traveled. I want him to be exposed to so many places and to see how others live. I'm glad we've started that at such a young age. Also, Joely and his cousin Daniel became Junior Rangers at Ellis Island and got to pose with a Ranger.
-Spending Thanksgiving Day with Murad's mom's family and then coming back to his dad's house for more Thanksgiving celebrating.
-Going to a 76ers game. Even though we lost, I still had a fun. We had really good seats and I just love basketball. It's my favorite sport! I didn't like seeing punk-ass Anthony Davis (former Kentucky player and current New Orleans Pelicans player).
-Hanging out with friends. We went out one night with some of Murad's friends, and we also went to Atlantic City with some friends. We didn't win any money (we lost $30), but our friends won $395!
-Going to an Eagles game! We splurged and bought tickets and I'm so glad we did. We had the best seats we've ever had. It was the perfect weather for an outdoors game and we won!!!! Woo-hoo!
We really tried to do a lot during this trip, but some of my favorite memories come from hanging out at Murad's dad's house with family. Joely really enjoyed his time with his grandparents. He wanted to do everything with Pop-pop and act like his big cousin Daniel. Even though we love living in Texas, it is hard knowing that he won't grow up near any of his grandparents. Murad and I are still trying to convince both of our parents to relocate here, but we'll see what happens. We're just thankful to have them in our lives and to be able to visit them when we can.