Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Megan & Meghan: 20th Anniversary Edition

I'm back! Did you miss me, or did you thank the heavens that I finally shut up for a few days after my vacation recapping frenzy? Well, like it or not, I'm back with more to share!

This week, my childhood friend Megan came to visit from Cleveland. Megan and I are celebrating 20 years of friendship this summer! Can you believe it? I don't feel old enough to have been friends with someone (who is not related to me) for 20 years, but here we are.

Megan is a wonderful person and even better friend. She and I met just before my 7th birthday on good old Kenneth Avenue in Parma, Ohio. Megan lived across the street from me, and that summer, she came over to introduce herself. I had wanted to introduce myself, but was too shy, so thank goodness she took the initiative! We became fast friends. We founded the oh-so-creatively named Megan & Meghan's Club, using a crawl space in my bedroom as our headquarters. We painted it, we put in carpeting, we even had a Christmas tree. Serious business! We played with my American Girl dolls. We played "amusement park" on my swingset, and even had tickets to ride the "rides." We played school with our younger siblings as the pupils. We rode bikes and climbed trees. We sold lemonade and sno-cones (made with my Snoopy Sno-Cone maker) to earn money to shop for candy at Revco (drugstore) or buy ice cream at Helen Hutchley's. Man, did we have fun!

Meghan & Megan, circa 1990

As time wore on our friendship endured some changes. First, Megan moved from the house across the street to a new house about a mile away. I thought this was a catastrophe! I remember being very upset, even though I could ride my bike to her house. Then, when I was 12 years old, my family made the big move to Florida. That was tough. Our parents were very understanding, however, and let us take turns calling each other once a week for 20 minutes (this was before cell phones and free long distance!). We also wrote letters, and arranged visits when we could. A very memorable visit was my 16th birthday - my dad flew Megan down to Florida as a birthday surprise for me! That was also the first time I really "hung out" with Eric - so Megan got to meet Eric at the very beginning of our relationship!

My 16th Birthday - me, a very flexed Eric, and Megan!

Over all these 20 years, even though most of them have been long-distance, Megan has been a great friend to me. She's the kind of friend that you can get together with after not talking for months, and its as if a day never passed. We've been there for each other through growing up, through family struggles, through relationships and graduations and everything in between. Megan was even one of my bridesmaids in our wedding (nearly two years ago!), and I would not have imagined it any other way. I'm so grateful for her friendship!

Megan and me at my wedding

But, that's enough of the mushy stuff. Let's talk about the visit! We had a fabulous time. We did so much fun stuff! It was nice having a visitor for a full week, so we could fit in a lot of stuff but at a more leisurely pace.

She arrived on Monday afternoon. I met her at the airport then escorted her back to our apartment, where we had lunch before taking Achilles for a quick walk. Our walk was cut short by a downpour (the first rain of the week), but we managed just fine! That night we had dinner with Eric at Lasagne Ristorante near our house. Oh, and Megan brought me the cutest birthday/friendship anniversary/"thanks for having me" gift! A copy of the movie "Beaches" (GREAT friend movie), Malley's Buckeye candy (an Ohio delicacy), margarita body scrub (smells divine) and Big Apple Red nail polish! She's so sweet.

On Tuesday, the weather forecast looked promising, so Megan and I rode the subway out to Coney Island for a day of fun in the sun. We had a great time! We ate Nathan's hot dogs and funnel cake, rode the infamous Cyclone roller coaster (terrifying), rode the Wonder Wheel (also terrifying), took photobooth pictures, walked the boardwalk and laid on the beach. It was so nice! Inspired by the boardwalk, we watched "Beaches" when we got back to my apartment that afternoon.

Meghan and Megan at Coney Island

Riding the Cyclone! This picture is a great representation of us. Just check out below:

Some things never change! That's us at Conneaut Lake Park in 1991. Megan had her hands up even then, while Heather and I gripped the safety bar. Love it.

Photobooth fun!
The first pic was supposed to be us looking cool in our shades, but after putting in our money we realized we should read the directions. The photo snapped as we read "choose your backdrop." Ah well, so we were a little out of order.
Second pic is just nice. Third pic is goofy.
Fourth pic is Megan holding up "2" and me holding up "0." You know, for 20 years!

That night we went out to dinner at El Centro, one of our favorite local Mexican restaurants, then walked through Times Square at night.

Out to dinner at El Centro

Two little Parma girls, all grown up and in Times Square.

On Wednesday, Megan and I decided to set out for some shopping. We took the subway down to Chinatown/Little Italy. We had an excellent lunch in Little Italy, then stopped for ice cream in Chinatown. From there we wandered through SoHo, shopping till we dropped. We got caught in another downpour, unfortunately. After SoHo we trained back up to Herald Square and wandered around there for a bit before heading home. We ate at home for dinner that night - burgers and corn on the cob, yum!

Thursday was a sight-seeing day. We had another nice day, which was great. We took the ferry out to (well, past) the Statue of Liberty, then on to Ellis Island. We explored Ellis Island and found family names on the Immigrant Wall. I must say, it was much nicer doing all this stuff in the warm summer sun, as opposed to last time, when it was 40-some degrees and raining!

On the ferry

Statue of Liberty

Megan taking pictures of names on the Immigrant Wall at Ellis Island

Nice day for boating!

After landing back in Manhattan, we did the usual Wall Street/Bull/Stock Exchange/Trinity Church/World Trade Center walking tour, then hopped back on the subway to Times Square, where we got tickets for "South Pacific" at the TKTS booth. Then we went home, rested up, got ready and ate a quick dinner before heading to Lincoln Center for the show. It was excellent! I really enjoyed it, and it was a lovely evening.

South Pacific!

After the show

Friday was a combination shopping/sightseeing day. We walked over to the East Side and hit Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center, and St. Patrick's Cathedral. Then we started our shopping with American Girl Place, to relive a little of our childhood! Man, did we have fun in there. Then we continued on up 5th Avenue, stopped in the Apple Store and FAO Schwartz, then made our way back down Madison for more shopping. After we were sufficiently shopped-out (and it had started raining), we headed back home, stopping at the Gershwin Theater to try our hand at the lottery for $26 front-row seats to "Wicked." However, we were unsuccessful. Megan and I picked up Chipotle for dinner on our way home, and spent the night in with a movie.

Rockefeller Center looking all summery

At Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center through the palm trees

The doll Hair Salon at American Girl Place - look at the little salon chairs and capes for the dolls!

Saturday was a fun day because Eric was finally able to join us! We decided to take Megan for our usual Brooklyn Bridge Day: Ice cream at the Ice Cream Factory, pizza at Grimaldi's, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. Fun, fun, fun. We had a long wait for pizza (as usual), so this time we got our ice cream BEFORE the pizza as an appetizer while we waited. Ha! The only flaw in the plan was that it was super hot, so it melted all over us. But, we met a nice lady behind us in line who used to live in St. Petersburg, and she gave us some wet wipes she had in her purse. She was cute.

The food was all excellent, the weather was gorgeous, and it was an all-around nice walk!

Hey, look! It's Eric!

At the front of the Grimaldi's line! (That's the cute wet nap lady to the left)

On the Brooklyn Bridge

Walking across the bridge

Once we made it back to the Manhattan side of the bridge, we took the subway to Union Square for a quick walk around the Village. We did a little more shopping, sampled some incredible apple wine, picked up some cupcakes from Crumbs, and sat on benches made of ice. Not a bad hour or so in the Village!

Union Square

Crumbs Bake Shop

Ice benches in Union Square

Eric and Megan on the refreshing (yet damp) ice benches

From Union Square, we headed back home, stopping once again to try the ticket lottery for "Wicked." Still no luck. We spent a quiet evening in with movies and chicken alfredo instead.

Sunday we went to a new church near our apartment - a contemporary service that Megan had heard about. It was really nice! We left church a couple minutes early to try the "Wicked" ticket lottery one last time. By that time the rain had started, and of course, I forgot my umbrella! Once again, no luck in the lottery, and as we walked home, it started POURING. We were all drenched! Between the three of us, we just had one tiny umbrella. That's some poor planning.

We got back to the apartment and dried off, then hung out and watched "A Time To Kill." As the day wore on the rain cleared out a bit, so for dinner we walked over to Daisy May's and picked up some BBQ. We took it to the parks near the Intrepid and had a nice waterside picnic. We shared some great conversation and good times! Then, back home we enjoyed some Junior's New York Strawberry Cheesecake (YUM), then went for an evening of games: Rock Band, Candy Land, and Jenga. Fun stuff!

Playing Rock Band

Monday was Megan's last day. We started off with a walk through Central Park, which was beautiful. It's so nice in the summer time. I was also very impressed with my Central Park tour-guiding skills! I usually get very disoriented in the park but I was a pro this time around.

The bridge looking so pretty

Megan and me on the bridge

After Central Park, we stopped for Hot Dogs at Gray's Papaya then wandered around the Upper West Side for a while, doing some window-shopping. Then we went back to Times Square so Megan could do some souvenir shopping. After that, we went back to the apartment so Megan could get packed up. We spent some time relaxing then I walked her to Port Authority and saw her off on the bus to the airport. Just like that, our week of Meg(h)an fun was over!

I had such a great week and was sad to see Megan go (as was Achilles, who really took a liking to her!). The week just flew by. I was so glad she got to visit, though! And even more glad that we've stayed such good friends for all these years. A friend like Megan is a rare blessing, and I'm so thankful to have her in my life. Thanks for coming, Meg! Here's to the next 20 years!


Dad said...

It sounds like a fabulous week
Meg(h)ans! I for one am glad the blogs are back too!

Love you. Keep having fun!

Shauna said...

I think this post mentioned pretty much every NYC eatery I have ever wanted to try. I'm jealous!

BTW, Candy Land was one of my favorite childhood games.