Not quite home for the holidays

It's one week before Christmas and while I am usually at home with my family and Charlie, this year I'm in SF getting ready to work through Christmas and New Year's Eve. While I wasn't able to go home for Christmas break this year, I did have a 2 week vacation over Thanksgiving where we went to Cancun of all places, and then I stopped back home in Maryland for a few days before going up to NYC to visit some friends. And even though I'm not home for the holidays this year, I'm currently watching my favorite holiday movie, Love Actually in my new house, surrounded by roommates and friends, feeling the Christmas spirit after all. 

For Thanksgiving break, we took a family trip to Cancun. I had done the whole Cancun spring break thing in senior year of college, and so this trip was more of a sightseeing, relaxing trip with the family. One day, we took a day trip to Chitchen Itza, one of the architectural centers of the Mayan culture located about 2.5 hours from our resort. 

Our excuse for the trip was my dad's 60th birthday, but we just used it as an excuse to get together when I have time off. 

My mother, the human hat rack 

After baking our butts off in the heat, we headed to a cenote to cool off. The Cancun area is known for these amazing underground pools where you can dive and swim around.

 Getting read to descend the stairs and jump into the pool
 Me jumping off the 20 foot landing! 

At the end of our Chitzen Itza day, we stopped in a town square for coconut ice cream and elotes (Mexican corn smothered with cayenne butter and cotija cheese) where we bumped into these adorable dogs

Our family's go to vacation is a cruise, but this time we decided to try something different and stay in one place at an all inclusive resort. It was definitely a different way to vacation and nice that we could walk around the expansive premises of our resort instead of being confined to a moving ship. Just like on a cruise there are different cuisines you can try every night, there were similar options at the resort. First night was at a Japanese restaurant, where I actually had really good salmon nigiri. 

Before we knew it, it was our last day in Cancun so we decided to just take it easy and relax by the pool. 

 And use my waterproof case to capture pics of us frolicking in the ocean. 

On our last night, we went to the fancy french restaurant on the resort and dressed up in our vacation best. 

 And then it was time to leave! But not before catching the sunrise in Cancun one last time.

 My mother practicing taichi and yelling at my father to take pics of her. 

And then we were off! We all took different flights back to our respective destinations -- my parents and I had different flights back to Maryland, but my sister had to go back to work. And so by the time my dad's actual birthday came around, she was in St. Louis, so we took our first virtual family selfie! 

After my dad's birthday, I took the bus up to New York to visit some friends who had just relocated and started grad school there. J took me to a ramen bar where we got all this food for $20. I wish we had that kind of cheap food in SF! You could probably get half of this for $20. Throughout the trip, I just wanted to eat at places I couldn't have in SF.
After dinner I forced J to uber to a insta friendly dessert place where we could get matcha froyo in FISH! And it actually tasted quite good! I think the trend started in Japan, but after that only in certain cities like NYC and Oakland (ironically it's easier for me to visit NYC than to make the trek to Oakland)
The next morning J played hooky for me and took me to Russ and Daughter's, a new york bagel shop. You just can't get a proper New York bagel in California!

Then I made him go uptown with me so we could check our the Christmas tree at Rockefeller plaza, which was very underwhelming in the daytime.

So then we tried on merchandise at the NBC store.
 We walked around the Bryant Park Christmas market (the "prettier" one).

 They made me a beet instead of a heart :( At Bluestone Lane Coffee

 The ugliest but tastiest spicy noodles at Xi'an famous foods (#onlyinNYC)
For dinner, I met up with some high school/med school friends. I was too busy taking pictures of food to take pictures of my friends! Again, I wanted something that I could only get in New York, so we went to Burger & Lobster, a London based restaurant where you can either get a whole lobster, a burger, or a lobster roll for only $20!
 And then of course I yoyo-ed out. To be fair, this was on the taxi ride from happy hour to dinner (we didn't have dinner at 6:30)--I didn't go home at 6:33pm!
All in all, it was great to go back to the East Coast and see my family and friends again, after some R&R in Mexico. And even though I don't get to go home for Christmas, I got to have a two week break for Thanksgiving, so I'm excited to spend Christmas in SF for the first time!


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