Loving Life on Vacation and at Home

Hello from North Haven!

I’m back on island after a solo dream vacation to New York City. My husband’s school has a different vacation schedule, and with our preschool closed for the week, Penrose went to have her own vacation with my parents. I hopped on the Rockland – Portland Concord Trailways bus at the ferry terminal and switched to the Portland – New York bus at noon. I proceeded south in downright luxury – comfortable seats, snacks, movies, lots of outlets to charge mobile devices – and fell asleep, open-mouthed, binge-listening to the S-Town podcast.

The bus dropped me off six hours later, seven blocks from my sister’s apartment. We proceeded almost immediately to Korean food and a drag show with a high school friend, followed by shave ice. The next day was packed with delicious pastries, Sichuan noodles, shopping, a fancy prix fixe Japanese meal, and then a performance of Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, which still has me in its thrall. We had a quick visit backstage with a cast member friend and walked back to the apartment through the neon lit streets.

Indulging in a canelé (and a DKA and a raspberry coconut pavlova) at Dominique Ansel. Photo by Lauren Naliboff, used with permission

I visited the Kveller office the next day, a fun encounter – I’ve been writing for them for almost four years without ever meeting my editor in person – and then got on a bus for dim sum. That night we indulged in the food of our people – stuffed cabbage and pierogis – and met up with another friend for drinks at a cocktail lounge. Then it was back on the bus, to sleep slack-jawed some more.

I met up with my parents and my daughter in Augusta, and was immediately jarred back to reality. No longer a free-wheeling vacationer, it was back to being a wiper of butts and fixer of socks. Emails started arriving with questions about the guest artist coming to school and the play rehearsal schedule. On Saturday, despite arriving in Rockland with time to spare, we were rushed to get on the boat and I ran from Clan McLaren to the terminal carrying my 30 lb offspring. One minute you’re on the list to go backstage at the Imperial Theater, the next you’re muttering in frustration at a sobbing almost-three-year-old as her boots fall off and her package of oyster crackers is lost to the seagulls.

But then it was my birthday, and I remembered that I love my island life, I love my little family, with our dachshund and three cats and our beautiful home with land and forsythia ready to pop open. My husband made enchiladas, my daughter gave me many sweet birthday hugs, and across the island I got wonderful wishes from friends and acquaintances. New York is only a vacation if you don’t live there, as I was reminded by my sister and friends, and I’ll take a few days of luxury and noodles with chili oil over a lifetime of the subway and sitting in traffic – I had that in Boston, and chose to leave. I can crave ume shiso soba noodles from Kajitsu and love a homemade cake, a North Haven Brewing Co. beer, and a plate of enchiladas. I can see a show on Broadway and let it invigorate the shows I direct here. And I can let time away from my husband and daughter make the reunion sweet.

Courtney Naliboff

About Courtney Naliboff

In addition to this blog, I'm a contributing writer to kveller.com, a Jewish parenting site, a blogger and book reviewer for reformjudaism.org, and the author of Salt Water Cure, a column in Working Waterfront. I report news from North Haven for Working Waterfront and Island Journal, and was a speaker at the Maine Conference for Jewish Life in 2015. Follow Frozen Chosen on facebook or visit my Web site for more writing and free music to download!