Early Wednesday morning, my family woke up and began to frantically pack four suitcases, three dogs, and six people into my mom's five-seater vehicle.
We actually ended up boarding all three of our dogs for the first time ever. They were able to stay together, which was nice, but we were all a bit nervous about leaving our babies behind.
On our way to the boarders, we tried to reassure our dogs so they wouldn't be nervous. Jack's favorite place in the car (or really, anywhere) is perched right on someone's shoulder... so he quickly fell asleep on mine. It was so cute.
I'd never been to New York City before, unless you count a few hours of layover time in the airport on the way to Paris, France, so I was pretty pumped.
The plane rides were long and a little dull at times, but Ali and I amused ourselves by playing several games of Go Fish with the deck of cards I brought along, reading books, and sleeping. (Mostly sleeping.)
Before we left, our mom told us to pack everything in as small of a bag that we possibly could because of the cramped size of our hotel rooms (that we were sharing with several others). I did as she said and chose the smallest suitcase I owned to pack in a week's worth of clothes and toiletries. When Ali and I compared the size of our suitcases, we couldn't help but laugh.
A sleek, white limousine was waiting for us. I had never been in a limousine before, so the experience was so much fun.
There weren't rows of seats inside the limo; instead, they lined one side. There was a little bar on the other side, along with a radio and a trim of glowing blue light. The ceiling of the limo was a mirror, just like the movies.
For a little while, I spent my time staring out the windows and watching Newark fly by. Soon my exhaustion took over and I began to doze off. The ride was so comfortable. Our trip to NYC had already begun with smiles and excitement.
For dinner, we were pretty eager to explore, so we went walking outside of our hotel and stumbled across a Chinese/Japanese food restaurant that had two taped signs on the front window. One said, "We do not sell liquor, so bring your own." The other said, "Sanitation Grade Pending." Yet somehow my family chose this restaurant for our first taste of authentic New York City cuisine.
And considering everything, it wasn't that bad.
Our adventure had finally begun.