• Archives

  • Categories:

Thanksgiving 2015 and family

Back in September I wrote about a trip to Philadelphia where we were visiting an ailing relative. That relative was MJ’s grandmother and during that trip we spent time with her and met with her caretakers. In mid-October she passed away. I’d known her for several years. Before MJ and I dated, I was still local to Philadelphia while MJ was in California and I’d routinely go over to her apartment to help her with various electronics, from phones to televisions. And even after some initial surprise (“You’re dating the phone girl?”) I believe she ultimately welcomed me into the family when MJ and I got married back in 2013.

I learned about her passing when I was in Tokyo. I had just arrived at the hotel and saw messages from MJ, who found out during a layover on his way to meet me there. When he joined me in Tokyo we immediately made plans to return to the US for her funeral the next day. It was a sad, difficult and exhausting time. To make things worse, when we did make it back to Japan after her funeral we learned that another relative had passed away. It was almost too shocking to believe. We continued our Japan trip, mostly because I had to be in the country anyway for a conference. If I’m honest, part of the reason I haven’t gotten around to writing about it yet is because of the such intense, mixed feelings around it all.

With this stage set, MJ’s sister told us she was going to host Thanksgiving at her new home in Philadelphia. We initially said we couldn’t make it, but as we thought more about it, we concluded that we deserved a happy trip back east with family. It also gave us the opportunity to take care of some things for MJ’s grandmother, including moving her final possessions out of the nursing home and into storage. We flew to Philadelphia on the day before Thanksgiving, on what turned out to be a surprisingly easy trip, in spite of a layover and it being the busiest travel day of the year.

Given the logistics of our trip, we decided to stay at a hotel in downtown Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing. This gave us some beautiful views of the city and Penn’s Landing itself, especially at night. We also didn’t bother renting a car, instead depending upon cabs and inexpensive daily rentals that lived inside the hotel garage (so convenient!).

Thanksgiving itself was really enjoyable. Gathering together for a festive holiday, eating lots of great food and enjoying a couple bottles of Sonoma Valley bottles of wine. Given our travel schedules, the holidays tend to be when we stay home, choosing to visit family during less chaotic times. When I looked back and realized the last time I had spent Thanksgiving with family was back in 2010 when I traveled to New England to visit my side of the family.

Thanksgiving! Thanks to Irina for posting this!

I also watched a bit of Mystery Science Theater 3000 on the morning of Thanksgiving at the hotel, traditional “Turkey Day” celebrations. Good times.

We were only in town for 3 days, so the rest of our time was split between meals and visits with family, a couple trips to storage and a final meal with just the two of us on Saturday night at Moshulu on Penn’s Landing. Moshulu is “the world’s oldest and largest square rigged sailing vessel still afloat” (source) and I’ve wanted to visit the restaurant it contains for years. Our stay on Penn’s Landing gave us the perfect opportunity as it was just a quick walk down the landing from the hotel to get to it. Dinner was everything I expected and the quirkiness of it being on a ship made it that much more enjoyable. There may have been several hot spiced bourbon cocktails, and a Graham’s Tawny Port flight which included 10, 20, 30 and 40 year samples (we shared it!).

Sunday morning we took a couple of flights that finally brought us home. This trip concluded my travels for 2015, it was nice to end things on a high note.