**Pardon me as I skip ahead about a week and a half, but I'm just so excited about it I have to share! I promise to go back and recount all our adventures between now and then. Promise!**
I didn't grow up here, but Buffalo, NY is in my blood.
My Mom's from here. Her parents were born here. Their parents immigrated here. My Mom doesn't live here anymore, and hasn't really since she went off to collage, but these are where her roots are (excluding 'the old country' of course).
I spent many many many summers as a child here visiting my gramma and grampa and cousins and such.
Niagara Falls was my back yard during those summers. That, and Darien Lake, Art Park, the Boulevard Mall. My grandfather grilling hamburgers outside, eating tomatoes from the plants my grandmother planted, watching Wheel of Fortune with my G&G, watching them play tennis, going to my Gramma's weekly ladies luncheons, enjoying all my grandparent's friends (they were an amazing bunch!). All are people, places and things I remember so fondly from my childhood summers.
Later, Buffalo became central in my life once more. When I came to the US for college, I chose SUNY Buffalo. My grandparents were here, as well as my dear cousins. It was like home.
On my first day on campus, while moving into the dorm, I saw the man I would marry and have children with. A few days later we met and that was that. We've been together ever since. It wasn't so simple obviously ;-).
Can you imagine, if I would have gone down the road a bit to another college I was considering, it all never would have happened!
During our 4 years here we spent lots of time studying and working in our respective research labs. We took every visitor that came to see the Falls. We were so lucky to have adopted parents, my cousins P&A, to take such good care of us. They were our home away from home. We spent many an evening sharing spectacular home cooked meals around their dinning room table and enjoying some fabulous restaurants. We were able to experience wonderful family holidays thanks to them. Their most beloved dog Mellie, a wonderful yellow lab, was the first dog we loved together and influenced our decision togo out and find one of the same when we were ready for a dog. They were always there for us.
S and I graduated with our Master's from SUNY Buffalo in '98 and left. Not to return....until today....12 years later!
We made the decision to head east a few weeks ago, for several reasons, the main one being a visit from the in laws. We will be seeing them in a couple weeks in NY. The decision was not made lightly. It's quite a drive from out west to, well, the east! S was very nervous about driving our beloved behemoth out here. The roads are worse, the traffic is worse, the streets are narrower. It's the east! But, here we are. I'll go more into the drive in later posts, but we made it.
We pulled into Buffalo this afternoon, in the rain. At least it wasn't snow!
We were both so excited about our return! Seeing familiar street names, road signs, buildings. All made me feel almost giddy! The best part is seeing my dear cousins again and being in their house again. It's almost like yesterday that we were here, except it was 12 years ago.....We have seen them since of course. In fact it was May when we saw them last at a family wedding in NY. But being here again with them, well, it just makes me feel like a college student again. Except, who are these kids with me?!?!
This evening I already got to go to our beloved Wegmans! THE grocery store! Tomorrow, we'll go explore some of our old stomping grounds and visit other historical sights, such as the house my Mom grew up in, the house my grandparents grew up in and the house I spent so many summers in. We'll visit with our former professors and walk around campus showing the kids where Mommy and Daddy met. We'll go to the state park we went to for our first date, but on another day.
We'll OF COURSE go see Niagara Falls. Though they won't get to experience it in the dead of winter. Which, I have to say, was quite an experience.
Most importantly, we'll introduce the kids to part of their roots and continue instilling in them the importance of family connections and family history.
Now, back to your regularly scheduled blogging.....I'll return to sum up our Buffalo experiences in later posts, in the appropriate 'time slot'.