Wednesday, February 25, 2015
24 Hours In Brussels: Travelling With Your Best Friend
Have you ever travelled with your best friend? Udita and I went to Brussels last week and had so much fun. BUT ... it was the first time we'd ever travelled together!
The trip was her idea: she and her husband (who's British!) were coming over for a quick visit to see his family and she texted, "Do you want to go to Brussels?" Slightly random, but okay - why not? So I booked our train tickets, found a dreamy hotel, and carefully scoured blogs for highlights to include in our itinerary.
On my way to meet Udita at St. Pancras to catch the Eurostar, I realized that this was the first time I'd travelled without John or my family ... which made this trip both fun and exciting. Mostly, I was looking forward to creating some new inside jokes with Udita because whenever we're together, for some reason ... hilarity ensues. EVERYTHING IS FUNNY. EVERYTHING. Heart-stopping, side-splitting, doubling-over kind of funny (in fact, she just sent me a list of the top 20 funniest moments from our minibreak yesterday, which included getting hit on by a bunch of Belgian businessmen at the hotel bar. Yep, married and still got it.).
Our moms think that we're friends because: "You're both Asian! And you're both so musical! You have similar upbringings by ASIAN parents. You both love to explore the world! But mostly because you're Asian." And, yes, while it's true that we met as standpartners in the Mount Holyoke orchestra, and ... we're both Asian-American ... the real reason why Udita and I get along so well is because ... of our love of celebrity gossip magazines. And reality television. We'd rather take a time out and flip through pages of the latest of issue of People (which we did a lot in college ... and which we might have done for a couple of hours on this trip - oops) than pretty much do anything else.
But mostly? We always seem to be on the same wavelength. Even over an ocean apart, one of us will text and the other will say, "OMG, I was just WRITING YOU AN EMAIL!" Mostly, we bring out the best in each other.
She's the one I'll call (and I have) at 3:00 a.m. when I'm upset and can't sleep. She'll sit in her car in a parking lot and FaceTime with me for an hour, just because I needed to hear her voice. She's also the one I share my triumphs with; the one who writes emails to me in all caps and exclamation points because she's so excited for me. And I will do the same for her.
Travelling with your best friend adds an entirely different dimension to your trip than say, if you were travelling solo, with your partner, or with your family. You might use that time to discuss things you wouldn't otherwise talk about (like whether or not Kylie Jenner had her lips done) or to experience a place or event that's special to you both (we loved the Musical Instrument Museum in Brussels for this very reason!).
On our final (and only!) night in Brussels, we had an extravagant dinner at Belga Queen (where you can order shots of caviar by the gram to enjoy with your oysters - yes, really). I sat across from Udita, who looked glamorous sipping a glass of wine with her blown-out hair and perfect makeup, and suddenly got misty-eyed.
"Look at us," I said, gesturing to our surroundings. "What do you think would have happened if we tapped the shoulders of college-us and told them that we'd be sitting in this fabulous restaurant, eating this fabulous food, living these fabulous transatlantic lives? We are so lucky."
And then I realized: we were so lucky to take this trip together. I'd always known that, even when I booked the tickets, but it wasn't until I was sitting there across from her, that I really, truly appreciated how fantastic it was to travel with my best friend.
It was a short, but sweet trip that I'll never forget. Until our next reunion in May, Udita! xo