This past summer was pretty full of memorable trips. Along with going to the Bahamas for the first time with my family, I also got to welcome into the country a special person to Caoliang, his twin brother Caoyang.
Having siblings is pretty important to me. I grew up with four other siblings so I know how special it is to have a sisterly or brotherly bond. Caoliang grew up with a twin brother. Both of them were energetic boys who got put into gymnastics at an early age. Fast forwarding to current day, both of them are still very active in their everyday life style even though most of the last few years have been spent apart from each other. Now there was a chance to bring Caoyang to America to study circus arts which would hopefully, bring the Wang brothers a higher chance of sticking closer together in the future.
Before Caoyang arrived into Newark Airport, Caoliang and I had a few days to explore the Big Apple together for the first time. I had traveled to the city before and remember loving everything about it then. It was weird that now coming back, I didn’t love it so much.
I never realized how disgustingly dirty New York City streets are. Literally every corner smells like urine and garbage. I had been to much more denser cities before but even those places, New York seem to beat it levels of horrid smell! I’m not sure if the city is wanting to keep its filthiness to add to the character of the city or what, but it is definitely an issue I wish the city would address.
Besides trying to hold my breath through nearly every street in Manhattan, there were other, more enjoyable things we did in the city as well. With our few days there, we walked The High Line to take a walking break and watch the cars and people go by, checked out what the MoMA had going on, and even met up with a fellow Houstonian friend who had moved to the city.
But the most special thing we did before welcoming Caoyang into the city, was get engaged. So how did it happen? What’s the story? It happened on the Brooklyn Bridge actually. I had never been there before and Caoliang was really keen on taking me there one evening. After a whole day of walking around, I wasn’t the most excited person to go. But I saw how eager he was and figured I get my lazy bum up to check out this bridge. When we arrived, it did exceed my expectations. It was really interesting to be in such an open space with so many cars passing underneath. Also being able to turn around and see buildings lit up and knowing you could literally walk to Brooklyn from there.
So we spent a good amount of time just taking photos of cars and lights and watching cyclist speed by. Finally he handed me his camera and asked me to take a photo of him standing in the center of the walk way with one of the bridge’s arches behind him. Ok, sure. I took a picture or two before he asked if I could take it from a lower vantage point. Um, all right I suppose so. As I was counting off the photo, this adorable guy pulled out a red ring box and only had a massive smile on his face. I clicked the photo and could clearly see excitement and nervousness written all over his face. He didn’t saw anything but just kept a huge grin on his face. It was very sweet and I laughed at the whole situation. After making him stand up to get out of the walk path, I listened to him go into a nervous speech about the whole thing. Finally, he gave me a chance to say yes. It’s funny to write about that night and to think back on it. But it’s a sweet story to tell and will be fun to retell in the years to come.
We spent a total of nearly two weeks in New York and Philadelphia. Meeting Caoliang’s closest family member was not so much nerve wrecking for me but more exciting. I was happy I finally can meet someone he calls family and see how he is with his brother. The whole experience of meeting him and helping him get settled into a new environment and culture was exhausting. I’ll spare you the day by day details. But at the end of it, we successfully helped him set up his new living space, show him how to get into downtown Philadelphia, and showed him how to get to his new school campus, Circadium.
To give you a little back-story on a strange sounding name for a school, Circadium is a new circus school that just recently opened up in Philadelphia. It was actually born with the name, Philadelphia School of Circus Arts but with the growth over the years, it has taken on new grounds and a new name. The creators Greg and Shana Kennedy are friends of Caoliang and have been awesome at helping Caoyang get adjusted in a new life. I also got the pleasure of meeting his couple and seeing the site of the new school. They actually purchased land and property of an old Catholic church. Once it was fully theirs, they redesigned and changed the interior to fit the needs of their students. Honestly the place looked amazing. I wish I could be attending this school!
This trip to the East Coast wasn’t finished just yet. After feeling like parents that are sending their only child off to college, Caoliang and I said farewell to Caoyang and headed back to New York City for friends’ wedding. The wedding ceremony of Guilhem and Liz Cauchoi was set in Tarrytown, New York with an amazing backdrop of a castle-like mansion, Lyndhurst. It was such a joy to witness their love and be part of this celebration. After an evening of good food, great company, and plenty of dancing, we had only one day left in the city before going our separate ways.
Any new, or old, place I get to travel with Caoliang is such a treat. Each time, I realize how lucky and blessed we are to even be able to have such trips! Because of all the great things that happened these two weeks, it will definitely be a memorable one!
Video Bonus! It’s just two seconds but put them all together and you get my whole trip!! Enjoy clips of my trip to the East Coast HERE!