|Ariel's a bit taller now.|
[Ariel sent her first email update. She provided no photo I have added one here from when I went to the US with her in 2002. My comments are in italics]
I got here safely and just borrowed some internet.
We got here safely, late and went to bed at about 2 am local time. We then had to get up at 6 am. It was harsh and here I was thinking it would be a holiday!
The flight was very long and I was next to the same people on both flights. T [a boy in of our group] asked if we were being deliberately put together. K [a girl in our group] and I explored a bit and found the chapel which is beautiful. We then discovered that we aren't supposed to go upstairs or explore to much. Oops.
The people here are really nice, both the group and the volunteers at the monastery. Mr H [Group Leader] woke everyone up pretty much as soon as they went to sleep on the first flight - the jerk - it took me ages to go back to sleep, but apparently someone woke him up later. Ah, sweet revenge.
We did a vigil this morning in front of a big abortion clinic and there were some protesters and most were gay, cross dressers or old ladies. They had a brass band and they kept singing and dancing and waving their posters and one guy had cheerleader pompoms. It was an interesting experience. Mr H said to me, "Hey, that was your first vigil wasn't it? Well now you can say that New York was your first vigil." [The protestors were captured on video here.]
On Saturday night we went to see the Brooklyn Bridge but got distracted and didn't leave till 10 pm. We had to take about 3 trains to get to Manhattan and when we finally reached Manhattan we went the wrong way. Once we finally got to the Bridge we took photos and wandered around a bit. When we tried to make our way back to the station we got lost and wandered for ages, and finally found the station. Then we had to go to a different one! We arrived on the right station but got on the wrong train and had to walk all the way up the entire street for what felt like hundreds of blocks. We made it home by about 2 in the morning. I got some really big blisters on both feet and heat rash so it was really painful to walk all that way. I think I prayed at least 3 rosaries worth of prayers! [Wandering around New York after Midnight would encourage prayers]
On Sunday we had Mass at 7 am and then free time till midday. We went to one of the volunteer's family home for BBQ and a quiet afternoon in the suburbs. It was really nice and the people didn't mind that all of a sudden what seemed like hundreds of Aussies pretty much took over their house and yard. Within minutes about 6 of us were shooting hoops, 3 were throwing a footy or two around and 2 or 3 were playing catch with a baseball and mitt.
On our way home we saw a huge cockroach on the zebra stripes and one of the ladies said, "Well, at least it's using the pedestrian crossing."
There is no Internet at the monastery that's why I haven't written till now. I will write later.