28 June 2011

Ariel's Update #1

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.

27 June 2011

It's so fluffy!

It's so fluffy!
Lana and I were doing some shopping last night and Lana spotted this very cute pillow.  It folds up and is shaped life a stuffed Pink and white unicorn.
When she saw it, Lana looked at me and said in an excited little girl voice, "It's soooo fluffy!"
How could I resist?
Naturally I had to take a photo.  Eric was seated nearby when I took the photo and he just grinned.
"It's not bad being in a weird family sometimes." he said.

From Eric - I was laughing my head off thank you.
And it is always a good thing to be in a weird family.  ;)

Ariel Has Left the Premises.

Ariel (with Peter along for the drive)
Ariel is in New York.
A few weeks ago Lana and I suggested that Ariel take a holiday.  Ariel lamented how she would never be able to leave the shop and she had no where to go anyway.
The next day I was visiting a business associate and it dawned on me that the event he was organising was perfect for Ariel.  A trip to New York to take part in a Pro life retreat with about 30 other young people (between 17 and 27) as well as plenty of time to visit the important tourist destinations of the town.
As it all fell into place so quickly, Ariel realised it was probably meant to be, so she and Lana quickly arranged for a new passport and some clothes and bags and so on.  To help her avoid too much pre trip nerves I organised for the shop's year end stock take to be done before she left.  That is because I am extremely considerate!
I found it very odd watching her at the ticket counter liaising with the airline officer regarding her ticket and bags.  I know she is fully capable - after all, she has been running the shop since she was 16.  But still ... there she was, going overseas without any of us.  I know she is with a good group and should have a great time.
We made a deal that Ariel is to send me one email with a photo per day.  She has her new iPod touch which can take the photos and send an email so it shouldn't be too difficult.  But so far no message.
So, we will have to up the ante.
If we don't get an email, embarrassing old photos of her as a little girl will get posted.
Ariel - you have been warned. :-)