In my last blog, I finished off by saying that I was going to walk to Iowa that afternoon. I did, only I took a wrong turn and ended up walking a lot further than I needed and paid for it with blisters on my heals! Whoops. Here’s the proof of my walk.
With the friends that I was staying with in Omaha, Nebraska, we waited until late in the afternoon and walked down from their inner city condo, for a photo shoot of the two of them and their puppy. It turns out controlling a puppy is hard! But we still had a lot of fun!
We also did some fun photos without the puppy.
Next stop was California, to a house in the country where I enjoyed the falling leaves, reading outside in the sunlight, gardening, picking flowers, looking for pumpkins, walking through a maze in a maise field, a trip into San Francisco and of course, amazing friends.
The perfect place to read.
On to Chicago for a quick hello to friends with a beautiful new baby, the mouth watering tastes of deep pan Chicago pizza, enjoying more beautiful Fall colours and dessert at the Christmas tree in Macy’s.
This photo really is not great- my favourite part of it, is that the baby is on my front, where she slept for that whole trip. People looked at me when I walked passed them on the street, because I had a pink teddy on my front and inside of it, the most beautiful baby.
My final destination: New York City.
I'd wanted to go to New York City for years now and finally I had a dear friend who lived in Brooklyn, with whom I could stay and explore with. I had a list of places to go and things to see and we managed to check off each one and some bonus places too. I even had some more dear friends fly up and ride the bus and train to hang out for the weekend.
Look who it is! Hello Lady Liberty!
We found a huge display of Christmas trees and ornaments at Macy's and I wandered around with my eyes wide in amazement.
It was rainy and miserable the day we visited 9/11 Memorial.
We had brunch at a great diner for a sweet Mercy Shippers reunion.
We enjoyed all the leaves!
And then we went to TIMES SQUARE!
Stacia and I loved it,
Steph and Mekenzie preferred to keep moving, while we gawked.
I've always wanted to go ice-skating outdoors and New York City was the perfect place to go!!
The photo below pretty much sums up what an hour on the rink looked like- Mekenzie light on her feet and Steph and me, overbalancing now and then but catching ourselves before we hit the ice.
Stacia was our photographer and bag and shoe holder.
Another great time with friends was at the Smorgasberg market food stalls in Williamsberg. Yum!
We walked the High Line and ate the promised Best Doughnut Ever- thanks Mark!
We walked over the Brooklyn Bridge.
Used the subway at Grand Central Station.
Saw the Empire State Building, all lit up for Christmas.
The sunset and the views from the observatory on the 87th floor of the Empire State Building were beautiful.
We became pros at riding the subway.
We explored Central Park, saw hundreds of squirrels, a few ducks and soaked in the colours of fall reflected in the pond.
What a busy, fun, highly enjoyable trip visiting friends and traveling around the states. I managed to travel through or stay in, nine different states while I've been here. I've caught up with countless Mercy Ships friends and even a surprise visit with two friends from good ol' Toowoomba!
Parts of my trip have been shadowed and darkened by different things in both my homes, on the ship and in Australia. One being the unexpected death of my friend, Alyce. Not being able to show my support and sympathy to her family, not even able to attend her funeral makes my heart heavy and the distance seem unbearably far. Alyce was an amazing girl who will be dearly missed by a multitude of people. She fought her battle so hard and bravely, but Jesus wanted her with him.
Other hard things happening have certainly brought many tears and the burden to pray my little heart out. I cannot control anything and being so far away only exaggerates the knowledge of that. And here in NYC I can't even control the weather which is almost unbearably cold. Perhaps that is my fault though since I prayed it would snow- which it did for a very small time yesterday. I obviously don't know what I want- for it to be warm and still snow? Impossible. I should have thought that one through!
More than a week has passed since I wrote this. I have since returned to the ship, gladly welcomed back into open arms, with my cabin door covered in welcome home letters and fresh flowers by my bed!! For the first time after returning to the ship from a holiday I have rejoiced at being here and haven't really struggled too much in settling back in. My sleep pattern has slightly though. A week after arriving I'm still working on that one.
I've done a few shifts at work and within the first hour I had a little patient in my arms, as he snuggled into my neck and I knew I was home.