Saturday, April 23, 2011

Lady of Liberty, Ellis Island and American meeting

I’m not very punctual.  I am sure my previous boss’s would attest to that; friends, family members, anyone who has ever needed to meet me would agree.  As usual, we were getting off to a rather late start to get to see everything we had hoped to see in New York City that day.  It turned out to work out okay because just before we were rushing off to catch the next train, I got an email from our Peace Corps placement officer.
Would we be available to leave in June instead of July?  We’d still both be teaching and in Africa…just one month earlier than planned. 
There were a lot of things to consider.  First of all, we’d planned our road trip to see friends and family BEFORE we go to Peace Corps.  We’d planned to see my sister graduate from her master’s program which has engulfed her life for the last two years and we are so proud of her.  We had a lot of awesome camping trips planned in the west.  When in June would we go?
But, we’d be foolish not to take it.  We’d only budgeted to July.  Everything you read about applying as a married couple to Peace Corps informs you that it takes anywhere from one year to fifteen months to get placed.  We could get placed in just 11 months if we take it and or if not, possibly have to wait nearly half a year for something else.  
We discussed it and responded to our placement officer…yes, we’re available to leave in June.  Then, much to my chagrin because I really wanted to wait for a response from our placement officer, we rushed out the door to catch our train.
The whole way to NYC, I was contemplating where could we be going?  How are we going to recalculate our trip?  Is this for real?  Are we going to beat out the odds and actually leave earlier than expected?  We took another 40 minute ferry to get to battery park.   It only took two minutes to buy our tickets to the statue of liberty, yet we had to wait in a large line to get on the ferry…like a two hour line.
Did you know that the Statue of Liberty is managed by the National Parks Service?  IIMG_0181 didn’t, but as a result we got to go inside the Lady of Liberty because we have a national parks pass.  Lucky us!  We saw the original crown which is held inside of the statue and got great views of New York City.  I was shocked at how impressive this icon actually was.  I’ve been all over the world, I’ve seen the pyramids, the ancient city of Angkor, century old temples and shrines, I really didn’t think that I would be impressed by the statue of liberty.  I was so wrong!  So many photos show her off in the distance and she looks sort of boring.  I kept telling Jon how truly impressive she was with her grandeur presence and her stone cold face that is supposed to somehow be welcoming immigrants.   
IMG_0188We took the ferry over to Ellis Island.  Jon’s mission was to find his family’s names etched on the walls behind the museum.  After much research and questioning the staff, we called Jon’s mom and found out how to locate them.  Finally, we could use the museum’s information to locate his mother, his aunt, and his grandparents.  It was pretty cool and such a reminder of how unique the United States truly is. 
We caught the last ferry back to battery park and hurried to meet an old friend of mine for dinner (late again!).  Corey is a friend who I studied abroad in Australia with, visited in Korea, and he visited me twice in Japan.  We met for the first time in the United States on this day….continent #3 for us.  I introduced Jon and Corey to each other and we enjoyed a great Korean buffet dinner.  It was supposed to be just dinner and some drinks, but we ended up having a great time and missed the last train.  We all bounced from bar to bar, including a bar that was as if we were back in the ADKs until we finally crashed at Corey’s beautiful apartment and slept for a few hours to get a train back into Long Island.
After a long, hung-over trip back to Erin’s…I opened my email and happily read that we had been invited to serve in Peace Corps and that our official acceptance with further information was coming in the mail!!!!!

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