So much has happened since last week. Our flight to New York was pretty uneventiful, though delayed a couple of hours due to weather. New York City was awesome. The night we got in was cold! We were very hungry so the group we were with wandered around the block that our hotel was on and we ate at a Pizzaria. It was so good and fresh! The hotel we were in was very posh. They did not have rooms with two beds, so we were split up; Heidi and I in room 2708 and Aaron and Derreck in room 2717 - 27th floor! There was a mini bar in our room with outrageous prices for little snacks. Every item was on a sensor, so if you picked it up it was charged to your room. I made sure the kids stayed away from it!!!
Our first morning we took the subway from Grand Central Station to the last stop on Manhattan and got on the ferry and went to Liberty Island to see the Statue of Liberty. She was so amazing! The whole experience on the boat to the island was just a small taste of what it must have felt like as an imigrant coming to America.
We then got back on the subway and stopped at Ground Zero. It was quite strange being there - it is a huge section of fenced off land in the middle of bustling New York. We peaked through the fence and saw this huge hole in the ground. They are preparing to build again. There is a small memorial there right now and names of everyone who lost their lives. Incredible.
We then took the subway back to the hotel. That evening we walked to Times Square. It was so amazing all lit up at night. So much going on. We ate at a restaurant called Mars 2112, a spaced themed place mostly for the kids, though we all enjoyed it. It was 3 stories underground and had all kinds of cool things to look at.
The next day Derreck had to finalize his visa at Rockafeller Plaza so the kids and I walked with his group and saw all the skaters and the Today show and the things around there. It was really fun.
Thoughts on NY:
Very fast paced, though the people were much nicer than the sterotype.
Everyone dresses up.
There is a Starbucks every 3 blocks - I swear!
There are some real kooks out there!
Flight to Amsterdam:
All I can really say is it was a long overnight flight and I could not sleep one wink. I should have taken some benedryl or something, but since then, I have been exhausted. I am finally starting to get used to the time change. The flight was very nice though. They have movies on those long flights, so that makes the time go by faster.
Our group arrives in Amsterdam and are waiting for our huge pile of luggage. We have to get it all on the train somehow which are sort of like the subways in NYC; they don't stop for long! So we are frantically trying to get everyone's luggage on the train. We do and then settle in for the 2 hour train ride to Almelo. Then it's the frantic Get Everyone's luggage Off! We do and have to drag it down stairs and then back upstairs to get it off the train depot. Now we're really exhausted. Everyone has these tiny cars here and we're all wondering how we're going to get our luggage in these little cars they brought for us. Finally someone calls a taxi bus. We then get to our apartments, sort out the luggage and bring it in to the apartments. They are new, very nice, and small. They are all the same: 2 bedrooms, a toilet room, a shower room, a laundry room, a kitchen and a living/dining area. Some weird things: The light switches are upside down of what's on and off in America. The toilet and shower are separate rooms, so go pee before you go to the shower. No oven - which we knew coming here, but it's still hard to get used to. And everything is small, but tall. The kitchen sink is very small, as is the refridgerator and washer/dryer. And people are TALL here. The hooks and shelves are very high for me. Also, they use military time here, so the digital clocks say things like 23:09, or even weirder, 0:00(midnight). TV is strange - some is in Dutch, some in German, some in Brittish English, some American. All comercials are in Dutch. The few Dutch we've met that do speak English said they learned it from TV, as we will I''m sure pick up some Dutch that way. Or will it be German?!
Anyway, we dump off our luggage and have to go to the grocery store, as they are all closed on Sundays. So we walk over to the store, luckily it's very close. We get a few things for the next day and come back to prepare some dinner. We ate and went to bed at about 7:00pm. It was a LONG night. The kids have to share a room, not only that, but it is so small their beds are about 6 inches from each other. So they are keeping each other awake and we're all so tired and cranky we finally all get into our bed and sleep until 12:30 next day, Sunday. That of course threw us off for the next night and we couldn't sleep again. So now we're slowly getting onto Netherlands time.
We are all loving it here. It's really cold, but the sun's been out at least part of the day everyday, so that's been really good. Everything is different, from the language to the food to Everything!
Tomorrow is Market Day, it should be fun.
I will try to get them downloaded in the next few days and hopefully have some posted here pretty quick. Keep checking back!