It’s been 2.5 weeks since we departed Nepal and landed in the USA. The immediate cultural changes were more comforting than shocking, and we were more than welcomed by Andrew’s cousins in Queens. Patrick, Reisa, Grace and Catherine showed us immeasurable hospitality and love as we stayed with them during our NYC week. No photo or video could fully reveal this family’s adorable-factor with their warmth and Mandarin-speaking ways.
Waking up our first morning to 65* winds blowing through the open windows was the greatest alarm we had had in months, so we took the opportunity to don our sunglasses and explore such an electric city. The excitement lasted everyday from 7am-4pm when we would almost methodically collapse for a long-winded, jet-lagged nap. Throughout the week we did many of the classics such as the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, etc. We even committed ourselves to stay in line from 5am-10am in order to buy discounted tickets to the Tony winner, Once. I was close to obsessed with the 2006 Irish Indie film for which the musical takes its entire inspiration.
The live show was filled with passionate performances and impressive direction. The entire cast played their own instruments making an orchestra unnecessary, and leaving me with the same deep satisfaction that the film did when Jocelyn, Mandy and I stumbled upon it in Boston five years ago. In addition to this surprise, we inundated ourselves with good food and had the sweetest of last days by meeting up with good friends. Our pals, Mandy and Michael, took the bus up from DC and Josh had the weekend to show us around his new town. Mandy, who is a college roommate and single-handedly made the bulk of my wedding decorations, wrote a play-by-play blog about their weekend which included our Saturday together. Josh and I studied together in Vienna, Austria, our sophomore of college during which we perfected British accents in Rome. It had been a few years since we were able to spend time roaming a city together, and Brooklyn/Manhattan proved to be the perfect destination for a reunion. We spent Michael’s birthday eating local fruit popsicles (grown with love on a Brooklyn rooftop, no doubt), hopping around shops for clothing and fabric, wandering the lower east side, and enjoying a sweet balcony view (see Mandy’s blog). Such an adventure was the perfect ending to our extended honeymoon of sorts. Nepali weddings, New York pizza, elephant baths, and mountain views were such an unexpected amalgamation that it actually worked.
But our Sunday morning arrival back to Nashville was welcomed with a few realities: humidity and the NCLEX. It turned out that Nashville was about the same temperature as the orphan home at a stifling 106* with that one paramount difference: air conditioning. That proved to be enough since I spent Sunday afternoon until Saturday morning studying in coffee shops for my nursing boards. A few moments with friends and family were sweet reliefs from my oozing brain, and Saturday at noon I finished the dreaded exam. Andrew and I left that evening for Kentucky where we have been since. His oldest brother, Nathanael, and family live on a 250 acre farm outside of Glasgow, KY, where they work cattle, 50 acres of corn/soybeans, and a very impressive garden thriving despite the lack of rain. In addition to family/farm time, Andrew was asked to fill in for their church’s minister for two Sundays while he was out of town. During his morning sermon, Andrew mentioned to the congregation that it was the first time I was hearing him preach. It was easy to be a proud wife at the end of the day after two well-delivered gospel messages came from my man, but of course I had the sweet old men with smirks in their eyes come up to me and ask if I was gonna keep him around after hearing his sermons. Before I could even develop a clever enough response, Francine and her 91-year-old confidence chimed in, “Honey, if you don’t want him, I’ll take him.”
Monday afternoon I found out that I had passed my boards (sigh), and within the month will be an official registered nurse (sigh). Three years of pre-reqs, applications, moving, clinicals, lectures, tests, anxiety, etc, and I’ve arrived at another beginning. I finished 13 job applications that afternoon and am just waiting to see where my ‘career’ will take its launch. In the meantime, we’re helping with chores, canning, consuming the spoils from the garden, taking the oldest three (Hannah, Ethan and Madelyn) to the local Chuck-E-Cheese knock off, and celebrating Caleb’s first birthday. Andrew and I are splitting the preaching duties this Sunday (good thing those Nazarenes love their female preachers), and then we’re back on the road.
Below are some of the NYC highlights…