As it draws close to a month that I’ve been back in South Africa, I realize things will never be the same. The funny thing about my trip was that it was just a mere month. I’ve had 299 months in my life time, but that one month made a tremendous difference to my life.
I was dubious about New York, being the “bush girl” that I am, I was not particularly excited about going to a city that I was 100% sure was overrated. I was warned about big dangers there, and told it’s the biggest city many people I know have ever been to.
The day I arrived in the city, alone in a crowd in the middle of a concrete jungle. I was a tad nervous, but I’m from Africa, and I have street smarts, and I know that showing fear is the biggest danger to yourself. But the funniest thing occurred to me while riding the bus from the airport, there were beggars at the street corner, the buildings just didn’t seem all that big, there were typical traffic jams and hooting taxis. And I laughed because right away I felt right at home. And people are people all over the world, we have the same basic instincts no matter where we are from, and although you need to be careful wherever you go, generally people are going to be friendly and helpful.
So that first day when I had just done 25 hours of traveling and had to get from the airport to the hotel, I had to catch two buses and a hotel shuttle, and when I must have looked a tad lost, a nearby family of travelers from Washington DC kindly pointed me in the right direction. But that was ok.
Breathing a sigh of relief when getting to the hotel and meeting up with the tour group, I knew then and there that this was not a mistake, I had second guessed myself every minute of every hour from the moment I climbed onto the plane in Durban, but now I stopped thinking so hard and decided to fully enjoy every moment!
I had a friend join me on the tour, and met new friends along the way. A beautiful part of being one of Jehovah’s Witnesses is that we have literally got an 8 million strong brotherhood around the world, and meeting new witnesses is like catching up with old friends. Because the truth not only sets us free from the binding chains of this old world, but also immediately gives us all something in common. We can instantly start a conversation with a fellow witness and be on the same page.
I arrived in New York knowing one person, having one friend, I left knowing many new people and being good friends with 17 new people. And that was the best possible start to an incredible trip.
The tour, took us first to the MET museum on the edge of Central Park followed by touring Times Square. Then on to Patterson Bethel complex and Walkill Bethel Complex. The next day Brooklyn Bethel, and China town. The last day I chilled out in the meat packing district until I caught my bus to Cleveland.
But each of those days deserves its very own blog post, the feelings one can describe are incredible, new feelings, freedom and amazement!
But I know, without the shadow of a doubt that everything has now changed, I am a changed person.