USA Trip continued
Almost a year later! I keep forgetting to finish the blog about my USA trip. I enjoyed every minute, and I promised to share it with you all. But sometimes I think that some memories are best kept as private memories, not really shared with the world. Nah, thats not true, I’ve just been too lazy to blog about it all. Well, here’s another instalment, the first half of the Cleveland leg of the trip.
So I climbed on the Megabus in NYC on the Wednesday afternoon and rode 13 hours through countryside and through other towns all the way to Cleveland, Ohio. Arriving at 2:30am where my loving and patient Uncle and Grandfather were waiting for me. And at 2:30am on the side of the road in a dodgy part of Cleveland, I met my 13 year old cousin for the first time, and it was fabulous. For those who may be wondering, unless you have lots of time to kill, I would advise you take a plane or hire a car for drives of under 1000kms. The bus was a good economy choice, but I won’t do it again in a hurry.
We came home to my uncle’s house, and he showed me to my room. The next morning though we were all up bright and early (did I mention I literally had NO time for Jet Lag or resting on my trip to the states? All my own fault of course…) and heading out the door on the Thursday morning. I got to also meet my 15 yr old cousin for the first time then, and we have become such good friends.
Where were we heading?
Well, I managed to time my trip to Cleveland in such a way that I could be there for their “Imitate Christ” Regional Convention.
And part of attending the
convention is volunteering before hand to help clean out the stadium that is being used as the venue. So we arrived and helped for a couple of hours to clean bubblegum off of chairs, and sweep and mop, etc. It was nice because I then got to meet and know some from my Uncle’s congregation.
Grandparents are the best!
After that my Granddad, good soul that he is wanted to introduce me to “WENDY’S”, an American fast food franchise that I can best compare to Wimpy here in South Africa. It was a boiling hot day and granddad spoilt myself (hey it doesn’t matter how old you are, when your grandparents spoil you, you just go with it.) and my two cousins to a giant super thick chocolate milkshake each. Ah, yummy. I will forever love Wendy’s if just for that. It was such a hot day, and it seemed it would be getting even hotter over the course of the next week. I had 2 dresses, one skirt and 2 pairs of jeans, and I was dying of heat. So I asked Grandpa if he could introduce me to the amazing second hand clothing stores my late grandmother used to always talk about. And I must say, I was not in the least disappointed! Spending some decent time there with my cuzzys and a huge store, well organized with second hand, good quality clothing and other stuff. I managed to find a pair of shorts and a nice pair of 3/4 jeans. My cousin bought a still sealed, collector’s edition of Star Wars monopoly. And even gramps bought himself something – a $40 wheelchair (old people problems)….
Then we came back to the house to prepare sandwiches for lunch for the convention the next day.
Wolstein Center and the Imitate Jesus Regional Convention
Early on the Friday morning we were all getting up and making ourselves look beautiful
for an amazing convention. As Jehovah’s Witnesses, the annual Regional Convention is always a highlight to us all. And if one is fortunate enough to attend it twice in one year, oh we feel so privileged. And not only did I get to attend it 2 months earlier than here at home, but I got to sit next to my cousins and my grandfather for three days. The venue being the lovely Wolstein Center, a large indoor basketball stadium in Cleveland, with well manicured gardens outside, and delightful air-conditioning inside. I met many new people at the convention, but mostly I just delighted in being with my family.
An extra treat was on the Sunday after the convention we got to take a drive to Lake Eyrie to watch the sun setting over it. And there I stood, taking photos of the sunset and my cousins, feeling a million miles away from home but so content. And I knew then, like I knew the day I stood on Brooklyn Bridge, like I knew the day I climbed onto the plane back in Durban that for me Home will never be just one place. For me, home is travelling, being with the people I love, and having a camera in my hand.