|Meeting Clifford in 'real' life, a highlight for Kate!|
I was privileged to meet so many lovely, lovely people and was able to get to know them a bit better mostly over dinners. I loved the diversity of the church which is something I haven't experienced before, from new Christians to mature Christians, various backgrounds (some very interesting ones), various forms of suffering (a large number of widows) and a newborn baby who survived major heart surgery! We enjoyed countless offers of hospitality in various settings. (I was glad for my electronic calendar on my ipad mini as otherwise I wouldn't be able to keep up with all the offers of hospitality!).
We enjoyed lots of swimming both at a church members pool and at the YMCA. The girls got really good at swimming, Kate and Zara especially did really well, we are almost at the stage now where all the girls are swimming. On some of the hot, hot days, the outdoor pool felt like a warm bath but being wet did help.
The weather was VERY hot (90-110F) and humid (often 80-100%). I was surprised on how quickly we did acclimatize. On the very hot days we went to the library, YMCA or hung out in the basement playing the wii and ate lots and lots and lots of icepops. Now being back in Illinois having 73F days seem cold! How funny is that!
I did manage to complete my year of homeschooling, it was a real struggle for me in the end but we made it. I had hoped in my optimism to start on the new school year and get a few weeks done over summer but with it being that hot and the lounge was not air conditioned, I decided to leave it. I can't do it all! Also the girls went to Vacation Bible School for two weeks over summer, one at another church (the Free Reformed) and one at Pompton Plains Reformed Bible Church. They really enjoyed both those weeks and it was nice for me to have someone else teach them.
A couple of words of encouragement for you ladies in regard to hospitality. We would have been invited to at least 20 homes over the summer with some lunch and breakfast invites as well.
- Despite what your may tell yourself, it truly does NOT matter what you serve. We have enjoyed some lovely restaurant type cooking from ladies who were gifted in that area. We also have had some very simple plain meals and some even bought dinner. The idea here is not what is served but the company of the 'saints'! We appreciated the willingness of those people to have us over. A special note for those you are single, YES we were invited by some widows and not just one!
- A couple of people invited their extended family over as well as us.I really loved the concept as we were there for a short time and so it was nice to be able to meet several people at once.
- The church family invited us knowing that we were unable to return the honor of having them over for dinner. There were simply too many invites and soo little time. May this be your (my) attitude too, to invite the 'angels' into our house because God commands hospitality instead of with the wrong motives!
Girls - The girls did VERY well and thrived during the summer. They got very fit from all the walking we did especially in NY (we were too Dutch to pay for the subway), lots of swimming (at least 3-4 times a week) and scootering.
You know when you as a family travel a lot when:
- The girls prefer to sleep in one room together! (Yes even though we had three bedrooms, we only used two!)
- Automatically take a book or something to do in the car without me saying where we are going or how long for.
- Ask you: where are we going for dinner tonight?
- Automatically say their name and age when they meet someone new (this is very cute if I say so myself!)
- Hug people they have never met and thank them once they leave
- Are able to play instantly all sorts of games etc with 'new friends'.
- Your chillybin (cooler for US people) becomes your best friend (apart from the GPS of course!!)
- Happily look at some more airplanes at the third air and space museum that summer (oh dear did I just write that?)
- Happily eat sandwiches on the road for dinner, again!
- They travel for 12 hours straight in the car with not much entertainment and only stop to refuel the car. (On a sad note, I had downloaded quite a few audio books to my ipad mini but sadly overnight the ipad 'cooked' and so I was unable to use it. On a good note, once we got back, we went to the Apple store and they replaced it, no questions asked!)
As a summary, I thoroughly enjoyed the summer and it truly was a working holiday for us. Albert did work a fair amount, but was able to have one day off a week which the church insisted on. I was able to attend ladies bible studies have some play dates and had a few dates with Albert too! We are also VERY blessed by the church for supporting us financially over the summer. Thanks to the generosity of a few people in the church we were also able to do some 'extra' things over summer, like visiting Wasington DC.