The final leg of my month-long trip is now coming to an end. I'm sitting in Kennedy airport (a.k.a. JFK) in New York, about to leave for Amsterdam (and then onwards to Cape Town). I've been here for a week and half, and it's been extremely enjoyable, although pretty hectically busy. The first half of the week included arriving on the Fourth of July and hearing the fireworks going from the cab ride back to Kristen's, meeting her dad and grandfather (he is an ADORABLE 80 year-old New York Italian dude with a strong accent and marbles in his mouth), met up with some of my NY friends, seeing her mom (whom I adore), and going to see Stand By Me being projected on the Brooklyn Bridge from a gorgeous new park on the East River.
Then, on the next Friday, my mom came to visit with us for the weekend, which was fantastic. She stayed with me and Kristen in her little Brooklyn apartment and put up with her allergies to share the space with KB's sweet kitty, Squee. We went for a phenomenal dinner at what is by far the best restaurant in Park Slope (and probably the best deal I've eaten at in all of NYC), Al Di La - an Italian restaurant with a long wait that's totally worth it. Then we spent Saturday afternoon at Coney Island! It was a classic New York treat! Especially considering it's the last summer Astroland (the amusement park at Coney) will be open, I think it was a great experience to have. We finally finished up with a concert in Prospect Park of Beth Orton, which we couldn't really see/hear, but we had a great picnic in the park. It was all really fun, and it was really nice to see my mom, as well as to have Kristen interact with her (they get along like gangbusters).
All-in-all, it was really nice to be in New York and see friends and family. It really reminded me, however, how much I miss New York. Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying living in Cape Town, but being back in New York really got me reminiscent of how ALIVE the city is, and how cool it is to be in the middle of it. More and more, I see myself returning to NYC when my time in Africa is over. The only thing that spoiled the rosy image was the outrageous humidity which is pretty much non-existent in Cape Town. Oh, it was SO disgusting, it was unbearable to be out of the air conditioning for more than an hour.
Finally, I'm sad to be leaving the city, but I have to say I'm definitely glad to be finally returning home to Cape Town. After traveling for over a month, I'm pretty sick of living out of a suitcase, and I'm looking forward to being back in my own bed. But here's to traveling and seeing the world!