New Jersey 2019

… a 5 hour flight from Reykjavik later and we were in New Jersey!  I won’t bore you with the details but it took 2 hours to get through customs at Newark Airport — a truly infuriating experience when all you want to do is give your parents a big hug after arriving in one’s home country :(

Anyways that trial endured, we were welcomed home in Wyckoff and had a really nice time at Gramma and Grampa’s!  Morgy, Jack and Joey love the pool — and I love this pic.  A very American scene with an inflatable gummy bear making an appearance — fantastic!!

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As always, there were lots of wonderful family gatherings and it was great to see you all – thanks everyone for coming to see us! Here we are in the pool at the cousins gathering:

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In the next picture you’ll see Josh and Rachel on the left who are expecting their first child (any second now!).  Then Karen, Anthony, Jack, and Joey, Aled and Morgy, my cousin Chris with Vivi and Alejandro, and me.

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Here’s my Mom and her sister Aunt Carolyn with their grandkids – we’re teaching them to do our classic “funny face cousins picture”.  So cute!

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Here we are with our close family friends, Lou and Andrea:

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And here with my parents, Aunt Elena, Uncle Charlie, Uncle Doug and Gramma Arizona celebrating Uncle Charlie’s birthday with an ice cream cake:

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Later in the week we also got to hang out with Rosemary and Sam, longtime family friends (no pic of Sammy sorry!).  Here is Rosemary reading Morgy a book about trains– thank you for all the presents!  The water balloons and mini-sloth were a major hit.

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No trip to New Jersey is complete without a visit to the Jersey shore where my Mom grew up and where my Gramma and Uncle Doug now live.  We all love being down by the ocean, even though Aled prefers the more varied Pembrokeshire beaches.  I love all beaches, as long as it’s sunny and warm outside and the beach is free from jellyfish, sea weed and trash :)

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I certainly couldn’t complain about the temperature when we were in New Jersey.  In August it was consistently in the mid to high 80s (30C) with humidity.  That sort of heat is typically too hot for British people but as long as there’s a pool or beach nearby, I absolutely love it!  It’s a heat that gets into the bones and gets me through the colder times of year (that’s my theory anyways!).  I think I’m like my Gramma though — we love the sun.

Here’s Aled and Gramma Arizona, now 88 and still refusing to wear sun tan lotion!

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And the boys by the waves with Uncle Doug on life guard duty:

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Morgy found plenty of tiny creatures in the sand, including this crab which he shared with Gramma:

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Then down to the Boardwalk for some rides!

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It’s nearly impossible to get a picture with all the boys looking but I try it every year!

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One important aspect of bringing Morgy to the United States is to expose him to all things American.  After a huge piece of pizza at 3 Brother’s on the Boardwalk I also got this delicious funnel cake!  Can’t remember the last time I had one of these…!  Fried dough with powdered sugar on top – yum.  Typically I try and hold back with all the unhealthy treats you can get your hands on in America — not this time!

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We had two really interesting outings in New York City on this trip.  Morgy hadn’t been to the Big Apple prior to this trip and I thought it was time to show him a really tall building, as we don’t really have that many in the UK.  (A quick google reveals that the highest building in the UK is the Shard in London, at just over 1000 feet.)

I was stuck between the Empire State Building and the Freedom Tower, the sky scraper that was built to replace the Twin Towers.  In the end, we opted for the Freedom Tower because it is the highest building in America at 1776 feet tall — it is also the 7th highest building in the world.

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I haven’t considered going down to this site since the disaster in 2001 — mostly because I wasn’t ready to face it — and I certainly wasn’t going to explain to Morgan how this amazing tower came to be.  So I sort of compartmentalized the whole thing (as best as one is able to ignore a generation-defining catatrophe) and just focused on the engineering feat that reached high into the crystal clear sky on this glorious August morning.

The view was spectacular:

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And impressed us all:

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I kept it together pretty well until we got back down to street level and walked towards the memorial fountains.  The tears welled up as Morgy ran ahead towards it to see the water cascading down into what appears to be an endless abyss. I remember there being lots of discussion and debate about the memorial’s design and I have to say I thought the concept, shape, and form evoked the right response (endless grief and deep contemplation).  Contrasted with the stark white skeleton-like shape in the background, the reflection pool brings a mess of emotions, feelings and thoughts to the fore.  As ever, New York City’s scale and boldness never fails to awe the on-looker and this monument is no exception.

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Design ingenuity aside, I coudn’t really bear to read the names chiselled into the sides — it was just too heart wrenching.

Onto less tragic photos… we headed down to South Street Seaport for a look at the boats…

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And shared a New York City treat, the giant pretzel, another first for Morgy:

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One of the last adventures we went on was to Yankee Stadium.  Thanks to my sister Karen for getting the tickets and to my brother-in-law Anthony for help with the parking!  Here I am with Morgy and Jack with their popcorn.

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I think that’s what Morgy mostly remembers from his time at the ball game – munch munch munch!

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As always it was a great visit stateside — thanks everyone for such a nice time XOXOXO

PS – I only had time to see one old friend this time around, so sorry if I missed anyone. That was Lisa T from high school and for the third year running, I’ve managed to come back to the UK with no photographic evidence.  Shameful.  ;)

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