USA 2017

Well finally I have found some time to post some pics from our trip to New Jersey in September… wow already a month ago…! Time is just flying.

So when we arrived in New Jersey, it looked like they were preparing for imminent nuclear war… just kidding, that’s my Mom cooking us bacon and ensuring no fat got anywhere on the stove top. She cooked us so much delicious food and it was such a nice break for me from thinking about and preparing meals at home in Cardiff. (Thanks Mom!!)

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The visit home was very much about spending time with family and friends, which is exactly what we did.  Here we are with the Vetrano and Krilov families, long time family friends.  Thanks guys for coming up to see us — great to catch up and thanks Hannah for that amazing salted caramel ice cream!

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Then it was over to Western NJ to visit one of my Wellesley friends Hilary — she just gave birth to her second daughter!  Congrats and thanks for having us at this special time!

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Then it was down the shore to visit my Gramma and Uncle Doug — Mom and Dad also joined us down at Seaside Park beach.  I love the beach and I love visiting Gramma and Uncle Doug.

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Aled continues to induct Morgan in the waves…

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In the afternoon we headed down to Island Beach State park which has some really beautiful sand beaches.  It was a bit too windy to enjoy at the point but it was still pretty sand!  There’s Gramma holding down the fort.

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Back at home in Wyckoff, Morgan bonded with his cousins Joey (4.5 years old) and Jack (2.5 years old).   Here they are picking ornamental grapes off the grape vine — a great activity my Dad has invented to keep little hands busy for a good 15 min!

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Annoyingly, the weather for the first week was a little bit cool for the pool but they spent a good few hours by the water table.  Over the two weeks there were a few minor skirmishes between the boys but overall I thought they played really nicely together.

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The boys have completely taken over my old bedroom…!  Hardly recognisable.

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My parents have some kayaks which we put to good use up at Shepherd’s Lake.

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Everyone had a go — Jack and Joey are both really avid paddlers.  Jack was so enthusiastic he was actually tiring my arms out!

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There’s Aunt Karen with Grampa and the boys.

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Hey look, a nice heron:

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More family gatherings followed in NJ — here I am with my sister Karen, cousin-in-laws Rachel and Sonia and Sonia’s daughter Viviana.  (Sorry Chris and Josh, no good pics of the men I’m afraid!!).  Great to see you all!!

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My Mom was taking every chance for a photo opp with all the grand kids.  Here she is with her sister, my Aunt Carolyn and all their grand kids:

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We also managed to get up to my sister’s house – here I am with my brother-in-law Anthony who’s just been promoted to lieutenant in the NY Police Department — congrats and well done!

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In the last few days we saw some touristy sites… Dad, Aled, Morgy and I took the ferry to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.  I loved visiting Ellis Island.  Like many Americans, my background is a mixture of a wide range of nationalities including Danish, Italian, French, Polish, Hungarian and … English!  Apparently some of our earliest ancestors were on one of the first boats out of England in the 1630s.  (Insert sarcastic comment here regarding my love for the UK which is sure to infuriate my husband!)

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So that’s Ellis Island — interesting also because I have immigrated to a few countries by now so can identify with the immigrant experience.  It’s not always easy but it’s been a fascinating adventure…!  Hard to say where my favourites to live were… possibly New Zealand or the Netherlands.  I really did love living in Weesp (a small town near Amsterdam).

Anyways… and then we were off to see good old Lady Liberty.  Hard to believe she was shipped over in pieces from France in 1885 –how incredible!

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And a close up:

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Of course it provided a good opportunity to reflect on the meaning of “liberty” — a phrase I was having a hard time defining other than as a synonym for freedom.  Dictionary definition is: the freedom to live your life the way you want, without interference from the authorities.

Interesting when you consider the implications of the US tax code for American expats… let’s not go there!

Gratuitous photo of Lower Manhattan — I am always amazed at the sheer size of these buildings and the quantity of humans living in such a small space!

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And just before I sign off — a little gem of a place to visit — the Aviation Hall of Fame of New Jersey in Teterboro!  I was surprised to hear of so many people (mostly men I’m afraid!) from New Jersey who were pivotal in aviation history.  It made me proud to be from New Jersey.  And the boys loved climbing in various old aircraft:

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Oh wait!  Aled went to a Yankees game with Anthony, Mom, Jack and Joey.  It was the night before we flew so I stayed home with Morgy to get a good night’s sleep.

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So that’s all folks!  With many thanks to my parents and wider family for such a nice visit.  We miss you and hope to see you over in Wales one of these days!

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