I've been informed that I need to update my blog. Touche.
So, I decided to start with the New York trip - I know it was like 3 weeks ago that Lisa and I were hanging out in the Milwaukee airport. But, as they say - better late than never!
Thursday, June 11
We left DSM about noon. Dan drove me to the airport. (Insert "Aww" here.) (After we got to the hotel, Jena asked if Dan drove me to the airport. I said yes and smiled. ...and promptly got made fun of!!)
Lisa and I flew Midwest Airlines. The main reason? Cheap prices, yes - but FRESH CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES! (I know, I'm a sucker for a good deal.)
Our flight to New York was delayed just over an hour. However, when we landed we were informed it'd be a 2 hour delay; later on, it was almost 3 hrs. Then, about 4:55 as Lisa and I were going to grab some dinner, I checked the departure time. It was leaving in 25 minutes! And we had to go back through security!
We made it to the gate with no problems and enjoyed TWO cookies on this flight. Which totally tided us over since we didn't get dinner.
We landed at LaGuardia about 8:20pm. It really reminded me of landing in a foreign country. There were people everywhere (and most didn't look like us), it was warm & humid, and the bathroom signs reminded me of Heathrow.
We actually booked a Midwest Vacation - packaging airfare, hotel and a shuttle to the hotel. Handy, yes. Cheap, yes. Ridiculously long wait to actually get to the hotel? Yes.
But, you get what you pay for. And, time is money - which proved to be the theme of our trip. Maybe if we had more, we would've spent less time getting (waiting) around. :)
We finally got to the hotel at 10:30pm, after a ridiculously long phone conversation with the front desk, seeing a lot of the city (we checked off the United Nations, the New York City post office, Times Square - though, we'd be back, and a lot of other non-descript hotels and apartments), and a lot of laughter. (Jena had been waiting for us around an hour. )
We set off for food - and found a cute little deli/grocer a quick jaunt from the hotel. As old friends do, we spent the next two hours catching up, talking, laughing and munching on puppy chow. :)
All in all, we turned in after 1 am...and Lisa set the alarm for 6!
Our hotel (formerly known as "World Trade Center Marriott") was about a block from the site of the Twin Towers. As we drove by, I thought we were driving through a construction zone. As I looked to my left, I realized that, no - we were driving through a de-struction zone. Three years ago, our program brought students to NYC. We saw the site then, which was just five years since 9/11. Now, it has been eight - and NOTHING has been done. There is still a giant hole in the ground, cranes, rubble. The buidings surrounding the site have been repaired - but, still, no memorial. This blows my mind. The Pentagon has had their memorial prior to 2004. But the site of the most destruction? Nothing. Maybe New York City still feels like it's an open wound, but I think it's time for healing. I think it's time to remove the rubble - the shrapnel, if you will - and allow some green space to cover the gaping hole. Let it be green, and rolling - a place of peace and honor.