Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sabbatical Update

Sunday Morning 13 July
Yesterday morning we arranged a hotel shuttle to get us to the station so we could spend the day in Philly. It was at this point that we realised we had got off at the wrong station and we were taken to Paoli station which was slightly, but only slightly, bigger than Malvern station. There we chatted for ½ an hour with a woman who trained aspiring principals at a NJ university. She was very interested in our view of American principalship.

We ended up in Philly and taxied into the historical area of town where we had a late breakfast and then took the Duck Tour. We had a very entertaining guide but the whole thing was a bit rushed, but it was cool to boat down part of the Delaware River and learn quite a bit of history.

We then visited the Liberty Bell, wandered around the outside of Independence Hall (tours all booked out) and made our way to the City Tavern where Ben Franklin and George Washington and Abraham Lincoln had all supped beers. We decided to join them with Terry doing a fine impersonation of Benjamin Franklin.

It was time to head to the station to see if we could find Blue Bell where Faith's whanau are. We helped a guy load about 6-7 huge suitcases on to the train and were quite relieved to get away from him as he started talking about his missionary work. I was worried Terry was going to end up in some strange cult where he would be forced to take several wives and live a life of slothness.

40 minutes later we spilled out at Ambler where to our relief Scotty and his brother-in-law Chris, who looked remarkably like him!!!, were there to meet us. After picking up some beer and ice we ended up at Faith's in Blue Bell. What a great place, Farm cottage from the 1820s, Philladelphia barns and outhouses and heaps of welcoming people.

We started on some very nice cold beers and at 4.00pm the Korean pastor took us through practice twice, the first time word for word. Thankfully the other groomsman, Chris fro Boston, had a similar sense of humour to me so we threw a shoe at Terry so that he could bring us beers and food as we endured the practices.

It was great to meet Faith's Mum and Dad, Jean and Charlie, and several of her 8 brothers and sisters. It was also cool to catch up with Scott's Mum, Bev, and with his daughters, Kendra and Erin, all of whom were fitting in well with the McCrackens.

The family were very pleased with Faith and Scott and Faith's friends were also a great bunch. The hospitality is awesome and I know Terry, who has no connection with anyone here, has felt very welcome.

The two people who were organised to drive us the ½ hour home, Jamie (Faith's brother) and his wife Debbie, soon became obvious party animals who stayed to the end. It became clear that Jamie would be driving as Debbie was getting quite pissed while Jamie was only relatively pissed.

We finally bailed out some time after midnight and sped through the night only to be pulled up by a cop speeding through roadworks and picking up a $98 fine. We told him that in NZ he would have been breath tested and the fun would only just have begun. We got home safely at about 1.00am.

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