This is my 21 year old son Ben, and it has been a very big day for him and us (my husband and me), because today we put him on a plane to South Africa. By tomorrow sometime, after 17 hours of airtime and more in airports, he'll arrive in Capetown, and then head to Stellenbosch University where he'll be for 6 weeks participating in an internship program that will have him working in the local community. After that, he'll have another 2 weeks for some travel and adventure including a safari, and then finally he'll be on a plane from Johannesburg on his way home again. He'll be home for a few short weeks and then back to his senior year of college. Ben, if you happen to take a peek at my blog here, I hope you don't mind my posting this story!This photo above is Ben and his buddy Kevin, at our "camp" on Loon Lake in the Adirondacks (that's local terminology - you may call it a cottage or a lake house or a summer home).
The photo was taken on Thanksgiving, and for the two of them, building giant constructions with Legos until the wee hours of the morning has become an annual event. You are never too old to play with Legos! :-)
Here's Ben on a drive through the Berkshires (in Western Massachusetts) on his way to Boston with his girlfriend this March.
Our trek to the airport to send Ben to South Africa was an event in itself. He flew out of JFK International Airport in New York City, which is a drive of about 4 to 5 hours from here in the Adirondack foothills, depending on traffic.
So yesterday I took the day off of work, and away we all went. Driving to The City (that's what everyone calls NYC, or The Big Apple) is no piece of cake - lots of traffic and aggressive drivers; bridges and highways to choose from, and we were very glad to arrive. I much prefer country roads. (But we do love the City.)
Ben had made plans to meet up with his girlfriend for dinner and evening, as she is in Manhattan for the summer, and decided to get there via subway once we'd checked into our hotel near the airport. (Again, for those of you not familiar, the airport is in Queens, which is at the beginning of Long Island. Manhattan is actually an island, and the traffic is horrific and terrifying. The drive of just a short number of miles could take hours with typical city construction and traffic etc. There is no way we would drive there.) Ben knows his way around the subway system and we were told the subway ride could take about 45 minutes.
Well, instead, it took him about 2 hours in each direction, between closed subway stops and bus transfers and shuttle buses going to the wrong dropoff, and making train connections. His cell phone battery was low and I couldn't reach him when he was late returning; I admit I was more worried about him getting back to the hotel safely than I am about the flight.
So off he is, and and we've successfully navigated the trek back home, been welcomed by the kitty, and have 8 weeks to relax before we have to make the drive again to collect Ben from the airport. By the time I do my next blog posting I should know that he's arrived safely. Hopefully South Africa will be the adventure of a lifetime for him.
By the way - thinking as an art teacher - Ben's a camera buff so I expect to see lots of pictures. I'm personally planning several awesome Africa art projects next year, of course.
Postscript, two days later.... He's arrived, safe and happy. Can you sense the stress just POURING out of every pore of this momma's body? I'm a happy gal!