Let me now employ the assistance of the proverbial thousand words that pictures paint, to help me unpack. Here are pics of the people–with anecdotes, of course–that made my first visit to the US exceedingly memorable. Thanks to you all!
United Colors of Christian Publishing. The awesome men and women I spent two weeks with attending the International Christian Publishing Institute in Colorado Springs. Together we learned, laughed, ate (a lot!), prayed, and played. Missing you all. (This pic taken after a hearty Mexican dinner served with live Mexican rondalla(?) music.)
Proud to be Pinoy! The first time (after my brother’s wedding 13 years ago) that I wore a barong. Not exactly the perfect weather for it, hence the coat. With me, from far right: Tarun (Bangladesh) told about how God worked a miracle in his family; Nikolai (Bulgaria) is an engaging conversationalist who claims his English isn’t good, but I disagree; Roman (Russia, now in US) brims with ideas and ideals that will definitely bring him to places.
The NY Subway with K.Fernan. I think he won’t mind if I divulge that he’s 40, because he definitely doesn’t look it at all! That’s Kuya Fernan, a former officemate now based in NY. This pic taken during my first subway ride on my first night in New York City. Behind us is the map of the famed NY subway, a crazy yet efficient labyrinth of trainssss that I dared not venture on my own. The next day, we took the subway again, this time with my luggage–on rush hour! Imagine the stares we got. An irate passenger, a huge black man, standing right behind me exclaimed, “Step on mah foot, and am gonna put it in yoh face!” Gulp. Thankfully the threat was not addressed to me. Had a great time, Kuya Fernan! Super thanks, superduperdude! Next time I’ll come in the summer! Hehe.
In the company of scientists. Gelo and Cathy, research techs at NYU Hospital and friends from college, made NY seem like home to me 🙂 Gelo let me crash his apartment (love the sofa bed!), lent me his sneakers when my climacool ones got soaked in slush, accompanied me for last-minute pasalubong shopping (even if my list included lipstick!), breezed me through NY streets, buses, and trains! Cathy patiently fetched me when I got “lost” in Manhattan, even drew a map for me when I decided to walk around Manhattan one day, dipped my hand in wax just for the fun of it, let me view cells harvested from the nether regions of infant male anatomy (go figure!)… and many more! Thanks, pwens, for making my NY stay a blast! 🙂 Hi to Mare and Esteban! (“Stole” this pic from Gelo’s blog.)
Too much good stuff, Rhea! On easter weekend, I took the train from New York to Washington, DC. I wanted to stay awake the entire three hours so I can appreciate the landscape. But since I got only an hour’s sleep the night before, I snoozed through most of the train ride. But I was glad I rested in the train because I would definitely need lots of energy for the fun Rhea had cooked up for me when I reached DC! Museums galore 🙂 We even went to the Capitol, the Library of Congress (this pic), the White House (a long peek through the fence), the Lincoln monument. Even had the opportunity to meet the awesome people from Rhea’s church caregroup. Great experiences all! But, Rhea, I enjoyed our talks the most. Your life is a compelling invitation to worship God, kapatid! Keep blooming where you have been providentially planted.
With Da Man! Easter Sunday, I went to church with Rhea at Covenant Life Church in Maryland. Guess who the senior pastor is? (Besp, it’s none other than the man we loved to “hate” in college! Hehe. By the way, that’s a compliment.) Joshua Harris, author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye and, more recently, Not Even A Hint and Stop Dating the Church, spoke about Paul and his encounter with the Lord on the road to Damascus. Nothing fancy or phony about his speaking style. More meat and heart, less theatrics. Which is very good, in my humble opinion. After church and after I sheepishly posed for this pic (“Hi Josh, we publish your books in the Phiippines.”), Rhea and some friends from her care group took me to Flowerhill Starbucks, the place where Joshua did most of his writing 🙂
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*Yawn* Tap dancer needs to hit the pillows soon. Next time, “The Album of Places.”