Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Big Apple

Hubby and I went to New York City for a vacation with my parents and sisters. Before heading to NYC, my family came and worked at the farm for a few days. I am so incredibly blessed to have the family I do. They all gave up their vacation days to get dirty here on the farm. We built 10 raised garden beds, hauled and shoveled numerous truck beds full of dirt, built a brick patio/retaining wall and got things generally cleaned up. I cant say thank you enough for all their hard work. We are super excited about the raised beds, and they are already nearly full. On Wed, we all took the train up to the City. We left the farm in the capable hands of my friend, N.
I am also amazed at how much we were able to do in our short visit to the city. We saw two broadway plays- Wicked and The Lion King. Our hotel room overlooked time square. We took a bus tour of the city (twice), visited Ground Zero, saw Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty and walked around Central Park. All that, and we managed to go to the filming of The Today Show on my mom's birthday!
I could go on and on about what we did and saw during our four days in NYC. Hubby and I took a tour of the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island on our own. I remember as a child visiting Ellis Island and being awestruck. The feeling hasnt changed much now that I am an adult. I can not explain how it feels to stand in the same building that every immigrant came through so very very long ago. Looking at the pictures at Ellis Island of the masses of immigrants barely gives us a peek into how it really was. I can't imagine leaving my country, my home, my family, to travel across a huge ocean only to arrive in a place where they speak another language. To then be inspected by doctors and not know what they are looking for. I can't imagine having my whole family pass inspections, save for one person. What would it be like to have to send a relative back to my home country, never to see or hear from them again? And if we all passed through, what then? Where would we go? What would we do. What would I pack on such a voyage? Special china? doubtful. Heirloom quilts and linens? maybe. I can not imagine starting from scratch in a new world. At the same time I think it would be exciting. Not to know what lays ahead. America, land of the free. Where a person could do anything they wanted. Standing in the middle of the Registry Room on Ellis Island, you can still feel that hope today. Closing my eyes, I could hear the whispering, the clanking of luggage, the frantic cries of scared babies. I could feel the awe that immigrants felt when coming to the end of their trip. Greeted by the Statue of Liberty, calling out "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" Can you feel it too?

The tour of Ellis Island ended at the gift shop (typical). We couldnt resist buying a cookbook and childs story book (I am a sucker with a capital "S" for childrens books with good illustrations). Back home in Maryland now, I am anxious to try some of the recipies from oh-so-long-ago. Perhaps it will help me feel connected, with each bite I hope to feel what they did. Hope, Relief, Awe. After all, this is America, and I am proud to call it my home.

1 comment:

  1. What an opportunity! So glad you could do this.