Dear fellow followers,
It’s been a little over a week since I’ve written my last blog…so some of you may think that I’m not alive because you’re used to seeing 3 blogs in one day. But good news, I’m alive and better than ever! My family came into town on January 2nd, so I’ve been squeezing in as much time as possible with them. I hadn’t seen my parents or two brothers since I left for Benin in August, so, as you may have guessed, I had never been so excited to see my family in my entire life:
It started with a phone call from my dad, telling me that they had arrived at the hotel. Immediately after I hung up, I grabbed my backpack (filled with Christmas presents for them), said “see you later” to my friends, and headed off the ship to Hotel Pelinor. Now, it takes a good 30 minutes to walk from the Mercy Ship to the end of the dock, then 10 more minutes to get to the hotel…and my heart was beating fast the entire time because I was so excited to see the family. And as you can tell from the picture, they were very excited to see me too. Mom and Dad both had tears in their eyes & I can’t even tell you how many hugs and kisses I got from everyone.
I got to show them around town a little bit and we found lots of fun restaurants to eat at. It was a little strange being able to lead my family around Tenerife, when usually I follow them because I have no idea where I’m going.
Now, as you’ve probably noticed from the majority of my pictures, I don’t get dressed up all that much. But because my lovely mother is so thoughtful, she brought me some clothes from home & I got to get all dressed up in “real” clothes again. It was really nice…and I could even see my knees!
One of the most memorable nights was when my “family” from Mercy Ships & my real family got to meet each other. Both sides have been hearing stories about the other, so it was nice that they finally got to meet one another and put faces with the names. And as I expected, they all got along very well. We all enjoyed coffee, then dinner, then ice cream together. I don’t think a smile left my face the whole night…it just felt unreal to have two groups of people that mean so much to me finally meet. And by the end of the night, everyone was messing around like they had known each other for years.
The next day I got to show my family where I’ve been living the past four months. I showed them the dining room (where I worked for 3 months), the Operating Rooms (where I was trained and will be working soon), and I got to make them coffee at Starbucks (where I’m working now). They also got to see my room, eat a meal in the dining hall, and (thanks to Pete Johnson) see the engine room & bridge…which most crew members don’t even get to see! Along with all of that, I got to introduce them all to a lot of my friends…I’ve never been so proud to show off my family : ) It’s weird, but most people seem to forget that everyone has a different life back home…so in a way, it was kind of a reality check.
After I was done working, I took my three vacation days that I get for the 8 months that I’m here, and headed off the ship with my mom, dad, and two brothers! We had tons of fun just walking around town, eating at different restaurants, and traveling all over the island. One of the first things we did was go to the local park (picture on left). But as far as that goes, you’ll have to read the next blog…