June 30

New York City Adventuring —

I left my house around 8 am. I drove up the parkway and ended up in the adorable town (at least the part I could see) of South Amboy by 10. I caught the 10:40 train into Penn Station, NY we arrived at 11:30ish. On this warm hazy New York summer day, I walked past the Chrysler Building, and the New York Public Library main branch. I walked into Grand Central Terminal and took a 360 degree photo for Google Maps (you can check it out on Google Maps or Google Street View). I ended up at the Consulate of Brazil at 12:30, an hour and a half before they opened. I figured I would just make sure it was where I thought it was and go do some more touristy rubbernecking until 2:00 when they opened. But when I got to the Consulate there was ALREADY A LINE for getting visas.

So I got in line and waited. Thankfully it was in the shade. Now, yesterday I checked and double checked and made sure I had everything I needed for this process. I had two of everything just in case. One website said I needed a black and white photo so I took one and a color one. I have two versions of my itinerary, I had a copy of my drivers license, anything and everything I might need. I handed her the copy with the B&W photo. It “We need a color photo.” I handed her the other copy of the paperwork with the color photo. “This color photo wasn’t on high enough quality paper.” really?… So, she sent me down the street to CVS to get another photo. $14 and a half hour later, I head back up to the consulate. The line is no longer out the door, but there is still one inside. I was very glad she told me to skip the line and go right to the front when I get back. She took all of the other paperwork, but… “Our computer system is down, so you cannot get your visa today. You have to leave your passport hear and pick it up on Wednesday at the earliest.” I walked out of there at 3:45 with a passport receipt in my hand, trying to figure out how I wanted to deal with coming all the way back up here again.

I was frustrated and hot and tired so walking into a library right after that might have been the best choice I’ve ever made. And what a library I walked into. After about 20 minutes there I thought about moving to NY just so this could be my local library, for a hot second. Then I remembered everything outside of those walls and thought better of it. After walking through two small art exhibits, I sat in a reading room, pulled out my worship team journal that I use for writing songs and poems. I wrote a few lines and prayed. After fully calming down and getting comfortable enough to close my eyes for a few seconds, I got up and walked around some of the other reading rooms. I found huge portraits, walls of books, and ceiling that are so beautiful, when you look up at them… “Doesn’t that ceiling just make you want to cry?”

After leaving the library, I didn’t have much energy left so I headed to Penn Station, stopping by 42nd and Broadway for a street sign picture. At the station, which is now under/inside Madison Square Garden, BTW, I got a smoothy and a wrap and headed down to my train platform. The train had just arrived so I was one of the first people in. I’m glad I was, as the train filled up quickly and many people had to stand. I was going to one of the last stops and most people were getting off at the first three, most at Newark Airport. After a longer ride than the one up to New York, I got off the train at South Amboy.

I walked back to my car, set my navigation, and hit the road. At the third turn my directions told me to “Keep left” in an intersection with several options, so I didn’t make the turn left, but took the ramp to my left instead. It was the wrong choice. Now usually navigation will just get you to turn around at the next available stop and get back to the normal directions. This was what I wanted. The parkway would have literally been the last road I needed for directions, as it would be the last road before my own (150something miles away), but instead it took me straight across the state all the way over to 295 and down 55. It was insane, but after my little session of writing and praying I had let go of being upset with things I couldn’t control and enjoyed the ride, passing very close to two of my favorite families, symbolically waving to each. The ride was only an extra 45 minutes and I was in no rush to get home; the ride was uneventful, a good thing in Fourth of July traffic from Philly to the shore. And so I arrived home a little after 9pm. A long, but overall successful day. And I get to do it all again next week.

Today’s joy is adventuring in the Big Apple.

Stories, not atoms

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