We got an email over Christmas break that the Children's Director from Jess's SWI would be coming to the US with 3 other people. Of course the day they were coming closest to MA was the Friday after we started back to school. I took a personal day and took Jason out of school so we could drive to NJ. Mike couldn't get the day off so he wasn't able to come. We got to NJ in good time and went swimming at the hotel pool. We didn't stay at the same hotel as the visitors because there was no pool there. We got lost finding it and got stuck in Prudential Center traffic in Newark but, since I'm anal about being on time and left really early, we got to their hotel right on time. We saw Debbie, Audrey and Bea (Bea comes from the same SWI as Jess and our families had traveled together last year) in the lobby. We checked with the front desk and were told that the travel company they're with usually doesn't check in until around 9. We'd been told they'd be there at 7. I had tried calling the translator's number I'd been given but he'd had no idea what I'd been talking about. The front desk staff weren't very busy so they called the tour company for us and got us connected with the new translator. We were told they'd be there in 20 minutes which was a relief. I had no idea what I was going to do if they weren't coming until really late; I hated to think I'd driven all that way with the kids for nothing. We went to the lounge to eat and as soon as we'd ordered, they came. They seemed very happy to see the kids and asked lots of questions through their translator. Jess was less than pleased about anyone but me trying to hold her. After a while, she did relax and hugged the director's legs but she still didn't want to be picked up. We visited for about an hour and a half. They gave us a bracelet that the children in the SWI had made, a pair of chopsticks, and a dvd about Jinan and the SWI. The next day, I took the kids to Ellis Island and to the Statue of Liberty before heading home. I didn't know that the Statue was not on Ellis Island but rather on its own island. Jason was disappointed that you can't actually climb into the statue anymore but simply climb the pedastal. I was fine with that since I'm terrified of heights. On the ferry back from the Statue to where we left out car, Jess passed out. It was a very long drive home but we'd had a good time.
The kids enjoying the pool. The water wasn't very warm so Jess didn't want to go in further than the 2nd step which was fine with me.
The kids dressed and ready to go for the meeting in our hotel lobby.
The director with Jess right after she first came in.
Jess and me with the director's boss. I'm not sure what her title is.
On the ferry from NJ to Ellis Island. It was COLD on the water!!!
Jess wouldn't go near the huge body parts.
Picture of Lady Liberty taken from the ground.
Ferry ride back to the car. Jess is bushed!!