Greetings from Woodmere, Long Island ("or Lon Guyland" as pronounced by the Natives), NY.
We've had a fantastic time so far. We arrived on Sunday at JFK and were met by a cousin and then my parents. We went to the Woodbridge Beth Israel Cemetary to visit my Grandmother's newly erected tombstone, as well as pay respects to other members of the family.
The strangest thing happened when I was standing next to my beloved grandfather's grave. I was talking to him, when suddenly the sun appeared from nowhere and lit up the stone. I knew that there and then, he had answered me and we were one. It was an incredible moment which I shall never forget.
Dassi lightened the mood somewhat by going around, taking photographs of the families' stones and crowning the moment with a classic line: "I never knew that so much of our family tree was underground!"
We made our way to the Catskills mountains, staying in a resort called the Kutshers Country Club situated near Monticello. I have never seen the like of such a place - it was the size of a small country! We were fed incessantly, to the extent that I spent as much time as I could avoiding the mile long walk to the restaurant (Ok, I am exaggerating, but just a little).
Dassi made some new friends and had a grand time. I also met some really lovely people and we sat talking and shmoozing for most of the time. My only gripe was that the weather was a little cold but I suppose I shouldn't complain since we were in the mountains.
The drive down to NY was delightful, with the trees brimming in their full Fall spleandour, showing off colours I couldn't possibly try to describe. We passed places with names that are etched into my subconscious - West Point, Bethel (where Woodstock 1969 took place), Moncey and Yonkers.
And now, here we are in Woodmere and I type this whilst staying in the house of an old friend of my mother's, looking through the window at one such tree. Dassi is wide eyed and open mouthed, totally overwhelmed by what she's seen over the last four or so days. I can't believe that we've only been here since Sunday because it feels as though I've spent my entire life living in the States!
This is truly an incredible country and my love for everything American has only grown into genuine adoration. If my wife and kids were here right now, this would truly be paradise.
G-d bless America, land that I love. I wish I didn't have to leave!