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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Check-in from NYC

thOur eldest has spent the last five days in New York City and is about one-third through his trip. Naturally, I’ve received about three photos total of him since he’s been there and it’s hard to argue for anything more since their group is not allowed to be on the phone or texting more than a minute or two each day. I had expected around a dozen a day as the bare minimum….

They relay-raced on the subway to top Jewish markets, each mini-group buying ingredients for dinner. We glimpse a pic of patrons at the deli counter, but no Petya.

“Who won?” his father asks.

“The first team,” he texts back.

“Of course the first team won,” I shake my head. “What—would the last team win?”th

His father chuckles. Texts are hard to translate when written on the fly.

Another boy in the group is from Russia, Aaron, who speaks a bit of Russian, but not as much as Petya. They’re both 18 and chat together some. All of the kids know their prayers in Hebrew.

empire-state-building-18They’re staying in the shadow of the Empire State Building. I hear that the guys and girls are headed across the river for a cookout one night and he sends us a spectacular photo of Manhattan’s skyline on the other bank.

“Take a group photo, please,” I text back, but by then, they’re off on another adventure, going till almost midnight each evening in studies and service projects, and rising around 6:00 am. I get a couple of pics of other young people grouped here or there. No Petya.

My big guy is tired, but texts each day, “Good morning, Mama and Papa!”

At least I know he’s alive on Planet Earth. Yet, without a photo, he could be in Zimbabwe, for all I know.

“Going to Ellis Island today.”

“My grandparents – your great-grandparents – landed there and kissed the ground…” I type.Statue-f-Liberty

Within a couple of hours, a pic of Lady Liberty looms large on my phone. I sneak to text him back during my own busy conference.

“Looks fab. GROUP PHOTO pls!” I send back. “Or YOUR photo.”

Within five minutes, there they are, about 15 or so of the group, right at the base of the statue.

newyork_2716896bAt last I see him. Petya. I enlarge the photo and study him. He seems fine. His hair is messed up in a way that would look neat for most guys, but a little wild for him. He still looks good. I stifle myself from saying anything and just comment that they all look great. He’s wearing a shirt that was not on the packing list… he has strange sunglasses that are not his normal prescription ones… and I wonder if he can even see the Statue of Liberty.

Trying. to. let. go.

I say only complimentary things and he preempts anything else with, “I was wearing a cap for the thboatride, I’ll fix my hair, gel in backpack.”

LOL, love that guy.

“Take selfies,” I instruct.

“Have fun,” his father inserts.

“Come home soon,” are my parting words and we all exchange LOLs.

To which he responds, “Miss you guys. Love you.”

My big man in the city. That was our two-minute interaction for today.

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