Trip Start Dec 30, 2010
84Trip End Jul 06, 2011
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It takes around five hours for the Greyhound bus to navigate Independence weekend traffic before I arrive into South Station. I opt to catch a train and arrange to be picked up at the other end.
Noelle meets me at the train station and it's great to see her again. The last time I saw Noelle, she had a bun in the oven (or Short round as they called it) but she gave birth just a few weeks after little Easton was born. So, this will be the first time I meet Lucas Joseph MacKenzie. Noelle and I spent a few minutes catching up in the short drive to her house. I think most of the questions stemmed around couchsurfing and the experiences I had. It's strange, as I write this, I miss talking about those experiences I had during those few crazy weeks in North America.
At the house, it was great to see the boys again, all looking a little older and taller. So, Noelle has 4 boys, Owen, Ethan, Noah and little Lucas. Her husband David was preparing dinner and we all sit down to eat some delicious meat loaf. I hadn't spent as much time with Noah as compared to Owen and Ethan, but he was busy chatting away, telling me stories and particularly one funny one about little league baseball. Normally the adult coaches pitch as when the young kids pitch, they tend to hit the batter. Noah was telling me a story about how one little pitcher hit a batter and then cried because he felt bad for doing it. I also had sat to the left of me, Owen, who was recalling all the animals he had seen at his recent zoo visit. I have to admit, some I had never heard of before, and when I question what they are, he tells me what they look like and other characteristics.
Later that evening, we all go out to Plymouth sea front for some ice cream!! We go to a place called Ziggy's, hmmm, think I went for cookie dough in a cup with some 'hundreds n thousands' though in the US, they say 'sprinkles'. Noelle always finds it amusing the different saying and words the Brits use!! We wait outside Ziggy's while David orders a large bowl of something that took five minutes to prepare and included some cooked bananas as well. We eventually all eat the ice creams on Plymouth sea front. Just picture a British town sea front, when the weather is warm in the summer, add loads of mosquito's and bugs and you will be somewhere close to imagining Plymouth sea front.
As a treat, for my visit, back at the house, David let off some fireworks in the back garden. Sadly, I was terrible at trying to take a picture of the fireworks, I guess I'm not used to being so close to where they are lit.
It was a great evening and I sit and chat to Noelle and David when the boys have gone to bed. It's funny how many stories I've built up over a period of 6 months.
Noelle has a pull out sofa in their office and I enjoy a comfy night slight.
Day 180 July 2 - Today is actually Owens birthday. He turns 9 years old!! It's amazing how time flies as I'm sure I first met him was he was 3 years old, just about to turn 4. The family were spending the majority of the day in Plymouth as Ethan had a baseball game and then, when they got rid of me, they had hired a place on a beach for a week, so Owen would be celebrating his birthday later that evening. I did well to hold back the tears seeing as I would not be getting any cake!! But I did get some ice cream the night before.
Noelle went to the gym in the morning so I hung out with the boys. It's interesting watching a 9 year old, a 7 year old and a 4 year old take care of their 10 month old younger brother. Don't get me wrong, there were also two adults around as well, but I just loved watching the interaction. Of course little Lucas is keen to explore and put a variety of things in his mouth but the others take care of him. Bizarrely, I have a conversation with Owen about Star Wars, he's never seen the old films but knows all the characters and story lines from playing Star Wars Lego. An amazing memory! A little genius.
Later on that morning, I was taken to breakfast by Jill and her husband Allen. It's something I would never have imagined myself doing before I started my trip in December. Happily I am no longer in that dysfunctional place anymore, it was a pleasure to meet Allen and great to see Jill. Jill was also 13/14 weeks pregnant and her nephew, Noah, is hoping for a girl as there are too many boys in the family. It was great news to hear and I couldn't be more happy for her and Allen. I forget the name of the place they took me for breakfast, but it was very tasty. I do enjoy a good New England breakfast. We chat about their recent holiday and baby plans and I recommend some places they could travel to, even with the new addition to their family.
Time flew by and they dropped me back at Noelle's. Jill and Allen were heading to the beach house early while I was off to little league baseball to see Ethan play. Thankfully, they only play 3 innings. As an example of how encouraging the coaches are, no-one leaves home plate until they've hit the ball. One kid must have been there ten minutes. Now, I blame the poor overarm technique from the coach who was pitching. His own team mates cheered him on, even David went out to help the little guy with his batting stance. It was painful to watch after a few minutes, let alone ten minutes. The comparison, would be someone who can't time kicking a football. But all credit to the young lad, he stood there, took pitch after pitch, and eventually he hit one!! It was fun seeing a little league game and seeing Mr cool Ethan, chewing his baseball gum, with his cool hair cut etc etc.
Noelle and Jill's mum Judy came to watch as well with her partner John. It was nice to catch up with her, she was asking about my time in Belize and about how she has family there, and crazily, on the Isle of Wight as well.
Owen kept himself busy reading Harry Potter (and the Goblet of Fire) and Noah kept himself busy playing in some nets with others lads that were there.
When the game finished, we headed back to Noelle's briefly, where I got to spend a little more time with Lucas. I feel more comfortable around babies now after my time in Canada, so it was fun holding Lucas comfortably and even being cheeky enough to throw him up a few times and rest his feet on my head!!
Again, time just flies by and it wasn't long before I was saying goodbye to Noelle and her family as I boarded the Plymouth Brockton bus to Boston Logan airport for my evening flight to Reykjavik.
It was great to see Noelle and her family. I feel lucky to have friends in different parts of the USA and know that I'm always welcome there. Usually there is cake, maybe next time!! I'm glad I also got to see Jill and her husband Allen.
So, I had a few hours to kill at Logan airport. I watched a couple of episodes of Extras, grabbed some food and with my last few dollars, picked up a book for the future.
Next stop, Reykjavik in the early hours.