Argo is a fantastic movie. It’s hard for me to imagine a better beginning to my week than by seeing it for the first time. The dreaded flight had suddenly become a six hour cinema seis. I was loving it and not even in America yet.
Another epiphany of happiness would overtake me before we landed as the New York City skyline sprung into view. I’m sorry to tell you that you unless you have been been I won’t be able to relate to the overwhelming awe at its sheer scale. It is bigger than you think. After a quick photo op and a Delbarton goodie bag, we were on the short drive from the airport through to Morristown, New Jersey where we would set up camp for the next three and a half weeks. The homemade cuisine and warm welcomes of our hosts couldn’t have made us feel more at home.
Day two began with a bagel breakfast. Thanks to an early night, a result of the flight, we were up good and early for our tour of Morristown. The weekend was spent visiting the mall, Delbarton campus, Fort Nonsense, the wonders of Walmart, historical Jockey Hollow, and, most notably, Five Guys (burger and fries). We were also lucky enough to take part in the ritual of American football rivalry weekend with none other than the Abbot of St Mary’s himself and plates of homemade cookies.
The spirit of the States must have smiled upon us as we were gifted an extraordinary two day snow weekend extension. Perfect timing to take advantage of the American Netflix and dispel that last bit of jet lag.
When Wednesday did roll around I must say that I was impressed with Delbarton. Glenstal could learn a thing or two. WiFi on all day, unlimited desserts, daily free period, hoodies, soft drink dispenser, and despite having double the students it had half the lunch line thanks to more staggering. Not to mention the frighteningly hospitable students and staff. However, credit to Glenstal, a slightly more organised atmosphere in Delbarton would make me hesitant to swap it.
The week climaxed for me last night when we all met up with Fr. Denis at a New Jersey Devils hockey game. The crowd was loud. It came complete with a brawl in the first period and close penalties in the last. The completely overblown animations of the massive screen, Star Wars night aesthetic and unlimited supply of chicken goujons in our private box gave the night a very classy American feel.
With only a week gone by and New York City and the Statue of Liberty set for the weekend I’m optimistic for the remainder of this trip. The extreme hospitality, culture and American delicacies being the standout aspects so far. I could get very used to this.