Back when I went river rafting in Ecuador, about three months ago, I met three Italian guys, who live and who go to university here in Rome. Tonight, I managed to meet up and to have a reunion with two of them: my old mates Tom and Fede! Sadly, I couldn't meet up with Ben, as he's on exchange in Scotland at the moment. Anyway, the three of us managed to free ourselves up for this evening, and to catch up on old times. It was a bit of a struggle finding each other — it took us over an hour to spot each other at the Piazza Venezia in central Rome — but once that ordeal was over, we shared a few good beers, and had a few good laughs. Nice to see some old faces, here in this crazy new country that I'm visiting.
This morning, I just managed to fit in two things that I really wanted to do, before leaving London. I visited the British Museum — one of the largest museums in the world, holding some of history's most famous artifacts — and I caught up properly with Jack (as last night, the music and the beer were so good that we didn't have a chance). I'm very glad that I've done both those things: although really, one morning in the British Museum is a bit of a joke — you could wander around it for a week, and still only see a quarter of it.
It's been a looong time — over 6 months, in fact. During that time, we've both been reasonably lazy in keeping track of each other, and we've both made a few (failed) attempts to meet up. But now, finally, we've managed to successfully organise a reunion. Tonight, I met up with my mate Jack, whom I met back in Cusco, and with whom I went on that famous adventure, those many moons ago! Jack's one of the greatest people I've met on this trip, and it was good to see that he hasn't changed at all: it was totally sweet to see him again.
My uncle and aunt from back home in Sydney, Ivor and Manuela got into Boston late this evening. Like the rest of us, they're here for Adam's barmitzvah, as well as for the general family get-together surrounding it. And like my dad, this is the first time I've seen them, since leaving Sydney 8 months ago. "The other Epsteins" (as I sometimes call them) are in town for about a week, after which time they'll be going on a little road trip through the New England area.
A few days ago, I e-mailed my friend Moshe Weitzman (one of the people that I met at DrupalCon Sunnyvale, back in March), to let him know that I'd be coming to his home town of Boston soon. Well, as it turned out, the Boston Drupal Users' Group (Boston DUG) organised their monthly meetup for tonight! Moshe, of course, was nice enough to invite me along for the evening. So after finishing my jetlag duty today, I headed over to the Berkman Center at Harvard University, to meet and greet the Drupallers of the city of Boston, and to see what's going on Drupal-wise in this part of the world. Oh yeah — and also to catch up on the goss from (unfortunately it was too-far and too-bad-timing for me to attend) DrupalCon Barcelona, which took place about a month ago.
What can I say — he's my dad! And until today, I hadn't seen him for a ridiculously long time of 8 months, since I left Sydney back in February. This morning, my dad flew into Boston (after having a flight cancel on him, and getting stuck in LA for 12 hours), and we had a warm and heartfelt reunion. Like me, he's here for my cousin Adam's barmitzvah. And unlike me, he's not doing a crazy 12-month trip around the world: he's just on holiday for two weeks, and then he goes straight back to Sydney. It's very, very nice to see him again — as with all my family, I've missed him a lot during my time away from home.
The Goldsteins are my wonderful and adorable cousins who live here in Boston. Adam is 13, and is the star of the show for now — since it's his Barmitzvah on the weekend! Becca is 16, and is America's aspiring second female president (Hillary's gonna be the first, right? :P). Their "mom" (i.e. mum), Janine, is my Dad's first cousin, and was a professor at Boston's famous Harvard University for almost 10 years. And their dad, David, runs a software company here in the city. They're my favourite overseas cousins, and this is the first time I've seen them in seven years.
It's been seven years since I was last in New York City. During my previous visit, in September 2000, I went up the famous twin towers of the World Trade Center, and I admired the then-fabulous view from the 110th floor. Today, for visitors to New York — courtesy of a small but extremely cruel and misguided group of radical individuals — that is no longer possible. Instead, thousands of visitors every year make the "pilgrimage" to what is now known internationally as Ground Zero. Today, I became one of these pilgrims, as I returned to this most confronting and tragic of sites. And like everyone else, I went there to mourn, to show support, and to pray; but mainly, just to see what the world's most famous hole in the ground actually looks like, and what they're doing with it.
Yesterday, Chris, Oly and myself celebrated our re-uniting, with some burger munching and rugby watching. Today, the reunion party continued, with my first visit to one of the many fine parrillas (you should know this one by now, guys: it's a steak house!) in BA. We had a good 'ol gorge on some juicy, medium-rare dead cows. Need I mention ye obligatory bottle of red? Seeing as I was so deprived of steak in Bariloche, I think that this was massively overdue, and totally well-deserved :P.
It seems that wherever I go on this continent, I simply cannot get rid of the guy. When I walked into The Clan this morning, who should I meet yet again, but my old travel buddy Chris! Nah, actually I was really happy to see him — it's been a while since we parted, back in Lima, and plenty has happened in between. Chris will be in town for a few days, before he heads off to explore various other places in Argentina. Today was also a day of reunion with Oly, who I last saw not that long ago in Quito, and who's going to be down here in BA for the next few months, trying to get some freelance web design work. Plus, I bumped into various other people that I haven't seen for a while — such as one guy that I met back in La Paz, and another that I met in Cusco. Seems like all the '07 PEB veterans have come down to Argentina — time for a big reunion party!