United States of America

Exploring Myrtle Beach and Charleston

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” (Galatians 5:13)

Hello again! This week I have had so many new experiences that it is hard to keep up with. And since the main reason for starting this blog was to keep everyone at home updated (hi mom!), I will try to keep the updates short this time. So here we go!

Thursday, July 4th

Happy Independence Day America! I’d been looking forward to this day every since I arrived in the US and it did not disappoint! On Thursday morning Silvia, Raquel and I drove for about two hours to spend our first Fourth of July at Myrtle Beach, where we would meet up with OM’er Sarah and her friend Skyler. We had a nice, greasy lunch in a super American restaurant called River City Cafe and watched the anual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in New York. I was in awe to see this year’s winner eat 71 hotdogs in 10 minutes. Oh, America… After that Silvia, Raquel and I went to the beach to let our hard-working bodies rest for a while. Honestly, I have never swum in such warm sea water. I could have stayed there all day! Later in the afternoon we headed back to Broadway on the Beach, which is a giant amusement park with all sorts of little shops and other fun things to do. It was really nice to see how Americans celebrate their biggest holiday and to spend some time with the locals. We also got to attend the ‘ball drop tradition’, where they put about 200 beach balls in a big net and then cut the net on the count of three, letting the balls drop in the crowd. It was a fun thing to experience because the whole street was kicking and hitting the balls back into the air (and trying to get hold of a beach ball). After a long and exciting day we drove back ‘home’, with a head full of new memories.

Drinking Argentinian ‘mate’ at the beach!
50 shades of blue?
The ball-drop tradition

Sunday, July 7th

After two days of basically doing nothing – I still can’t drive – we had a new exciting day ahead! Ex-OM’er Peter invited us to come to Charleston with him, which is something he does every time a new volunteer arrives. Of course we said yes! Some interesting things to know about Charleston: during the colonial era King Charles II of England, Ireland and Scotland founded Charleston (formerly known as Charles Town), and brought over shiploads of people from the British colonies of Bermuda and Barbados, to inhabit the settlement. Later on immigrants from France, Germany, Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands brought more slaves from these islands and from Africa, making Charleston into a wealthy city that was mainly due to the slave trade. Charleston is also the oldest and biggest city in South Carolina and because of its rich history and monumental houses, the city still contains a lot of colonial influences.

But we could not start our Sunday in Charleston without going to church first! Peter took us to the Citadel Square Baptist Church where we met some really nice people and we had a great service about Saul and Samuel. After the service we had a little picknick in the park and then Peter took us on a walking tour through the beautiful city of Charleston. We got to know all sorts of little fun facts about Charleston! Some examples: in 1718 there were actual pirates walking around in the city when pirate Blackbeard besieged the city for several days (he really existed!), the symbol of the city is a pineapple which stands for hospitality and many of the Founding Fathers who signed the Declaration of Independence are burried in Charleston. We walked around the city in the scorching heat for several hours and saw some dolphins hanging out at the bay before heading to Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q for a nice family-style barbeque. I will not only remember this day for visiting the beautiful town that is Charleston but also because it was the day ‘we’ lost the World Cup… against the USA… which I could not see because I was in church…

One of the ‘pirate houses’ in downtown Charleston
The beautiful landmark promenade along the Ashley River
Hanging out at the bay with Peter, Raquel, Sarah and Silvia.

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