Hi you. It’s funny, I was listening to my dad answering the phone and my mom being on the other end calling from the office, and he says “hi you” or “hey you” pretty much the exact same way that I do. I wonder who got it from whom. Presumably me from him. So, I’m here. Sitting in my room. I have a bulletin board on my desk, and a photocopy of our strip of photo booth photos is the one thing that I’ve tacked up to it. It makes me smile. I have the orange and red sari hanging up in my window as a curtain, and it’s lovely. An elephant painting that friends in India gave me hangs on the wall, and the book shelves already have an assortment of books arranged on them. And of course, a photo of my family from several years back and the one of you and me on the bus after our trek in Nepal. Smile. So a bunch of my most important people and places are present here. It’s a good feeling.
My room is a large one, about as big as the living room we slept in in Kathmandu. There’s a walk-in closet, leaded windows (three arched windows to one wall looking across the alley at the Unitarian Universalist Church), a radiator, fan, two lamps, a single bed, two bookshelves, a desk, bedside table, comfy chair, and a dresser. And I had to move things around a bit to get the room to not feel empty. Wry smile. I’m eager to get more things on the walls and the rest of my boxes all unpacked. I managed to forget some basic things like a pillow and blanket. Wry smile. Ah well.
It’s so fun to be here with my mom! It’s like memory lane central for her – where she went to 8th grade, high school until she dropped out, grad school, where she met and married my dad, where we lived right after Mandla was born (when I was 3 for about 3 months or so), where we lived when I was 10 for 8 or 9 months and then now where her daughter is going to graduate school. My room is just across the hall katy-corner to the room she lived in.
We went to dinner at a place that she’s always liked called Salonica’s (we shared a Spanacopita (sp?) and Greek Salad) and afterwards stopped by the home of the father of a dear childhood friend of hers. He’s in his 90s and pretty deaf, but the lights were on, so we went up the steps and knocked despite it being lateish. Ana looked in, and she could see this man, Ed, asleep in his chair with a book on his lap. We called and knocked anyway, and he woke up and continued reading, but didn’t bother looking out the door. And we’re there yelling and yelling and calling out to him, and it just cracks me up. So now my mom’s calling, “Ed!!! HELLO! It’s ANA! HI ED!” and he’s sitting inside where we can see him reading away and not looking up at all, and I’m in stitches laughing at this point, practically wetting my pants. And Ana’s laughing now too. And it’s just too funny. Grin. We figured out that the screen in the door just popped open, so we opened the door and went right in. We ended up having a lovely visit. Ed is an avid reader (he was reading a large Steven King book) and a collector of everything (a hoarder by self-identification, in fact), and his house is simply a museum. He lent us a hammer and gave us the two nails that he found after 10 or so minutes of looking. We’ll see him again on Sunday. Anyway, it’s pretty fun altogether. I’m a bit nervous about the Hebrew, to say the least. I guess I just need to get my rear in gear, so to speak. There’s an introductory meeting/dinner whatever on Sunday and then classes start on Monday. Sounds fun, no? Whew!
It sounds like there is no dirth of things for you to be thinking about back in Vermont. Whether it’s house or land or classes or money. Yes, it does often seem that when it rains, it pours. And exciting about Jess going to Nepal. I’m sure the info you’re sending her is getting her excited, and she’ll use it (or not) as is appropriate for her. I can understand the sense of wanting to return there vicariously. And also what you talk about in terms of being from Somewhere Else, how this often comes with social barriers here in the United States and how it doesn’t seem to in our experiences in Nepal, this resonates so strongly with me. I remember in Kalimpong how part of why I felt so much at home was because of how obviously foreign I was. This is a part of who I am, and now in a lot of ways, who you are. I mean, you’ve grown up in New York AND Vermont and in some ways that makes you fully OF neither place. Especially after your experiences in India and Nepal (and Montana and New Mexico, I dare say).
And yes, sometimes when we are SO obviously outsiders it does become a non-issue; people no longer expect us to GET it or know exactly how things work, and it’s okay, because we’re from somewhere else. Yes, we will be back there soon enough. We could even be back this summer if that’s what we want to do. It’s an option, a choice. Might as well leave it in the mix. Grin. Along with all our other adventures. I love how many we’re already scheming. I was talking to my dad and sharing how you and I had talked about going somewhere to learn Spanish, and I just can’t get over how incredible it is to be with someone, to be with you, and have you be so excited about this sort of thing and to know how FUN it would be and that you would engage with it in a way that would make sense to me, in a way very similar to the way I would engage with it. Smile. It makes me happy.
And yes, you will be hearing about all the folks here, lots I’m sure. And Hebrew. It sounds like I’m going to be averaging 7-9 hours of Hebrew a day between class time and expected homework/study time. Yikes!!!! It’s a little more intensely academic than anything I’ve done in quite a while. Grin. Anyway, the point is to learn. That’s what I’m here for. I am still however, getting my brain shifted here. Oh, and I’m going to begin right away looking into apartments and places for us to live in the spring. I think you will enjoy the intellectual community here and the city (it’s HUGE!!!). You’ll have some opportunities to explore it before you make your way out here to live.