I’m sitting in my new room in Chicago having moved into it somewhat – I’ve set my computer up and hooked up to the internet; I have my bed made and my bedside table set up with photos, a lamp, some books and so forth. I am also beginning to set out books and photos and things like that. I want to keep the connection to Nepal strong in my room. I had bought, during my last few days in Kathmandu, a fairly cheap cotton blend orange saari with a red floral design on it and it fits perfectly in my windows, and just makes my room beautiful! You know how I love things bright and cheery! The room is big – probably as big as your living room that I shared with Jon in Bhat Bhateni. I’m not quite sure what to do with all of this space. Perhaps I will look into having a double bed instead of a single one; we shall see.
My trip. Jon’s family’s place in Vermont is idyllic – it’s an old house on beautiful property with flowers (many many many day lilies among others) all around it and a vegetable garden off to the side. Raspberry bushes produce like crazy and the apples ripen on the tree at the edge of the woods. The neighbors are close enough to walk to and far enough that you do not see their houses from Jon’s.
The house itself is full of character and history. It wraps you in it, the smell of the wood, the peeling paint or in some rooms the brightness of the fresh paint, the mismatched chairs, the windows, the porch that curls around the front of the house, the paintings and pictures on the walls, they all beckon you, invite you in and then embrace you in their comfort. I loved it!!!! Despite having been around for a long time, Jon’s family has managed not to clutter the house, so it has all this history without the chaos and clutter that sometimes goes with age and history. I think, too, that Jon and Rachel (his mum) have worked hard over the last few years to clean up the house, to fix the bathroom upstairs so that you want to sit in the claw-foot bathtub and gaze out the window or read a book all day, with the scent of the wooden rafters in your nose. You wake up in the downstairs bedroom, and the light is soft and warm on the fresh paint.
We managed to drive out to the White Mountains and visit the camp up there that I attended for many summers, albeit intermittently, a place that is very much one of my homes in the world. And we hiked Mt. Madison, our excursion blessed by the siting of an absurdly tame little bird known as a saw-whet owl, not bigger than your two fists atop each other. It just watched us with its eyes, big and round under a flying-seagull-of-white-eyebrow. Somehow it managed to look both adorable and incredibly wise. You can see why they’re associated with wisdom, the intellect and learning. Let’s see. My visit to Vermont also included meeting up with Ben Ayers, which was lovely, visits with some of Jon’s elderly neighbors, getting lost in a corn maze, much cooking (or assisting with cooking or simply being cooked for) and eating delicious food. We also did a little bit of hiking and of course some swimming in Vermont. So it was pretty busy and wonderful.
Then Jon and I took the train to New York (all day train) and met up with his friend Toby, who’s pretty darn hilarious! The three of us enjoyed incredible food and each others’ company and conversation. The next day, Jon and I visited his father, walked through Central Park a little bit then met up with a couple of Jon’s friends. The four of us hung out in Queen’s and ate INCREDIBLE Nepali food – I inhaled that food and was able to eat more than I usually would have in Nepal. It just tasted SO good!!!! Grin. Jon and I managed to catch a little bit of live jazz before heading back to Jon’s apartment and going to bed just to wake up VERY early the next morning to catch a plane to San Francisco. Our flight was WAY overbooked, so we took a delay that got us on a non-stop flight together the whole way (as opposed to having a layover in Salt Lake City and then different flights from Salt Lake to San Fran), plus we got bumped to business class (score!) and we each got a $400 voucher for tickets on Delta (double score – now we can see each other this fall without going completely broke). We did have a LONG day at JFK waiting for our next flight, but it was totally worth it.
We spent that first night with my aunt Amy and Uncle Frank just outside of SF and then the next day had brunch with one of my best friends and her girlfriend after which Jon’s pal Chris picked us up and took us to Half Moon Bay. Jon had never swum in the Pacific Ocean, so of course we all did, and the waves just whaled on us! I must have gone home with about 1/2 lb of sand in my bathing suit, hair and orifices. Grin. It was wonderful!!!! We spent the next few days hanging out with Jon’s friend Chris and another high school/college/Ayurveda school friend Dave. And one of my bffs, Shawnrey, came and hung out with us also. Oh! And in there somewhere between my aunt’s and Dave’s we lost the bag with all of Jon’s clothes, so he was now clothes-less – oops! And we have no idea what happened to the bag, it just disappeared.
Anyway, this is getting epic….