To Alden (part 2)

this is getting epic…

Some highlights from the Bay Area were a lunch at Chez Panisse in Berkeley attended by Jon, myself, Shawnrey, Chris and Dave (much fun and delicious delicious food!!!!).  A dinner at an oyster bar (I forwent/forgoed???? my vegetarianism to try an oyster, and I reckon I would do it again).  Dolores Park followed by dinner in ChinaTown!  And then another day there was a dinner with a bunch of Chris’s friends from Portland.  So it was good times with good folks and lots of good food.

We ended up taking the bus up to Portland, which worked out okay because Jon slept most of the way (6 pm to 9 am bus), and my friend Aaron picked us up at the Greyhound Station in Portland, which was frikking amazingly excellent.  We went out for brunch then walked around Portland a bit.  Jon’s friend Alex showed up and took us to see some waterfalls and then swim in a river (much enjoyment had by me, OF COURSE!).  So that was simply lovely.  I went with Jon to visit NCNM (National College of Natural Medicine) in Portland.  We had a strange visit whereby the class that Jon thought was happening and for which we waited had already ended for the summer and no one seemed to know it.  And then there was a strange interaction with the doctor when Jon went to try to observe the doctor’s rounds/meetings with patients due to Jon’s dress (he was wearing gray denim pants because at that point, that’s all he had).  We reckon that for various reasons, the doctor didn’t realize that Jon was a prospective student….  Anyway, despite this, the visit was good, and I could definitely see Jon at NCNM.  It manages to not feel too institutional and seems very much geared to the students, which is cool.  It felt sorta funky.  Grin.  And maybe a little disorganized.
Then up to Seattle.  We got in late in the evening.  Oh!  I forgot that we left late so that we could meet Jon’s friend Aaron and Aaron’s girlfriend Christina who were just finishing their bike ride across the United States (CRAZY!!!!).  They were both just incredibly awesome people.  Jon’s description of Aaron as a teddy bear was apt, I found, and Christina was also super warm and lovely.  So anyway, yeah, my folks picked me up in Seattle.  The next day I helped my dad do a little talk about Nepal for an older women’s group at church.  Jon helped out with that and was simply amazing with the ladies.  Grin.  I think this episode sort of melted my heart a little bit.  Grin.  Anyway, we also visited Bastyr another Naturopathy school, which is about a 12 minute drive from my parents’ house.  Its location is beautiful – it’s actually IN a state park, so it’s surrounded by forest.  Whew!!!!  However, the building itself is reminiscent (inside and out) of a high school – low ceilings, linoleum floors, not great light….  I think, despite the smoothness with which things ran at Bastyr, or perhaps because of it, Jon got an overall better feel at NCNM (but he’s really the better one to talk about his preferences, wry smile).  The students seemed a little less relaxed and the feel of the place was slightly less personal.  I thought that it could end up feeling pretty isolated if you lived near there, because the city’s a ways away, and that it would involve a commute, which turns me off.  But I also felt that either place would be a decent fit for Jon.  So he’s ready to pursue science courses this fall and we’ll see how things go from there….  It was really fun for me to visit the two schools and get a sense of what they’re about.  I realized how much I like education and institutions that are devoted to it.  Grin.
And here I am at school a little nervous about getting started and being back in the swing of academia – CRAZINESS!!!!  Whew.  What a crazy crazy time.  Oh!  Do let me know when you know what you’ll be doing for Thanksgiving and whether Guru’s going to be with you or not.  I think that I (and I think Jon too) am pretty keen to have a reunion with the two of you then, if that’s doable.
I’m glad that you’re getting on with Nicki.  Is she not a gem of a gem of a gem????  I love that woman.  And you.  So it’s nice that you two can be friends.  Grin.  It was pretty fun to meet so many of Jon’s friends and have him meet some of my important ones, too.
A’ight friend.  This is far more than enough for now.  I would love to hear more about your life – living in Lazimpat with Guru and Nicki, your work,  your reflections on life in Kathmandu these days, and any other thoughts you have.
Much love to you,

Thandiwe Jyoti

About Thandiwe

Hopeful cynic, creative, seriously silly, lover of people and places, hypocrite, third-culture kid, queer, life-long learner, white woman, Christ follower, outdoor enthusiast: I am a seeker of justice and truth who has re-found my spiritual home in progressive Christianity. I serve as the Associate Pastor at a small Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) congregation near the mountains of Colorado where I live with my beloved.
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