29 June 2009

More wanderings

My midwestern sojourn has come to an end, and what an end it was! Saturday night I attended the wedding of two beloved friends, and although I had planned to leave early (because of my four-thirty-am wake up the next morning), it was impossible to tear myself away. So: three hours of sleep, a bleary-eyed shuttle ride to the airport, two cramped flights, and a drive home, only to throw on my dress again and attend the wedding reception of another friend (my flight arrived too late for the ceremony). I was ever so glad to be able to be at both weddings, but I did a zombie swan dive into bed when I got home from the second one.

Another reason it was hard to leave Saturday's party: Over the course of those two weeks, including a fantastic bachelorette party in a swanky Chicago condo overlooking the lake, and the pre-wedding preparations, I had gotten to know some of my friend's friends. And--as is logical, since we are all friends with the same awesome person--I was really enjoying their company. But when it was all over, it was farewell for good--when would we see each other again?

Oh, and the Indiana wedding was my first Jewish wedding ever! And it was so much fun. I do believe I shed tears during the hora, when the inner circle of family members widened and intertwined and spun and linked arms. So darn...sob...symbolic!

Anyway, the two weeks flew by in a good way. The first week I stayed with the soon-to-be-marrieds, and the second week I housesat for some people from my old church, which was a good deal given that I got to use their car and only was required to water a few plants. We cooked lots of yummy food, including my first batch of homemade gnocchi and the best paella I've personally ever made (which isn't saying much, but it was delicious). I spent a lot of time holed up in the library and had a series of meetings about teaching in the fall and about my thesis with the department chair and my committee people, which all went swimmingly. And speaking of swimming, there were bits of Bloomington summer fun in the sweltering heat: the outdoor pool (the night swim was possibly the most peaceful swim I've ever taken), the always delightful farmer's market, porch swings and strolls to the ice cream stand and fireflies and flowers. And there were wedding projects! Buying plants and jars and potting terraria for the wedding centerpieces, cutting out and inscribing seed-packet name cards...

I was reminded of what I like about Bloomington, and all the reasons it might be fun to live there during the school year. That said, there is still some debate as to whether I will actually be there in the fall. If I am, though, the Mister will be tagging along, and that, my friends, is a good thing. (Boy do I miss that boy!)

Now we're off to Boston, for just a quick stay and a celebration of my nephew's fourth birthday, and then down to Washington, where I'll be staying with my parents for a couple of weeks, until the Mister flies in and it's time to head back up to Boston and Vermont. It is a wandering kind of summer, that's for sure.

12 June 2009

Living the questions

"Be patient towards all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves liked locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer."

- Ranier Maria Rilke, from Letters to a Young Poet

11 June 2009


This has happened before. I leave home to embark on a long American sojourn, and I abandon this little blog, which languishes while I galavant.

I guess the reason is partly because I am seeing the actual people who form my primary blog audience, and partly because I'm, well, on the road. And come to think of it, not much more time has gone by than the usual too-long gap between blog posts; the difference is that I've been more places in the meantime and family life landmarks overbrim the mere record of them.

But just to keep track, I'll enumerate my recent whereabouts. Basically, it's been a tour of the Northeast Corridor. Two weeks ago today (only two weeks?), I flew to Philadelphia, and so did the Mister, although not on the same airline. Boo. Then we drove (er, were driven) to Bucks County to attend my brother's wedding, and sing in it, and in general be happy that I have one more sister-in-law to add to my collection of Awesome Sisters-In-Law. They had a exquisite day, the ceremony was delightful, and the bride and groom were beautiful. Our nephew ever so studiously and carefully carried the little pillow, and forlornly asked at the end of the day, "Am I still a ring bearer?" There was a moment of panic before the ceremony when my dad noticed that one of the rings was missing from the pillow, but did not realize that they were aluminum stand-ins.

The post-wedding day was one of intense Hanging Out with all the lovely friends and relatives who were present. (As the Mister noted, the English phrase "to hang out" is a great catch-all that doesn't actually mean much. Case in point: one can "hang out by [one]self.") The kind of thing where breakfast turns into a four-hour gabfest with all the people who are coming and going in the hotel breakfast nook, plus snatches of the Sunday New York Times. A whirlwind Philadelphia visit ended the weekend. I hadn't been there since my childhood, so it was fun to revisit the Liberty Bell, take a carriage ride and be impressed by good ol' Ben Franklin all over again. I never did get a water ice, though.

After the wedding weekend a bunch of the immediate family caravaned down to DC, where my Dad has new digs for his temporary job. We spent the week eating and museuming and yes, hanging out, and I got some solid time to research at the Library of Congress (getting a library card is always a thrill, but this one was special) and the Mister had meetings where he gave talks and debates and so forth.

We made a trip to the Natural History Museum, too: after my nephew and I gazed at the record-length squid for a good while, he rushed over to my sister and said breathlessly, "Mom! I just saw a giant SQUISH!"

The Mister flew back home last Friday, and I spent Saturday in the back of a minivan with a lot of luggage and two adorable squirts as we drove up to Boston's North Shore. We had a lovely time together for a few days, and managed to get together with the newlyweds, tanned and honeymoon-glowy. Then down to Boston for a couple of days at my brother's with the littlest nephew, and now on Saturday it's off to the great midwest for the next chapter of this summer marathon!

It's a bare-bones record, but it's the last few weeks in a nutshell. Still, there are times when lists of places visited do not suffice; so much joy and even sorrow is squished into such a fragile frame. The unsaid will have to remain so, the lists a reminder of the lived.