Happy Mother’s Day, Dearest Mum!

To self’s mother, who at fourteen became the first Filipino artist to win the New York Times International Piano Competition, who returned to the Philippines with Dear Departed Dad and had five children, who this year beat covid, pneumonia, a minor stroke and being in the Makati Medical covid ward for weeks (during the worst of Manila’s second covid surge) and is now back home. Self greeted her yesterday, but wanted to do this today.

Here she is as a young pianist:

Love you always. Visiting next year, for sure.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Life in Colour, May Challenge: Purple 2

Took these pictures for this month’s Life in Colour Challenge, hosted by Jude on Travel Words.

Self has more flowers in the front yard, but lots of people are out and about and she feels self-conscious crouching underneath a bush to take close-ups of her flowers.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The Darién Gap

Self learns new things every day.

. . . on Panama’s far eastern edge, near the border with Colombia, the roads abruptly end. There’s a wide swath of untouched jungle, mountains, and swamps dripping with thick vegetation. Venomous snakes, prowling jaguars, and a maze of unmarked, mosquito-plagued trails lie within. The sultry tropical wilderness extends the entire width of the isthmus and spills over into Colombia. Because it forms the sole break in the nineteen-thousand-mile Pan-American Highway, which starts in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, and ends in Ushuia, Argentina, on the southernmost tip of South America, it’s called the Darién Gap.

Navigating through it by vehicle is nearly impossible. Expeditions have tried. One of the first attempts, in 1959, enlisted eight mountaineers, four crewmen, and two custom-equipped Land Rovers. After 180 river crossings, the construction of 125 log bridges, three automobile rollovers, and several bouts of malaria, the intrepid explorers of the Trans-Darién pierced the gap. The journey of sixty-six miles took them four and a half months.

The Next Great Migration, Chapter 1 (“Exodus”)

Permutations, Presumptions

For years, I accepted their presumption of my occupation of space on the North American continent as in some way abnormal. Adopting their sense of my oddity, I pushed myself from the center to the margins. I never presented myself as a regular American person, but always some marginal permutation of one: a South Asian American, say, or an Indian American, perhaps. Even after living in Boston for more than a decade, I didn’t publicly cheer when the Red Sox won or wail over the city’s various tragedies. That felt presumptuous, because I didn’t consider myself as being “from” that place, even though I’d borne both my children there. I still don’t say I’m “from” Baltimore, though I’ve lived on the outskirts of this city for over a decade.

The Next Great Migration: The Beauty and Terror of Life on the Move, by Sonia Shah, Chapter 1 (“Exodus”)

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