Life in Colour Photo Challenge, September 2021: GOLD

Self did not think she would find anything on this. TBH, gold is not a color she gravitates to.

But, this evening, she was looking through her archives, and she landed on a series of pictures she took in Paris, December 2017. There’s definitely gold in those monuments!

So here you go, a post for Travel Words’ Life in Colour Challenge for September 2021:

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge (CFFC): Greatest Love of All

The past couple of weeks, Cee has been posting different songs to inspire those joining the CFFC Challenge.

This week’s song is by Whitney: “Greatest Love of All”

The lines that inspired this post:

I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside

Before & After: Stories from New York, Edited by Thomas Beller

This anthology was required reading in son’s high school English.

The front cover:

The back cover:

Thursday Doors Challenge: East London

This challenge is hosted by Dan at No Facilities.

Somewhere Near Tower Hamlets, East London, November 2019

Shoreditch, East London, November 2019

How Iceland Changed the World: Introduction

Self has finished reading the Amanda Lindhout memoir (written with Sara Corbett), A House in the Sky. She decided she would just have to get it over with. She wasn’t even sure she’d have the stomach to read it all the way through, but the writing is amazing. That’s what amazing writing can do: it holds you hostage. Self spent the whole of this beautiful day (sun was shining, and it was NOT HOT) just racing to finish A House in the Sky.

There are some parts that, okay, made self laugh, like the part where Amanda and Nigel are being taken to yet another “safe” house. They were being held in separate rooms and when she sees Nigel, she notices Nigel is shirtless and wonders if . . . okay, never mind. Nigel was unmolested. Lucky for him, he was a man. They sort of respected him. There is a lot about her feelings for Nigel in this book, which adds to the sadness because . . . Amanda was clinging to him so hard, just to make it through, and Nigel was essentially helpless, and made a lot of promises he didn’t mean, because — hey, there were hostages!

Anyhoo, she’s alive, he’s alive, it’s all good.

Onward!

Self’s next book might seem like a strange choice, except that her son has gone there. To Iceland. All by himself. She found out recently.

And also, once, self spent Christmas in Paris, and the only other guests at her tiny hotel in the 17th arrondissement were a Filipino family who were on their way to Iceland for a family vacation, and came with tons of luggage.

Imagine the odds of two different Filipino entities meeting in a Paris hotel on Christmas day! And we didn’t even know each other from Adam! The three kids of the family ranged in age from — if self were to guess — five to 10. WHO GOES TO ICELAND FOR FAMILY VACATION. For that matter, who spends Christmas alone in Paris! But self wasn’t alone! She was with Francine and Francoise, who were so circumspect they never greeted her a Merry Christmas and acted like it was just an ordinary day! All they said to her that day was: “Madame, you must go to the Louvre. NO LINES TODAY.” Which turned out to be very good advice.

This is a very digressive post! Finally, the Iceland book:

Introduction:

The town of Selfoss is a rare find. Nearly all of the sixty-three towns and cities in Iceland were first established out of nautical convenience, in sight of approaching ships, but Selfoss sits inland, away from the stony coast. I grew up there, landlocked.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Thursday Trios Challenge: 19 August 2021

Self loves this challenge. It is so much fun to look through her archives for trios.

Thank you to the host, Mama Cormier!

In July, self decided to Airbnb in Carmel for a few days. On all her drives around California, she somehow failed to hit up this place, which was one of the first places her Dear Departed Dad took her to when she was a wee little girl. We were on our first family vacation from the Philippines, and Dad decided to make of it a road trip. Somehow, he had always harbored a secret fantasy of having his entire family engage in that quintessential American family activity: the road trip. So he bundled all five of us kids and Dearest Mum on a plane, and rented a car after we landed in San Francisco, and took us on a road trip that included: Carmel, Las Vegas, and La Jolla. Oh, and Highway 1, which we drove all the way from San Francisco to La Jolla.

Anyhoo, last month, self decided to Airbnb in Carmel, and her host had a most interesting apartment, filled with original artwork, weights, records and turntables, hefty art books, and guitars (in case any of the guests wished to break out in song?). Here’s his guitar collection:

Self’s host was extremely cryptic. She notified him that she was vacating, and leaving the key in the apartment per his instructions, and got this response:

  • I am just down the coast a little, enjoying the vanlife.

She thought and thought about an appropriate response, and finally came up with: Have an excellent vanlife!

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

One-Word Sunday Challenge: Reflections

This challenge comes via Travel with Intent. Fun!

Carmel Airbnb, July 2021

Redwood City Public Library Seed Giveaway, April 2021

London Eye, November 2019

Essay # 3: The Art of Leaving, by Ayelet Tsabari

Yes, self did finally make it out of the thicket of Classic Fantasy and into a new book, a memoir in essays by Ayelet Tsabari. It’s not part of any book list: she just happened to hear a friend praise it to high heaven, so she added it to her reading list a couple of months ago. She was a little underwhelmed by the first essay (grief over losing a dad, when very young). Self wondered if this was going to be the anchor of the entire book. But there were flashes of Tel Aviv in there, and frankly self has always been fascinated by Tel Aviv, a city she’s been to only once, ages ago. Dearest Mum had a friend who was a pianist and he let us stay in his flat while dearest Ying was in the hospital there, dying of Stage IV leukemia.

The people self saw around her (on Ruppin Street) were the biggest Jews she had ever seen. Self says this facetiously. She has Jewish friends but they are not big. In Tel Aviv, not only were the people big, they were completely bronzed, like the models in ads for Italian fashion. And the beach was walkable, and it was white sand, and if she didn’t always pass the American Embassy looking like a fortress, with two implacable marines standing at attention outside, facing the sea, she would have thought she was on the Cote d’Azur.

Essay # 1 ended with a memory of the author being mean. Which raised self’s hopes, because that was a surprise, and that meant there would be other surprises in store.

Self liked Essay # 2, and now she is in Essay # 3, which is about the military service every Israeli citizen is required to perform, right after high school. She’s always been intensely curious about this experience. She forgot it was TWO YEARS. Wow, if someone had told self when she was growing up that she would have to lose two years of her youth to being at one with a rifle, she might have tried to run away or something.

Tsabari begins Essay # 3 when she’s served seven months. That means 17 more months of this routine:

  • We tumbled out of our beds at four o’clock every morning to days filled with repetitive drills and grueling duties: we scrubbed bathrooms, scoured the base’s grounds, washed mountains of dishes, and guarded the base at night. During the day, we ran.

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

Final July #TreeSquare Challenge

Self has had so much fun this month, posting pictures of trees. Thank you to Becky at Life of B for hosting this challenge!

On this last day, she will return to Annaghmakerrig Lake in Ireland, which is beautiful in all seasons.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Midnight Library, p. 91

London. Canary Wharf. About twenty storeys up.

The memories. Oh, the memories.

Canary Wharf is a fascinating place, a different London. Self’s pictures are from her last trip to London, November 2019:

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