Arrive in Amritsar the night before, stay at a hotel, wake up at 4 a.m., be prepared to walk across a dusty street barefoot, bring a head scarf and make sure you fasten it firmly. Self’s flew off several times and people around her started to mutter.
It was a cloudy day. It was the first week of July, 2012. Self had just spent a month in Scotland, on a writing residency. She went to Paris to fulfill a lifelong dream. Her birthday was July 14, Bastille Day. She didn’t get to stay until then, she went home a week early. But at least she finally saw the City of Light with her own two eyes. Yeeees!!!
All right, all right, dear blog readers! Self knows she is really pushing it with all these “Escape” photos! But of course it’s because, having just returned from a period in Venice, she has tons of pictures! Tons! She took 100+ photos a day! Lucky she downloaded most of them to her laptop before her camera disappeared with her luggage (from the vaporetto stop at San Toma’ — BWAH HA HAAAA!). And there’s only so much she can post about “Game of Thrones” and Jaime and Brienne without sounding ridiculous!
Which brings to mind the conversation she had with a professor who was on the same flight from Venice to Frankfurt. Self was in a state. All she had with her was her handcarry and her purse. She kept mentally running through the contents of her suitcase. She confided in this very composed woman, precisely because she was so composed. Also because she was traveling with her 12-year-old daughter.
“Look on the bright side!” the woman said. “Right now, I’ve just finished grading, and I have 198 students who hate me.”
Self gawked, then stammered: “Do you really have 198 students who hate you? Wh — why?”
The woman laughed, and told self a story about how she went to Siem Reap two years ago — “Really?” self interrupted. “I’ve been to Siem Reap!”
“And,” the woman continued, “there was a young girl who asked me if she could have my shoes! That was the first time anyone ever liked my shoes that much!”
“What were they like — your shoes?” self asked.
“Oh, they were kinda expensive sneakers, and they had glitter,” the woman said.
“But, Mom,” her daughter burst out (She had glasses, thick black-framed glasses, and she was slightly chubby — i.e., this daughter was adorable), “You had to walk back to the car barefoot!”
“And at least you still have your passport,” the woman said.
Self had to admit that was true.
“Because if you didn’t have your passport, they wouldn’t let you on the plane,” the woman continued. “And you’d have to go to Rome. There isn’t a U.S. consulate in Venice.” The woman paused and then said, laughing: “But on the other hand, you might have appreciated a little time in Rome!”
OMG! What a conversation! After that, self wanted to fall on her knees and kiss her U.S. passport! She couldn’t wait to get on the plane so she could order a glass of champagne!
Today was a mad, mad day. First of all, it was Date Due of Assignment 1 for her on-line UCLA Extension class, and the students were so thrillingly engaged. Self spent hours perusing the students’ responses and also reading the first batch of writings.
It’s also been hot. Self and The Man arrived mid-afternoon yesterday, to find the garden absolutely parched. Since yesterday evening, self has been dragging around buckets of water and alternating hand-watering with running the sprinklers.
In addition, self has been madly perusing the hundreds of photographs submitted by fellow WordPress bloggers on the theme of “Escape.” There’s everything from picturesque sailboats and beach shots, to forested glades, stacks of books (Good one, this!) and even a pair of abandoned white shoes that left self feeling strangely disturbed.
So far, self has posted three photographs on the “Escape” theme: the first was a picture of mochi and miso soup, from the time she took Son and Jennie to the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, early last year. The second was a landscape shot taken August 2007, when self was doing a residency at VCCA. The third was a shot she took at the Claremont Graduation Ceremony, this past Saturday: a close-up of a graduate’s mint-green shoes! Here’s a fourth:
Who knew that the subject “Escape” would prove to be such a potent one?
This weekly WordPress Challenge is turning into something of an addiction — !
Self spent the weekend in Claremont to attend the graduation ceremony of Sole Fruit of Her Loins.
She was fascinated by the graduates’ shoes, peeking out from beneath togas. The footwear ranged from Converse sneakers to extremely high-heeled stilettos and to colorful pumps, like the ones pictured above.