For me, it was learning about the Loch Ness Monster. In the middle of a childhood defined by fiction books, I distinctly remember sitting at a table in the back of my third-grade classroom, looking at the famous surgeon’s photo in a book, and realizing this was a place that really existed (even if maybe the monster did not).
Twelve years later on a cold and rainy February afternoon, I stood on the banks of Loch Ness itself, looking for the monster and drinking some tea. Life rewards us that way sometimes.
When I was in high school studying German, my teacher told us about JFK’s famous Ich bin ein Berliner speech, pointing out that, in German, we don’t say, “I am a Berliner” or “an American” or “a Pennsylvanian,” but simply, “I am Berliner,” or “I am Pennsylvanian.” Adding an article before Berliner kind of made it sound like he said, “I am a type of gooey jelly donut famous to this region.”
But I digress. Whatever the literal translation, his meaning was clear. And today, I feel exactly the same way.
The year before I studied in Germany, a friend of mine studied in Spain. That semester, she stopped wearing her watch, she stopped worrying as much as we’re both prone to, and she learned how to be spontaneous, or, as she called it, spaintaenous.
What a great way to live.
Pont du Gard, 2009.
Just like my friend, I typically like to plan things. I like to know where I’m headed and what steps I’ll take to get there. But there’s a big, suppressed part of me that hates being so regimented.
I am very, very hesitant to travel with others. So many of my travels have been alone, which I’ve loved. When something goes wrong (because things always go wrong when I travel), I don’t have to worry about anyone else. I can go out and meet new people when I need a friend, but I can always get away when I need to be alone. Traveling with someone else can be terrifying.
Guys, Merry Christmas to ME! After a month of being computerless, I finally bit the bullet and bought a new laptop. I don’t want to get into which kind I got because I don’t want to be all product-placement about it, but I love it, and it’s fast, and I’m keeping it far away from water.
It’s been a week since we said goodbye to the Wookiee, and I’ve decided to write this post as though it never happened. It’s a part of my life, and I’m still sad, but it’s not a part of the weekend I spent in Baltimore, which is what I’m writing about.
Image from MingPresents. Click photo to see her blog
That weekend, I spent several nights with my BFF. We went to a fruit tree festival in Druid Hill Park, where the kids bobbed for apples in a downpour, and we took the Light Rail to the Guster concert at Ram’s Head. We put together a puzzle and watched Master Chef, and I played with their kiddos every evening. (Meaning, they bilaterally threw blankets over my head for a two-fold attack. Aunthood was so much easier when there was only one! I’ll never win against Team Sibling.) We went to a mutual friends’ house—friends I hadn’t seen in years—and reconnected like only a day or two had passed.
Being in Baltimore was like going home.
Which is weird, really, because it never felt like home when I lived there.