What made you want to travel?
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.
Last year you learned the lengths I would go to for a grape pie.
It’s not just the pie. It’s the experience. And this year, I added another country to that experience.
My BeFF and I went first to Canada, spending a few days in Welland, Ontario, before returning to Pennsylvania via Monica’s Pies in Naples, NY.
We had sunshine, wine, freighters, and a koi pond on our jam-packed yet relaxing three-day vacation.
If you respond with, “African or European?” you’d be corrected by my friends this morning, as I was.
“The line is actually ‘the airspeed velocity’,” they said.
But out of curiosity, we decided to look it up. And to our astonishment, everywhere the internet asks about the terminal velocity of a swallow, the internet replies: Don’t you mean airspeed?
No, internet. No we do not. So we figured it out. Because this is what my friends do on a rainy Saturday morning.
Here, for your Monty Python-inspired yet strictly speaking off-script queries as to the terminal velocity of a sparrow, I bring you … The Math.
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.
Berlin Wall 1961–1989
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.
And this week, she won out.
Today, my BeFF went to Pittsburgh to pick up a new saxophone, and she invited me to tag along. I was up for a trip, and she has the Hamilton soundtrack, so I took her up on the offer.
This isn’t a narrative, just a few oddities and curiosities I snapped on my phone while we were out along the Monongahela. Enjoy.
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.
Solo on the west coast of Scotland.
And yet I’ve broken this rule several times. Continue reading
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.
In the meantime, what have I been up to, you ask? Continue reading
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.
It all began innocently enough. Just breakfast, we said. Catch up a bit, we said. I know a great place called Mugshots, my friend said, and we can get a bite there before I go to work.
So it always begins.
But Philly is a city of quick changes and big ideas—just look at what happened there in 1776—and what might begin as breakfast with a couple of friends can too easily end behind bars.