I had an idea, like you do, that I would bribe the Universe. I mean why not? It’s just creating karma eh? Before leaving Boston, I bought a large bag of Lindt dark chocolate truffles and decided I would give one to everyone during the day that I had an exchange with (the airline ticket agent, the young woman at Starbucks, the baggage man, the security guy outside the gate, etc.); this was my idea to get my bags to arrive Casablanca at the same time I did – a feat which has never happened before I might add. And it worked! So cool! Along the way I also made several people smile and arrived home in Rabat with only two truffles left, and ALL MY BAGS. Not only did my bags arrive as I did, but they were first off the aeroplane! Now that’s results.
I was surprised, and pleased, at how glad I felt to be back in Morocco. You should see my little house; not only did Abdul Latif, the world’s nicest landlord, put in the promised central heat and air, but he cleaned up after the painter (did all the white walls) and the handyman! And, he repaired the door bell, and closed the terrace grill for the winter. Now THAT’S service! He was so cute when I presented him with a giant jar of Skippy peanut butter: “You remembered,” he said quietly and then grinned like a six-year-old on Christmas morning.
Back to the baggage story for a moment, not only did I get all my books and tea in the bags, but the red one weighed in at 69#, and the other at 67# (the limit on RAM is 70#); I’m reasonably sure, after hefting it a few times, that my carry-on was above the legislated 40# as it was packed with books. Can I pack or can I pack?
I hardly know where to start to bring you up to date! A brief overview yes? The trip to the conference in Vancouver was exhausting, but informative and enjoyable; I would say I really got my money’s worth (no higher complement from a Scot). Meeting the wonderful jmb and her scientist guy was a highlight I must say. She is every bit as wonderful, effervescent, and beautiful as we all thought. She and her scientist guy showed me a great time, which was most welcome after the demands of the conference.
Then on to Boston where Cath’ and Bob picked me up at Logan International in the rain! More rain, I was so happy. Up the road to the picturesque village of Dunstable which for the rest of my stay showed the most glorious fall weather, and was dressed in the deep, and comforting colors of the changing of the season. I ran every day along the old French road trying to drink in the colors through not only my eyes, but storing them in my mind. I did get caught a couple of times by the locals, talking to the cows… but I really like cows you know. Could be all my time in India, I grant you, albeit the cow poop in the streets never really endeared me to Brahman. No, it it’s the bucolic appearance and gentle, non-threatening aura of the country cows; I think even more so now that the world seems full of threat.
Cath’ and Bob did their usual number of feeding me up with all the delicious food I like best. I was quite surprised to find I still fit in my jeans when I dressed for the plane home – but that’s what the running was for, eh? I spent an inordinate, and blissful amount of time in the local Barnes and Noble bookstore. I did get new running shoes - $ 180.00! My goodness, I do remember when running shoes were outrageous at 30 pounds. My rule is you spend the money for the best on shoes, bras, and moisture crème (La Mer) – support you know is essential. And I splurged on a new pair of pumps that were just too cute to resist. A quick visit to Banana Republic, which I tell you ladies is the best place for jeans for bodies past forty, regardless of price, to refill my jeans supply. I bought every box of Chai tea I could find (unfortunately bags, but what are you to do..?), and that B&N Hot Cinnamon Tea, delicious.
I pulled my old but still lovely blue Spode teapot from the cedar chest and brought it back with me along with a couple of sterling silver tea spoons; because really, we have to have civilization don’t we (or the British version of it that I am comfortable with…). I also brought back some additional spiritual comfort, as Buddhist Temples are thin on the ground in Morocco. A lovely rendition of the goddess Saraswati, goddess of creativity and inspiration; a timely choice I thought, as well as a miniature prayer wheel, and a replication of the goddess Tara for protection, and a larger portrait of His Holiness for above the altar.
My visit to the dentist, the wonderful Dr. Crane of North Chelmsford, went well. He repaired in good order the tooth I had broken over a year ago, and told me I have very healthy gums – always good new eh? I am a white knuckler dental patient; so when I say he has a reassuring manner, take me at my word. The man could work OB delivering babies, or the terminal ward easing the dying! His lovely daughter Amy is assisting him just now in the office and in complete deadpan he replied to my question, “Are you enjoying working in the office with your father?” He said, “Oh yes, it’s a dream come true for Amy. She is thrilled to be here every day.” It took me a minute all right, but I was terrified and sedated after all! Just what you want, a funny dentist! They are a great team and I survived in good shape.
My other medical visit to the ophthalmologist was equally reassuring if not as amusing. I don’t have a detached retina as I feared, but I shall continue to have this floater for some indeterminate time. As it resembles a (thankfully) shrinking gnat, I am thinking of naming it – a constant companion after all.
Reading! So it begins.. I have a recommendation for you, INFIDEL by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. It is the story of a young woman’s survival; it is of further interest that the young woman is African and Muslim. My impression, aside from the obvious insights into their culture, was the realization (once again) that while political and cultural correctness (and simple good manners) are required of us, we must engender that with the knowledge of fact and not ignore that in bending too far the other way. As I am guilty of this myself, it made the point especially to me. I am so antithetical to bigotry and ignorance that I sometimes skim over the ugly facts of a culture or religion in order not to give ammunition to those who would use such to further their own ignorant and hateful agenda. As thinking people we must see the gray. I really hate that you know, it is exhausting. I totally understand the allure of fundamentalism, of any ilk – religious or political. The sheer relief of knowing you are right and they are wrong; no more decisions, no thinking, no reversal of opinion, no discussion, no giving over or giving in, and no possible exceptions. Unfortunately my education and upbringing do not allow me the luxury, and so I continue to examine the grey areas – as must all thinking beings eh? And so back to the book, it must also be seen (as Q has reminded me since I tend to leap to my soapbox, sword afire and words of passion and right to the ready) that publishers print what will sell – and a woman, an Arab or African woman who does not write about genital mutilation is less likely to get published. This does not make what Ali has to say any less true, or any less valuable, but it means that we, the readers, must take into account the environment in which her book was written, edited, and published. Exhausting eh?
Oh my I have rambled on past 1000 words, and I do try to keep posting to that limit. More tomorrow then?