“My friends are my real estate.” By Emily Dickinson
It seemed only appropriate that as I sit in a café in Amherst, Massachusetts that I quote one of the town’s native daughters. While I know that there are multiple ways in which this line of poetry can be interpreted, I will leave the literary deconstruction and interpretation to those more qualified and skilled to do so. For me, it seemed appropriate to spend a little time reflecting on the time I’ve spent with friends over the past six days during my escape from my San Diego life.
During this mini-getaway, I’ve experienced a fun snapshot of New England life. Although I am without a doubt a city girl, I’ve found my time here compelling. During my break, I’ve spent time with three women that I met when we participated in the USC Irvine Foundation Summer Dissertation Workshop. At that time, I know all of us wondered if we would ever finish our dissertations and I suspect that none of us knew where in the world we would land if we completed our doctorates. Now, seven years later we are living lives that perhaps we partially imagined or dreamed about while in LA. This time has helped me realize how far we’ve come, allowed for a reaffirmation of our friendships, and an appreciation of their families. This time also allowed us to find new connections to one another and admire what the others accomplished personally and professionally.
Here are a few snapshots (literally and figuratively) from my trip.
“Gives You Hell: Karaoke and the Competitive Spirit”
Yes, I’ve used the All American Rejects song as the subtitle to this section. Let me set the stage –eleven year old girl takes on the reigning thirty-something year old champ of Karaoke who has “never” been beat in ten years. The game –Wii Karaoke Revolution; the site of battle –the champ’s living room. The pre-teen had never played the game, but was the reigning Julian Idol. The battle was epic. As the 11 year old’s mom and I cleared the dishes from the kitchen, we notice that the volume of singing keeps getting louder and louder. Clearly neither singer wanted to give an inch. It’s amazing what happens when the competitive spirit takes over. As the night progresses, the 11 year old proceeds to give the reigning champ a thorough butt kicking. Loosing only once and that’s because she didn’t know the song and it was in Spanish. I have a feeling that our fallen champ will be practicing for their next internet scheduled battle.
“Love and Happiness: New Beginnings and Possibilities”
One reason I traveled to Burlington, Vermont was to meet Naima Huh-Bond, my friend Jinny’s newborn daughter. Jinny and I haven’t had a chance to visit with one another in years –her job taking her to Burlington, while mine sent me to San Diego. Life has changed so much for her in the 4 years since she left Los Angeles. She got married, is now a mother and a step-mother, in addition to working as an Assistant Professor. This picture was one of my favorite moments. I can’t quite explain what it felt like –but when I look at this picture it makes me smile to see that this moment captures all the love and happiness she deserves.
1) Watching Jinny put Naima through her morning calisthenics routine.
2) Jinny to me “You can take as many pictures of me and the baby as you want because David (her husband) takes terrible pictures”
3) Emi and Evin Gregor to me while waiting to play with Lorena and Steph’s Wii video game. Emi: “when are they coming back in?” Me: “they’re just having a little adult time and talking, they’ll come in soon.” Evin: “How much more adult time do they need, I’ve asked them to come in like ten times I don’t think they need any more adult time, they need kid time.”
4) Evin Gregor on our Ferry Ride around Lake Champlain after witnessing his Aunt Jinny changing Naima’s diaper, “Brown poo: and it all happened on the Ferry.” (Ok you had to be there to fully appreciate that one”