Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Hectic American Journey Continues - and More

Rachael Ray was right: at the end of a crazy day, after way too many people step on your nerves, the best thing you can do to relieve stress is to give a healthy whack to a clove of garlic. Some people want to head for the shooting range after a stressful day at the office. I come home and crush garlic cloves with a healthy whack.
It always works! Stress is gone, at the end of a fresh pot of soup!

Not that everyone really pisses me off lately, not really, anyway, but things have been quite hectic, with a house guest (my aunt) and more trips that I can handle and plenty of get-together's to plan or attend as well, on top of my full time job and regular routine ... In a nutshell - a busy summer. No, I am not complaining. Just wish I had 36 hour days, that's all.

A couple of weeks back, we took a trip to our Nation's Capital, and that was fantastic! It was packed with fun, and walking (man, I missed walking), and new and interesting things ...

I was complaining to a friend just before that trip that I indeed don't have a "good best friend", as Forrest Gump says about Bubba .... But in DC I found out I do have one. It's called a map. Any map that's well done and detailed enough to show you the way; even the one way streets . I managed not to get lost in DC, nor in MD and that was a huge milestone for me. And I drove everywhere. No Metro, and no buses. Just driving. Or walking - which was such a blessing. I had no one to direct me but my map and my common sense. I am still contemplating a GPS, however. I am even thinking that might come before the camera I desperately want! We'll see ...

I have blogged about DC before, so I won't do it now. I will only say this: everyone seems to visit The Mall, when they're there, and all the War memorials , which are great, of course ... But then they all get tired (or lazy) and walk JUST right up the reflecting pond in front of The Capitol, snatch a picture of the Capitol in the background and turn away from the City, calling that a trip. My advice: skip The White House - there is not much there anyhow, but instead ... walk PAST The Capitol and make it JUST behind it, to The Library of Congress! It's not a book deposit. It's "an art museum - as one of my friends so eloquently put it. It's amazing! It's like all Europe's museums got dumped into ONE and you're just lost in wonderment, like Alice in Wonderland in the middle of it. It's beautiful, tastefully done and exquisite. Thousands of tons of every color of marble you can think of, and mosaics, and tiles, and murals and tapestries ... So worth walking the extra block!

Another piece of advice: check out the ad-hoc exhibits in the tents at The Mall. They are sometimes more interesting than the museums themselves. We visited a Buddhist temple, complete with murals, music, monks, and altars with offerings, and we had some great Bhutanese food there as well ...

Visiting America for the first time, my aunt wanted to see anything and everything that is, well, American - so we went to the Museum of the American Indian. She then made me realize how Native Americans, to me, the "true Americans", are perceived across the world, when she said that she never knew the "Natives wore clothes". She's "always seen them naked in movies" (mostly American movies, so ... that says something about our own movie culture and the way they represent our history, don't you think?!). But she found out how intricate and how versatile their clothes and weavings are. She was blown away at how creative they were with their port. And how "well dressed". The museum is very well done and in a way emotional - to me, who has a soft heart for their story, it was, for the second time.

The weekend after the DC trip, we celebrated July 4th with everyone else . It was a fun-filled weekend, but somewhat incomplete because we missed the fireworks. They say we still need the rain. I would say: too much of even a good thing is still too much: I've had enough and it better stop. I am sick of driving in it already, every weekend!!

But the rain could not put a damper on our weekend. We celebrated America's Day the right way: grilled food, and lots of friends, funnel cake and Ben and Jerry's Downtown - what more could we want??

To extend the celebration of American life, we'll see a bluegrass concert this week. And this weekend, we're driving up to the Blueridge Parkway, another American staple.

And so the beat goes on. And thus my aunt's journey to America is almost coming to an end.
I hope I have contributed just an iota to her memories, and her understanding of this culture that has been so generous to adopt me.

I have been glad and proud I could share my adopted land with my blood family. It's an honorable feeling and another dream come true. Being the link between two worlds is so daunting, and so uplifting, such a privilege to live.

I hope everyone had a Happy and Safe Fourth!

Pictures from trips to be posted later, so check back.

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