Saturday, June 17, 2017

It's been a decade...

Packing up, preparing to return to live in the US after 10 years, what goes through the mind?

Will I miss:
  • "Good morning, Madam/Sir"
  • our apartment's view of the Andaman sea out front, jungle out back
  • the sound/feel when two motorcycles pass you at speed, one on either side, on a 2-lane winding road with no shoulder
  • finding a gecko in the cereal box
  • unregulated traffic, where lane markers are mere suggestions, frequently very poor ones
  • not having to wear socks, ever (YES!)
  • hearing defaMAtory, cooperAtive, aCADemic, cerVEYEcal cancer
  • Ramadan bad breath (poor things can't brush their teeth during the day all month)
  • perplexing items in the store, such as: 

Just came across this quote from Mark Twain:   “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”  I do dearly wish everyone in the US would travel, or have to attempt to learn a language--any language, just to see that there are other ways of thinking.

Trump-land here we come, well, via many interesting places on the way as we meander back over the next month, namely Georgia, Macedonia, Albania, Sardinia and Sicily 🙋

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

C's grad

We flew to New York for a ridiculous 4 days, to attend C's graduation from Medical School.  Amazing achievements that boy worked long and hard for!  Medical doctor and Masters in Public Health all in four years, and with the added recognition of the Cor et Manus Award for "excellence in leadership and community service".  Where he and his diplomat brother, these bright, overachieving men, came from I know not.  Well I do but can't believe they are ours.

There were two ceremonies, first the "hooding" for the school of medicine, held near New York Medical College.  Here are C and the lovely Miss L getting ready

Proud parents
More proud parents

And the hoods, C modelling two, count 'em two,  hoods, one for the Master's in Pubic Health

L had dreamed of becoming a doctor from a very young age, so it was a particularly poignant time for her. Here is the early Dr. L in action.
On to Carnegie Hall for the actual Commencement

After the ceremony

Dinner after
C unknowingly made the cover of a medical journal
Hard to believe, but they closed on a dream house the very same day

One last Penang waltz

We attended our last ball in Penang--and possibly ever--is it done in the US??
MaiBall, sponsored by the Malaysian-German Society  Fun!

Sunday, April 30, 2017


Forty-five years. Yup. K was 20 when last in Kyoto. How fun to see it and dear Nihon again.  She recognized nothing!

We had only two short days, but we made the most of it.
Starting at the Fushimi Inari shrine, photogenic home to thousands of tori (gates).

A certain photogenic couple
 People travel from all over the world to see the cherry blossoms in Kyoto.  Advance weather reports indicated that we might miss them, but our normal state of incredible good fortune kicked in, and it turned out that we hit them at full bloom--gorgeous! 

The weather was perfect, the blossoms were at their peak, and some started falling as pink snow--magical!

The Philosopher's Walk is especially favored for cherry blossom viewing

some philosophers

Pink snow!
At the top of K's list to visit was Ginkakuji, the Silver Pavilion, near which she had lived so many years ago.  It was lovely

pink snow on moss

We traveled by bus and subway

Everything is well-thought out. Trains are "mildly air conditioned"
So much good food 
A good meal was necessary for these samurai-to-be.

Ta da!

crossed swords
Samurai duds

They passed--well, got a certificate
After all that, one needs ice cream. B took us to a famous sundae place. Here's one costing $200
Or perhaps you'd prefer:
K noted the same brands of cigarettes as long. long ago--hard to forget about Hope and Peace

We visited the Nishiki Market:

cherry blossoms to go

We also attended Miyako Odori, an annual geisha dance performance held each April in Kyoto for the past 143 years. We were not allowed to take photos; this photo is from Japan Talk website.
It was spectacular.  We were very glad that we chose to rent audio guides though, or we wouldn't have had a clue what was happening.

Later we happened to see these geisha trainees ("maiko") walking down the street. We only knew they were trainees thanks to the performance guide which had explained the difference in clothing = longer sleeves and obi and higher soles on the shoes.

and going
Ah, Kyoto
and this is a common sight as well:
Pachinko parlor!

Time to say bye, Kyoto

We would both love to return to see more of Japan someday.