I’m Ho-ome

Friday, August 07, 2009

I’m vegging today after what has seemed like the most intense summer since 2000, when we pushed for seven weeks through Uzbekistan and eight countries in Europe. This summer, we drove some six thousand miles, going north to a family reunion in Wenatchee, WA . . .

. . . and south, to San Diego, for part two of the wedding that began with part one in China, last October.

Since the last time we had the whole family together for a picture, we’ve added six members.

Along the way, we enjoyed delightful visits with family and friends, some of whom we hadn’t seen in over a decade.

(Product review: The success of this summer was made possible by my Toyota Sienna, which will be ten years old this fall. It flipped 158,000 miles on Monday. During one, three-day, one-thousand-mile segment, it carried five adults and way-too-much luggage. It had all the power I needed going up steep grades, and comfortably handled curvy Highway 101. Thanks to Bob and Jim at The Auto Shop, the Sienna has never suffered a breakdown, or needed a tow. With the removable seats out, the Sienna has moved my children in-and-out of multiple apartments. With the seats in, it has carried countless kids on field trips or to Sunday school. What a blessing this car has been. Thanks, Vicki, for buying me this car, and for riding around with me all summer.)

So yesterday and today I’ve been moving kind of slow. I’ve pulled a few weeds, run some laundry, and started to think about school starting in ten days. I’m also trying to make amends to a blog that has been feeling abandoned.

A few thoughts:

  • We live in a big, beautiful country. We saw parts of California, Oregon, and Washington that I hadn’t seen before, and revisited some places that were familiar. If I had stopped to soak in every vista that tempted me, I would still be on the road.

  • Family is a tremendous blessing. This summer I got to spend time with my parents, the aunts and uncles who helped raise me (all now in their 80s), and with the cohort of siblings and cousins who grew up with me (and have grown with me now, well into middle age). The nieces, nephews, and cousins-once-removed pop up as spitting images of the previous generations, but with the twist of their own generation’s unique personality and outlook. I got quality time with the children I raised, the spouses my children have married, and my grandchildren. Pretty amazing.

  • I need to learn more Portuguese. With Brazilians as son-in-law and daughter-in-law, and now a nephew with a Brazilian girlfriend, I listened to a lot of Portuguese this summer. I over-heard my Chinese-born daughter-in-law encouraging my son-in-law to “Speak only English!” His English is coming along, and we had several conversations we could not have had last time I saw him. My grandsons, also, are progressing as bilinguals. Yet there were times this summer when I wanted to follow a conversation, and couldn’t. I have been working recently on Chinese, but I need to redouble my efforts toward Portuguese.

  • While I was gone, hundreds of luscious figs fell on the ground. Pity. I must redouble my efforts to see that no new figs go unappreciated while the season lasts.

  • I went the summer without getting any writing done. (Okay, three paragraphs on my novel.) Now I will need to write at the same time I am teaching. I find that very difficult.

So, here’s to a wonderful summer. And now on to the challenges of a new school year. Life is good.


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