Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Do I dare to eat a peach?

The title is for you Eliot fans out there. The pictures are just because they are funny. We've had a lot of fun with Emily doing solids. I love that from the start, she has insisted on holding the spoon. We load it up and hand it to her, and she does the rest. Hence the mess, I guess. Enjoy!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Oh, London

This past weekend, some alums from my London study abroad program had a DC reunion. It was wonderful catching up with people that were there for such a pivotal period in my life. We all agreed that London changed who we are and the direction of our lives, and I've been thinking a lot about that the past few days.

The most obvious change it brought into my life wakes up beside me every morning. I frequently quip that Rob is the best souvenir ever. London is a fabulous place to meet your future spouse. We didn't date there (not for lack of interest on his part), but we shared so many wonderful experiences. Most were group-based, but some were exclusively ours: walking the streets of Rye eating fish and chips, touring Shakespeare's birthplace, and strolling along the Thames after visiting Cambridge. I've spent a lot of time extolling the virtues of Rob on this blog, so I'll keep it short, but marrying him was one of the smartest things I've done. So much of my current happiness is because of him.
Living in London also changed the way I viewed the world. My sense of history completely changed. I remember a time when the civil war seemed like the distant past, but walking around structures built by the Romans in 100 AD gave me a new perspective. London taught me to view my culture through the eyes of an outsider. Sometimes I liked what I saw; sometimes I didn't. Attending the theatre and viewing art taught me to analyze the world around me, and it taught me the importance of hearing perspectives different from my own. It taught me to embrace the inner nerd and do things I'm passionate about. And it taught me to take advantage of the unique opportunities wherever I am.
I'm grateful for that experience, and I hope to return someday.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Portland, part 2: Pictures

On multiple occasions during the trip, I told Rob that Portland was so beautiful we should move there. And on multiple occasions during the trip, he told me we couldn't afford to live that close to Powell's Books. Let me tell you, I was the proverbial kid in a candy shop. But don't worry, I only picked up a few books for Emily. But man oh man, there were a lot of great books there.

Anyways, we snuck away for an afternoon to give Rob's grandma a much deserved nap, and went down to Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Valley. Gorgeous. Some more pictures:

Other fun pictures: great grandma hanging out with Emily and Abraham:

One tuckered baby:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Portland, part 1: Mourning

We recently returned from Portland. It was a good trip, and my head is bubbling over with posts, which will gradually come out as I dig myself out of the pile of dirty trip laundry and get pictures off the camera. But I wanted to start by talking about the reason for the trip, which was to attend Rob's grandfather's funeral.

I had never met Rob's grandfather. We spoke on the phone on one occasion, and Rob had told me stories about him along the way. For me, his death brought on a different kind of mourning than I was familiar with. I was mourning an absence. I learned a lot about him during the memorial service. I learned about his strong work ethic, his thoughtfulness, and his generosity. I learned about the time in his later years when he fell in a hole trying to chop up the roots of a dead tree (after being strictly forbidden to do exactly that job), all because he missed being able to do work for those he loved. But I have no memories of him that are my own. And neither does my daughter. I can tell her stories about how she loved to play with her great grandmother's necklace, but I have no stories to offer her that connect her to him.

Although I missed out on forming a relationship with him, his passing allowed me to form new relationships with his wife, children, and grandchilden. I got to stay up late talking with Rob's grandmother after everyone else had gone to bed. I learned about his uncle's sense of humor and his aunt's thoughtfulness. I talked to Rob's cousins about their travels in India and the pros and cons of librarianship. They are wonderful people, and I'm so grateful that there were family gains despite the loss.