Sunday, May 16, 2010


My last trip occurred about 5 years ago.  I recall cathcing my breath as we circled for landing, admiring the bits of land and sea as the plane drew closer to the ground.  I met a driver at baggage claim, feeling terribly adult and quite nervous as we made our way through tunnels toward town.  I checked into a hotel with equations printed on a throw, a robot standing sentry in the hall, and was so impressed I could barely stand it.

I asked about places to see as I navigated the interview process, my version of small talk being "the city seems nice - what should I do while I'm here?"  What I did, in fact, was head back to curl up under the equations, sleeping fitfully as I prepared to fly to my next interview.  As I flew away from the scenic spot on the east coast, I felt much like I did when leaving LA a few years later - a bit melancholy because I knew it wasn't home and doubted I'd be back.

I have eagerly anticipated my return since learning of the opportunity, feeling blessed that I get to travel to amazing places and not pay for anything other than keepsakes.  Photos are free though so I spend a good deal of time wandering around and soaking in the scenery.  Some smart commenter noted that I seem happiest outside and I thought it rather insightful.  I rarely explore buildings (other than cooing over my hotel room - I love, love, love hotels) from the inside, peering instead at my map in a quest to cover as much ground as possible.

Having arrived and downgraded my room type to check in early (always happy to do that - I hate checking luggage and not being able to freshen up when I arrive), I decided I was hungry.  So I ordered room service while I unpacked and got settled.  Then I decided I was a little tired.  And I didn't feel great.  Tempted mightily to lie down on the fluffy bedding and nap, I nudged the sheers aside and looked out my window at an undeniably gorgeous day.  Packing my map and camera, I dutifully set out to explore.

I got lost, of course, finding myself between Washington and Franklin, then Summer and Winter, before giving up.  But my impression of this American city - apart from delight that I can take a direct flight, not check bags and not need my passport - is that it possesses a sort of timeless and effortless elegance.  Flowers bloomed tastefully.  People were clothed comfortably - stylish and pretty but the colors were pleasantly muted and, even when I started to look, I failed to find a single person looking trashy.  I approved even as I felt intimidated, settling carefully on a green bench in the pretty park and smiling at the dogs as they trotted by and the children ignoring the signs while they fed the ducklings. 

I skipped over the stately shops, knowing I brought plenty of clothes and reminding myself that I'm trying to finish the last of my credit card debt.  I was not strong enough to withstand the bargains though, nudging people for space and rifling through racks at Filene's and ending up with a couple of tops, two new bras and a necessary pair of flip flops (my sneakers were giving my Stockholm blister a new layer of painfulness).  Pleased with my purchases, I sniffled and limped my way back to my pretty room. 

My class lasts most of this week, albeit with people I vaguely know and have decided to like a whole bunch and with a good amount of downtime that I hope enables me to watch some baseball and get on a boat.  I'll keep you updated as time permits.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You write well. Not just this one. I'm tired of reading so I'll stop now. Just wanted to say thanks for some good entertainment.
You brought me with you to some wonderful times.

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