I traveled almost everywhere, growing up. It took years. The landscapes, flora and fauna, the art, music, cuisines and curse words all seem to blend together in my mind.
Mount Fuji, the Rhine, the Himalayas, the Chattahoochee, Shenzhen, Washington DC, the Alps, and Appalachians, Moscow, Beijing, Dublin, Portland, Paris, Atlanta, London, St. Petersburg, Tokyo, Rome, Wuhan, Berlin, the Yangtze, the Mississippi, Saint-Tropez and LA - are all jumbled up in my brain, like old, wrinkled maps in a glove compartment.
My mom has total recall - she can remember every day of her life since her mama handed her a faded yellow and blue rattle when she was 6 months old - God gave me the glove compartment.
Still, some things are unforgettable, like an electrical storm breaking around Mt Everest, the lights of New York City, at night, from a helicopter, glittering on the horizon like a queen’s crown. The Danube, from a riverboat under a too-bright moon and the elegant poverty of Italy.
In some ways, I grew up like an exile because we moved every couple of years and I’d have to start my social life all over again - usually in a different language. Every place we left seemed a lost paradise, and each new place seemed cold and harsh.
Speaking of home to harsh transitions, November recess is over and we’re back in New Haven - with two weeks before final exams. Welcome to exhaustion week (weeks).
This morning I started going through my syllabuses, and after a week of holidaying - they seemed like indecipherable relics from a different world, a world of papers, tests and stingy-fun. I’ve so many things to wrap-up, my brain can’t seem to contain them all, I’m a gadget that’s out of memory.
I used to take my books on vacation, to remain in the ‘game’ mentally and stay ahead of the grind. Not this time. Hey, growing up, I’ve had my moments of ‘developmentally appropriate’ rebellion - in this case - I wanted memories to hoard, like inoculations against the coming work and loneliness cycles.
My parents are both doctors who traveled the world to teach (heart surgery) and treat (for free) the poor who would have otherwise died.