Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Perspective II

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Our old friend John came through town this weekend (he's the one on the right above, with his good friend Andy). We hadn't seem him in six years, but he hadn't changed much. I adore John for several reasons, including his ability to recite poems in their entirety, for introducing me to DDT and more recently Sun Kil Moon, and the way he is carving his life out on his own terms. But the middle child in me will always adore John for being the one who came back for me when I got "left behind" at the Vlad Motor Inn.


We were Peace Corps volunteers in Russia at the same time, but John was one of the city volunteers and I was a decidedly "village" volunteer, living 20-some hours by train from Vladivostok. I don't even remember why I was in the city without Bri, possibly an English teacher conference or something. I was staying at Andy's I think, and a large group of us had gone out to dinner together, to this crazy, Howard-Johnson-styled place on the outskirts of the city. A new group of volunteers had come in as we were leaving, and I got distracted (possibly by the running water in the restroom) and discovered my group had already left for the train station. I had no idea how to get back to Andy's or even to the city really, and was running toward the train station in the dark as I heard the train arrive and leave. I kept walking toward the station, pretending I knew where I was going or even if there was another train coming, when I saw John's silhouette heading toward me. So happy. Still happy just remembering it.


I felt self-conscious during John's brief visit. Our town normally lends itself to entertaining visitors, but it was just too hot to hike. John has continued traveling around the globe and is currently teaching in Beijing. Which makes me feel like my life is extremely ordinary in comparison. But I'm learning to embrace ordinary.  Strawberry popsicles on the deck while the boys spray each other with the hose. A glass of wine with a great dinner made by Brian. Simple pleasures that make me feel extraordinarily lucky.






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