Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

Monday, January 10, 2022

sunrise


Sunrise over Lake Michigan on the Northside of Milwaukee (Atwater Park, maybe?). This was just lovely although the rest of the day was a drag. 

If we could afford to live overlooking the lake, I might move. But we can't, and I won't.

Sunday, January 09, 2022

sunset




A beautiful sunset over a stretch of industrial sludge outside of Chicago.

We're headed to Milwaukee to check out one of the places that offered Big A a research gig... and I already feel like nothing good can come of this trip.

Tuesday, January 04, 2022

an international call

 


If you called my extreme condition: you might 
diagnose sister love--but do you know  
about the side effects

when my phone tells me it's her calling
--nausea, dry mouth, anxiety, 
shortness of breath

she knows this and inserts a subject line 
even as I--"hello?" "All's well, Akka,
I just called..."

 international calls are ordinary yet hide
like a virus inside information 
 finding a way to threaten

despite the softness of my sister's voice--
noisy futures sometimes dance 
alongside the old world 

international calls will make me watch--
make me guess who'll partner next 
parents, cousins, other loves

"I just called..." she says "one million cases..."
she says "I wanted to tell you all
 to be safe and careful."

Of course there's no way to be careful enough
(home is: a high school student,
a fast food worker, an ER doc)

I'm in the literal woods now (the metaphorical 
end of the sea), until the sun unhooks itself 
from a cloud shaped like a headache

and sails into the sky without even a cough
just this high, bright, and bored god
bearing messages--but not for me

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Pic: Sunrise at Baker Woods. The phone rang as I was taking this picture, and I panicked when I saw it was my sister as it was kind of an unusual time for her to call me. She was calling because we--the U.S.--topped over a million NEW Covid infections yesterday. She wanted to ask the family to be safe and careful. But how? 

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

stable


Big A is back; my back feels better; got cards and presents in the mail; a few visits (and presents); did our third session of family therapy; ordered in pizza; read together; watched Bob's Burgers (with Nu) and Station Eleven (after Nu went to bed); got my aunt's hopes up about a visit home; celebrated the end of the Kelloggs' strike... 

A long day... the longest day of the year... and it was cozy and a nice balance of Christmas with other good things.

Pic: multiculti altar w/ nativity scene

Thursday, December 09, 2021

newsy



O, hello... it's me... with my adorable furry assistants... trying to be the best new effing co-chair of NWSA's conference in 2022 I can be. (Still not enough writing as I noted in March, but this is huge for me and I hope to learn a lot.)

In other news, I took great pleasure in letting fam and friends know that a Trader Joe's is coming to town--about 2-3 mins away from us. I foresee Big A biking over there for last minute groceries instead of Whole Foods. 

And in other gentrification news, I'm watching with horror--via friends and FB--the intersecting mesh mess of schadenfreude, transphobia, and anti-blackness in the latest Dave Chappelle vs. Yellow Springs clash.

-------------------------------------

Pic: We're all looking at Big A.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

for you too may have / questions about this story


                                                                             
                                                                      the tongue a knife probing                                          
our mom didn't tell this story 
till she was safe home again
how traveling to Chennai 
in the rains--she said--they 

                            the cleft palate of memory 
couldn't tell which was river 
which was road... and then 
went skidding into a ditch...
thanks to the gods--she said--

                           the smile tucked up in secret
thanks to all the gods some
villagers were passing and
they were kind and pushed
our car back onto the road  

                            the lips nudged into detail
then softly: but... they said
some mean things in Tamil 
like uncle is a terrible driver 
who shouldn't have a big car 

                             the gummy words murderous
even more softly: aunty and I 
were in the car, so they said
look at those fatty gundechis
just sitting on their bottoms

                             the mouthful of arguments
But I still told uncle we should 
reward them, give some... thing?
But he said no, that wasn't fine 
they might ask for more next time

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I know the generosity of Tamil people well. When I was pregnant with At, people would keep offering me food even if all they themselves were eating was a paper cone of sundal or peanuts. I am beyond horrified-ashamed-saddened that my family didn't offer anything--payment/a ride/money for coffee-tiffin to the people who may have saved their lives in the middle of a cyclone. (The cheeky, irreverent humor checks out too.)

Friday, November 26, 2021

post-prandial

Went on a hike with Big A while the grandparents hung out with Nu, Scout, and Huck. We headed to Baker Woods and weren't gone very long, but we were the only ones there and it felt like a different world. 

Later, we packed up the grandparents with snacks, cider, and one of the flower arrangements from yesterday's table, and waved our goodbyes as they headed back to Ohio. 

Then a long soak with Big A, a great heart-to-heart with Nu, + snacks + old sitcoms + naps.  

It was the perfect chaser to yesterday.
 

Friday, November 19, 2021

Karthika Deepam In Michigan

So I got my own lights festival after all 😁. KB drove down from Alma and took me to see the tree lighting downtown. Huge crowds everywhere, a lovely full moon, a lit up capitol building, a sparkly nondenominational tree, and holographic fireworks.

I'd been panicking on what to do about dinner since I would get home after five, but Big A stepped up and made his amazing Brazilian seafood soup and his famous tapioca pao and then Kate brought homemade chocolate macarons (with cardamom! because I'm Indian!) and we feasted.

I know some very good people. And they make delicious things.
 

Thursday, November 18, 2021

pooja-fun

I'm heartsore I cannot be in Pondycherry ("is it full of ponds and cherries?" baby cousin A asked once) tomorrow. 

The pooja is tomorrow, but I bet everyone's already assembling now--finding empty bedrooms, screeching helloes, making plans, and having so much fun for Kartika. As Big A reminded me so helpfully yesterday, it is unlikely that I will ever be able to be at Kartika pooja because it's such a busy time in the academic year. 

We usually did the big festivals like Diwali and Pongal at home or with the other side of the family, but the November full moon festival was always the big event for all the cousins on my mom's side. For many years after I came to the U.S., my favorite aunt would sweetly save the turmeric-soaked wristlets for me to pick up on my next trip home, but I haven't been back in years at this point. The nostalgia is hitting hard this year.

Baby cousin B has been sending pictures on cousin chat to keep me in the loop. This picture has so many of my favorite things--the sea, the little Ganesha temple, the tulsi maadam, the new swimming pool, the effortless green everywhere... Gah. I just wish I could be there for at least 24 hours.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

the soft dark


Darkness feels deafening tonight. A student at Nu's school has been missing since last week. I do not know this young person or their family, but many of my local friends do. When I asked Nu if they'd seen the missing child recently, they said that they hadn't "in years." That was such a stark reminder that disappearance comes in many forms. 

I caught a picture of this close to full moon through our skylights just before bed--darkness, shadows, dead leaves, and all... it was nevertheless a kind reminder that in an another part of the world, huge numbers of my family are gathering to celebrate the Karthika full moon soon.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

the elders are (al)right


Took the Cosmopolitanism class to Ziibiwing Center this afternoon; got to chat to Mr. Roy who's given several of my classes the grand tour before. I wasn't able to arrange one this time, but he gave us a short tour anyway. 

The class was standing around, feeling a little out of depth, and Mr. Roy reminded us that the people were Anishnaabe and the language Anishnaabemowin and showed us how everything was titled in Anishnaabemowin and also in English. And then... he taught us to pronounce a word, making us repeat after him: "eh ggzhi bit... now say it all together." And everyone dutifully pronounced it: "exhibit." Ha. It wasn't possible to be stiff after that. 

I noted how people fell silent around the boarding schools exhibit and were startled by the clay people... and then we had some great conversations on our way back to the college. And we got our basketballer to their game on time too.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

suburbia, hedonia

I did have periods of intense industry--checking midterm submissions, prepping and arranging next week's new course, letters of rec., emails, etc. Nevertheless, today felt like the midterm break I'd been looking forward to... It's the ninth day of Navaratri, so it's Ayudha Puja and traditionally a day of contemplation rather than action, anyway.

Long-anticipated trip to IKEA with Big A for some shelving in the basement. Everything gave me intense nostalgia for when the kids were younger and used those plastic dishes and had those stuffies and cuddled in those bed linens. Then we transported everything back and discussed immaterial stuff like how I have a summer and winter wardrobe but nothing that delineates spring or fall... while we took a decadently long soak together. 

Nu had D&D club so we got to pick them up late and then some more soft family time. Tons of to-dos and errands tomorrow.

And I've been trying to write a poem on Babur, but it just isn't coming together...

Thursday, September 09, 2021

sonnet on a commute

the road is a ribbon feeding on itself 
a dream snake

the car is an empty room but for me
the sun glares back 

sultry beyond windows and stealthy  
in the soupy day

I'm wondering if radios will play on 
at the end of the world

as I watch my future burning like fuel 
past lonely road kill

the road keeps coming, a stream of poison
being sucked out of me

my family knows my day from my absence
I pick up the distance and go 

Monday, August 30, 2021

check-in

I video chatted dad for his birthday last night (by myself, it was already morning in Bangalore) and this morning (with the rest of the fam). Video calls are better than audio-only calls, because it's easier for dad to understand what we're saying when there's visual context. I wish I could have been there. I miss my parents.

<<<Amma sent me this picture of a long ago beach day--I guess the beach has always been a happy place for me. When I showed this picture to At and Nu, they chortled at tiny me. One of them claimed: "It's like you took your face and put it on a child's body." I mean, I was a child once.

It's EM's birthday too (just goes to show how astrology doesn't work as she's nothing like my dad!) and BS's first day as a prof. so I took them cake to sweeten their special days.

The rest of the day has been little fires and email fire-fighting and finishing up final edits and diagnostics... classes start tomorrow! I'm my usual mixture of yikes+yippee.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

taking off




We're not even to classes yet (next week!) and already things seem really intense. Meetings all day, student emergencies, a million emails, seeing lots of people I like a lot... I packed a lot into today.

Also Nu's first day of high school. We did a terrific job of getting there nice and early, but I forgot to take a pic. Tomorrow's the first *full* day of school, so we've decided that we can fix our mistake then. 

Everything should come with a safety/retake feature.

Pic from last week: Fam ascending into the Carnegie Art Museum in Pitt.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

hot take

Back walking along the Red Cedar with L today... Scout and Huck heard her at the door when she came to pick me up this morning and went bonkers to see her as she'd been taking care of them while we were gone. Lovely walk; lovely talk; lovely L.

Canceled my planned walk with BS (it was too, too hot and I was way too tired after catching up on housekeeping and new student schedule changes). I was going to cancel my walk with EM too, but she canceled first. Ha. I didn't even have to plead for the pandemic pass as we'd established.

Still thinking of At's impromptu detour yesterday to the Battle of Homestead site. Still thinking and still processing... and so moved by the small donor-funded memorials (physical and virtual) and their commitment to solidarity and workers' rights. 

Saturday, August 21, 2021

@Fallingwater


I've been fascinated with Fallingwater since I first heard of it when I was barely a teenager and lived many continents away. 

I was so happy to be here in this harmonious space today... It was a sweet counterpoint to the one-upmanship of the Pittsburgh skyline.

Back home today to be reunited with Scout and Huck... YAY!

Thursday, August 19, 2021

mini-vacation

 



A quick trip to Pittsburgh... 

my anxious face is hilarious.




Here's a better one of the kids at the lookout after we rode the Monongahela Incline.





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