Locomotives and Roses

"I decided I would put off the novel until I had gone to Europe and had a lover."

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According to my Instagram recently (or in the last three months).

I keep forgetting about this blog; I’m negligent! This summer has been busy, but I wouldn’t have it otherwise. I have a feeling August is going to fly by, and next thing I know I’ll be back from vacation with a new batch of pre-kindergarteners! Gotta get working!

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Happy Father’s Day to my dad! Your unwavering support and trust have made me who I am today. I love you!

Happy Father’s Day to my dad! Your unwavering support and trust have made me who I am today. I love you!

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I finally saw the Chihuly exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. It was underwhelming in terms of size, though definitely not in terms of impression. Very beautiful. I really hope the Red Reeds will stay at the museum; they’re one of my favorite things there!

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It’s Pinterest’s fault! I haven’t updated my Tumblr because of Pinterest! The end of this year is feeling a little overwhelming, but only because I feel like I need to get organized before the start of the new one. I have resolutions, you know. And books to read. And blogs to not neglect. 

Since my last post, I’ve hosted a Friendsgiving, spent Thanksgiving in New York, decorated my apartment with holiday cheer, and sent out my first Christmas card. I’m growing up! I think I’ll do a separate post for my decorations, because I want to show them off. I don’t know how many times in December I said, "Let’s invite them over!" or "Do we have to go out, why don’t we have people at our place?” just because I wanted to show off my tree. 

So here are some pictures of the past two months. 

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My brother and his girlfriend probably will be spending next summer in Sri Lanka, where my uncle lives and where I spent five months back in 2009. I’m so excited for them, and I want to micromanage their weekend itineraries for them! They just need to know where to drink real coffee (not the instant stuff they assume you want), and where to find alcohol on the full moon when the country goes dry, and how to find busses, and how not to get ripped off by guest house owners, and where to find my old friends. AND THEY NEED TO LEARN THE RULES OF CRICKET!

My trip there was life-changing for me, and I hope it changes them as well. Even though I had spent time in other countries before (including a longer-term semester abroad), I feel like my time in Sri Lanka really shaped my independence, my “white girl in developing nation” worldview, the traveler that I am today, and the relationship that I have with my uncle. Also, of course, my acquired love of cricket. 

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It’s no secret that I love the VMFA and I go there any chance I get. I had a rare Friday morning off of work, so I met my sister and her baby ward for some gallery browsing.  He got in trouble for walking around barefoot. Then he almost got us kicked out for making loud chirps and hums in an empty, echo-y room.

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Salina Vacation, part 2:

I had hoped that we’d be able to get a boat excursion over to the island of Stromboli, because I had practiced saying “The volcano is erupting! Run!” in Italian, but mostly because I had laughed through the movie of the same name and that last scene was AWFUL AMAZING. Unfortunately, tours were sold out, so we instead went on a shorter trip to the neighboring island of Lipari. The boat captain was hairy and smoked a cigar and laughed as he threw me the orange life ring buoy to float into the caves. 

We took evening apéritifs at friends’ hotels and celebrated Ferragosto with a lot of food and fireworks and cover bands. 

And on the last day we had a cappuccino and went to the beach, ate lunch with family, then took a boat back to Messina. Technically the vacation didn’t end there, since I spent another day and a half in Messina before heading home. But no offense to Messina, it really didn’t have much on Aeolian Islands (unless you count the giants).

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Salina Vacation, part 1:

I thought in October when I visited Paris four months after leaving the city that that vacation went by too quickly — but this week-long escape to Italy absolutely flew by! I joined Fabrizio and his family and friends on their annual trip to the island of Salina. 

I drank espresso and sunbathed topless, didn’t get seasick or sunburned, and enjoyed romantic dinners, as well as loud, Italian, gesture-filled nights. The beaches were rocky and beach chairs are unheard of; instead, they use inflatable mattresses.

There were fireworks, and strawberry granitas, and mid-afternoon naps. And there were Fonzies

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