My last night in Scotland. We watched University Challenge, a game show that’s been on the air for eons. In it, teams of four students from two universities answer questions about chemistry, literature, philosophy, physics, geography, and so on. It was interesting to me how many students representing British universities were from China, the US, and other countries. I guess it would be the same in the US—half the team members would be from India, Korea, and China.
The presenter read a question: “Ulanbaataar’s famous Sükhbaatar Square features monuments to Genghis Khan, Ögedei Khan, and Kublai Khan in front of the Saaral Ordon. The center of the square features an equestrian statue of what famous leader of Mongolia’s 1921 revolution?”
The kids would huddle, then their representative hit a bell. “Damdin Sükhbaatar!”
“That is correct!”
I got one question correct in the month I was there, and I was proud of myself.
The next morning at breakfast, Lynn was very quiet. When she left the room, Richard informed me they had made the decision to have the vet come and help dear old Cosmo make his exit from this world. “So say your good byes now.”
I did, then we were off to the airport. It turned out they changed their minds about the vet, and Cosmo lived another month or so.
I flew to Heathrow and spent one night in a hotel nearby. My plan had been to go into London one last time before flying out but there wasn’t really enough time. So I had a horrid curry that tasted and looked like cream of mushroom soup in the hotel restaurant, then went to be early.
My summer: Minneapolis to London, London to Copenhagen, Copenhagen to Amsterdam then Utrecht, Utrecht to Salzburg by train, Salzburg to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Addis Ababa, Addis to Axum, Axum to Lalibela, Lalibela to Axum, Axum to Shire by truck and on to the refusee camps and back to Shire and then Axum to Addis, Addis to London, a road trip across Cornwall, Dorset, and Devon; a month in Eton and Windsor, London to Aberdeen, a month in Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen to London, London to MSP.
In the six months since returning to Minnesota: I moved, my mom had a stroke, I helped move her, my son moved. I enjoyed Wisconsin adventures to Milwaukee, Madison, St. Croix Falls, and Garmisch; and I made a jaunt to Washington, DC for work.
Neither of my big proposals got funded but I’ve cranked out at least six more so I am hopeful. As I write this I am checking my work email for last minute changes before I submit a proposal for our program in Ethiopia. It really made a difference in preparing it, having visited in person.
I would love to submit it now, because in two hours I will leave for the airport to fly to Colombia for a week of R&R. I’m flying the first leg to Miami with my friend Roxana. From there, I will fly to Bogota and she will head for Medellin, where her daughter Gaby is in grad school. Rox’s friend Ricardo is coming to join her from Lima, Peru. I’ve met him before; he’s good fun.
I will meet a familiar face in Bogota—Lynn. After a couple days there we’ll fly to Medellin, where we’ll meet Roxana and crew. That will be fun. We’ll also fly to Cartegena and spend a couple nights in Tayrona, a national park on the coast.
We’re trying something a new—a sort of guided tour for two. There will be someone to pick us up at the airport and take us to our hotel. We’ll have guided tours. All our hotels and internal flights are arranged for us. But instead of being with a big group, it’ll just be us.
I know, it probably sounds complicated. But I’ll just put one foot in front of the other, do the next thing required thing, and try to unwind after six months of moving and family crises and winter.