Although the weather in Kathmandu is about as idyllic as G-d created, springtime in the Himalaya, with warm, cloudless days and balmy, quiet evenings under the protective gaze of Shivapuri, I've come to the States for a couple of weeks to keep our global family together w/ me as the string that ties my own life and unites the Asian and American branches of a loving clan.
I've come primarily b/c Mom had a heart attack two weeks ago. Since none of us expected Mom to have cardiac problems, it caught all of us by surprise and concern. When I go off the plane in K'du after a lovely five day vacation at the BKK Marriot by the Chao Praya river, there were a queue of messages on my cell phone. The first was from my sister, Claudia, saying Mom had a 'massive heart attack', then a series of messages from Mom herself saying she was in the hospital for 'tests'. Hmmm...
I immediately called Claudia's dear husband, Louis, at 2 am to find out the reality. He reassured me that Mom was ok, but that she had suffered a serious heart problem, even w/o knowing within the past two weeks that was caught on an EKG when she went in for tests as she was feeling weak and tired. That EKG landed her immediately in the hospital in West Palm Beach where they began treatment for the loss of about half of her left ventricle. She was there for four days, then home to recover. Claudia immediately came down for a week, followed by my little sister, Avery, and now moi.
With my working world having taken a 'sabbatical' at the end of March, I had been planning on spending a few weeks w/ Mom and Dad in Florida in October, but with this turn of events, I quickly made reservations to come to be w/ them after Avery left for home and flew out of K'du on Monday evening on Eithad via Abu Dhabi to NYC.
One of the pleasures of not having full-time work, of course, is the time to be able to be w/ family in such situations. Actually, my first week 'off' was spent w/ Ezi and Ms. Leah at the Marriot in BKK (while Shaku participated in Nepal's first election in nine years). Then, Scott, Sochua and Malika came to K'du last week for a week during the Khmer New Year. Scott and Malika have been coming regularly the past five years for an autumn RnR, but this was the first time Mu Sochua came since they were all here for the Great 2000 New Year's celebration. Now, I've the time to spend two weeks in the US w/ M&D, then up to see Joshua in Massachusetts.
I'm still a bit hazy actually since I only arrived here 24 hours ago, just in time to see the Liverpool vs Chelsea game at my parents. My Eithad flight landed at JFK at 8:30 am (almost exactly 24 hours after leaving Kathmandu...), then I caught a 10:50 am JetBlue flight to West Palm where M&D had a limo pick me up to take me to their home for the 2:45 pm kick-off, as they were at the doctor's for a check-up for Mom.
Naturally, there are many 'visions' in my thoughts in coming 'home' to the States. The fights are actually just a blur of movies (Eithad offers 74 int'l selections on the small tv screen on the seat in front of you), magazines, meals and mental mist. I did enjoy watching a Filipino love story, a film about Nelson Mandela in jail (with Joseph Fiennes starring as his South African jailer) and a third film that I can't even remember right now (more mental mist...).
I'll write more about the impressions of a long-term expatriate in my next post. I'm still trying to balance my own life realities while I'm being called to the kitchen for a tunafish lunch...