Wednesday, May 29, 2013

On the Road in America

another rapid exploratory trip to the us to see loved family and friends...

first we had the joy of seeing joshua graduate from georgetown university.  our #1 son reaches the pinnacle of his education after years at lincoln school, northfield mount hermon, georgetown and a year at soas in london.  it's been a long ride with six years away from kathmandu on his own, mostly, yet with with all the experience and learning that comes from such intensity and challenges.

with mom among us in the slight drizzle on the georgetown yard, we sat and cheered as josh walked across the stage to receive his diploma and the congratulations of the university.  josh smiled and strolled with his gown and chappals into his future.  that evening we gathered at an italian restaurant w/ bagi, shakun's sister, lena and suraj to toast joshua on his achievement before he starts a two month internship at the G'town B-School working on Himalayan Spirit 8848 company.

then, we went by amtrak train to north carolina to see our friends, sherab & soilan, who have been in nc for 15 years.  sherab was the first nepali friend i made, a tibetan refugee who ran the 'lost horizon' restaurant off freak street when scott, dave, lee & i first arrived in october 1979.  then after he and soilan married they lived behind us in bansbari when josh and ez were born at the same time as rinchen and dechen.  the girls are all grown up now.  rinchen already graduated from UNC while dechen is her sophmore year at duke.

we stayed at their place in raleigh and took trips to asheville and the blue ridge mountains and then to the coast for boogie-boarding on the waves with leah.  what a lovely state!  amazing that we could be up in the mountains one day and swimming in the ocean the next.  it felt so good to be back with these old friends as if no time had elapsed in all those years in between.

the eight hour train back to  philly to see claudia at her comfortable suburban home where the trees and yars have grown so beautifully over the past two decades.  we feel such a sense of home and grounding at claudia and louis'.  the boys have been there over the years for thanksgiving and passover with claudia welcoming their friends there with them.  and my college stuff is still stored in her basement after all these years.

plus my dear friend, chief broken two arms, jeff lansdale and his beautiful honduran-american family were there for his sister christine's daughter's wedding.  claudia drove us over to their hotel where we spent the afternoon catching up, then joined the amazing lansdale family, including tad, the matriarch, jeff's brothers, his wonderful warm and kind daughters, valerie and aimee, at haverford for an evening festivity celebrating both the wedding and their family reunion.

then, with mom and louis, shakun, ezra, leah and i drove up to marcia yawitz' home in the poconos for the afternoon rose family reunion where 30+ family members, all descendants of morris rose (nee moses libschitz along the russian/lithuanian border), my great grandfather, six generations of family, met to share stories, life and the special cocoon of family ties.  it was a precious afternoon with cousins with whom we have become much closer over the past five years.  cousins we hardly knew a decade or more ago, the children of mom's first cousins, the grandchildren of sam rose, brother of my grandfather, ben-henry rose.  ties so deep and revealing that we often overlook in our daily lives.  

basking in that family joy, we continued upward toward the amazing boylan sisters.  spending the night in the beekman arms, rhinebeck after a 1:30 am evening w/ boona, my smith friend alma's brother, who recorded as terrence boylan decades ago.  the best live performances of dylan, joni, irish traditionals and his own exquisite songs ('sundown of fools') heard, probably ever.  just ten of us or so sitting in his 18th c. carriage house home on river road after margaritas, dinner, margaritas, dessert, tap beer, a doobie and a serious swig of scotch...  how lovely is america on such days...

i'm back w/ Smith/Amherst friends, some i haven't seen since the week before Scott & I left the US in in 1978.  Alma is the CEO of a global building materials company, her husband, Jennings, a wood-worker from Maine, while her sister, Molly, has been a writer for Seasame Street and Christian, her husband & Jennings' brother (yes, 2 sisters and 2 brothers...  very Thakali...) was a painter and has morphed into an interior designer/architectural consultant/carpenter.  

Molly & Christian had a place on Park Slope they gave up a couple years ago and put all their good energy into the home we were at last night here in the woods an hour north of Rhinebeck.  Great mixed broadleaf forest.  Stars at night Beautiful.  The house they bought then redecorated inside is so aesthetic, artistic w/ prominent wood features and metal cabinets put together from debris from buildings torn down in NYC.  Plus, a tree house perch looking out across a magnificent, wooded opening out across a visual, expansive gap looking west toward the 'new' world of early America...

We're in a rented house somewhere nearby.  A nighttime drive after a stoney evening w/ the white wine pouring generously among about 14 of us (Shakun, Ez, Leah & moi, Scott, his daughter, Malika, and her northern Irish photographer-boyfriend, Felix++).   So joyful and joyous to catch up after the decades with our kids and theirs around.  Their daughter, Callie, finishing her PhD in Iowa and going back to teach a fiction and film course.  She & I, of course, had a long rap on films and how to teach those Iowa pre-business students.  As Scott said, 'That's what Keith would love to be doing...'  

Plus Ez and Malika who grew up around each other, now in their 20s and full of life, intelligence, opinions and beauty.  The joys we know of seeing our children grow into young people, separate from us, independent yet so dependent still emotionally -- as we are of them...

So, that's us.  For today.  We're going to Edith Wharton's country estate for a day walk, then back for more front porch stories, memories, dreams and affection at Molly & Christian's...

then back to DC to see Joshu again for a few days as he moves from his collegiate world to the brave new world of entrepreneurship and the future ahead.  after which shakun & i head back by etihad to kathmandu while ezi and leah board an overnight amtrak from union station to west palm.

America Ayo!!!

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