Soul travel 3

Since those last posts I have scratched my soul travel itch in several ways.

My husband and I flew to Phoenix for the wedding of a delightful young Congolese woman who is like a daughter to us—we’ve known Deborah and her family for ten years. This involved a weekend immersion in Congolese culture and being with Congolese friends old and new. It took me back to the color and joy of Congo without the hassle of Kinshasa traffic jams. It was even hot (much hotter than Congo ever was). Deborah married a handsome American, and he and his family were good sports about it all. Good vibes all around.

A visit to the Heard Museum of Native American Art in Phoenix reminded me that you don’t have to go abroad to visit other cultures. The Navajo rug exhibit—with the artists’ descriptions of their lives and creative processes—is enthralling. Magic carpets! See below.

Upon our return we sealed a deal that will put the three current African residents of the Pink Lady into the next stage of their lives. They, too, are traveling on, but not far—just a mile away into a house they will rent from us with the intention of buying. The process of asylum and independence moves erratically and at different paces for the three of them and their friends, but gradually they are acquiring the means of independence. People help them and they help each other. Our three now have two cars—one free and one cheap—but only one driver’s license. They are ecstatic to have their own house. Moving day is a week away. We will stay on this journey with them.

The prospect of an empty nest and cautious Covid freedom for the first time in a year and a half means we can once again have family visits. I am happy to stay at home if our beloveds can come here. We count on several visits in the next six weeks. Yay!

I’m trying to count going to a dunes beach on Lake Michigan the equivalent of swimming in exotic waters (which I have done). It’s less than an hour away. We take our housemates—it’s big-deal fun for them. My soul loves those wide waters. I deliberately swim beyond my depth and beyond the buoys when there is no lifeguard.

I’ve begun exploring my next soul trip. I want to revisit Japan with my daughter and granddaughter. Japan is closed up tight now so we have plenty of time to plan and prepare for a fun and meaningful trip. Meanwhile I can watch the Olympics unless they shut the games down because of Covid.

Thinking about Japan I started to brush up on my Japanese through an online Rosetta Stone program. Soon I was bombarded with tempting language-learning ads. I ended up buying a lifetime subscription to any and all languages on Rosetta Stone for $179. Yes, this is my idea of fun. Learning a new language is exponentially harder at my age but mostly I’ll be reviewing and improving the ones I have already been exposed to—especially French, Japanese, and Russian. I want to travel in Japan. I want to understand Parisian French better in movies. I didn’t get far in Russian because I first studied it and traveled there in my 40s, but speaking it was a hoot. Incidentally, Rosetta Stone was developed by a genius friend of ours who was in Congo/Zaire with us in the 1970s. He sold it no doubt for a ton of money, which I’m sure he is putting to good use.

Armchair travel. My husband and I snarf up series and movies from elsewhere—we’re pretty adept at subtitles. I read lots and lots of foreign authors, mostly women, and books set in exotic places—like the one that set off this soul-travel itch. Recent favorites have been Salt Houses by Hala Alyan and Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi, both set in the Middle East. Of the more than 75 books I’ve read since the beginning of the pandemic, about a third were by foreign authors. I guess I should review more of them and pass on recommendations. I’ve been lazy. Maybe from now on? That is a resolution sort of like losing weight and getting in shape. I’ll believe it when it happens!

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