It feels very weird and all wrong to be wearing shoes inside! And to sit on a western toilet, and even though in Auroville I mostly used utensils to eat, still feels weird even now.
I miss being in buildings that have no closed windows. It's strange to feel encapsulated. On balance, I'd have to say I prefer structures without closed windows and more open-air features. I'm so accustomed to being more in touch with what's going on outside at any given moment. Right now I'm sitting in the Wuthering Heights Community Club House, there is forced air, the a/c is rattling a bit, I'm in my sandals (and sweatshirt! ha ha haa!). Such a different experience than two or three days ago, and for the past three months!
Okay, it's actually...what the heck is the name of this place my aunt and uncle live in? How long can I use jetlag as an excuse for poor memory? Details, details....
I drove a golf cart to the clubhouse so I could use the computer and do a bunch of blogging and picture uploading without hogging my Uncle Chuck's computer for hours on end. Unfortunately I cannot upload pictures from the clubhouse computer. But back to the golf cart! It's all good fun! (my birmingham brother Matt says this; sometimes I've wanted to hit him for saying it, especially when I want some sympathy, but more often than not, I end up laughing instead of staying in pity mode)
I would totally trick out that golf cart if it was mine. I wrote to my friend Camille that it'd definitely have an Indian-style garland or two wrapped around the front and back end, and crazy decals and shit, just like the auto rickshaws there. Everyone has a golf cart for buzzing around the community here. So I hopped in with my new bathing suit and headed over here for a dip in the pool, maybe the jacuzzi too.
hang on hang on - no way did I drive here in the bathing suit!!!
My uncle and I went to Trader Joe's today and loaded up on food! Good times! So good to be back in the US! (although, okay, I do miss a good open-air market and I aim to find out if there are in fact farmer's markets here in Tucson like I've read rumors of) Then I went next door to Marshall's to find that bathing suit. I was so happy to hear some catchy 80s pop music being piped through the store. And to find clothes that actually FIT ME.
In India, many of the clothes - at least the ready-mades - are all geared for very slim and small-boned people. Which is not me. I found two articles of clothing in India to purchase that actually fit me and that I like; the rest (even the ones I hired a tailor to make) I left behind.
So I'm back in America, and I found a skirt that I absolutely adore (the grow-and/or-shrink-with-you kind). And a tank top (also stretchy). It's hilarious. I spent like a bazillion times more money on my bathing suit, skirt and top than I did for two weeks' accomodation in a nice guest house. Too funny.
I am really feeling like I am on vacation here though. That is also funny. And curious.
As for my family reunion: I felt very teary for about a day solid, and weepy in my heavenly comfortable bed the first night with fluffy pillows, because I am now fully realizing just how much I've wanted family and missed that in my life. I'm not talking about close-friends-family. I mean blood family. I keep looking at my Uncle and seeing ghosts of my mother, and familiar familial features. Uncle Chuck and Aunt Marti call me Tor (or Tori - my Uncle Chuck is the one in the family who has always called me Tori), which I respond to in a very visceral way. No one has called me Tor since my mother died (well, I've seen my dad once since then and he calls me Tor). I love it. I have really missed that. And I am also feeling happy sad a lot. Regret that my mother didn't keep in touch with family, and that I never really thought to, even after we were estranged and I didn't live with her; even after she died. I didn't even realize I missed any of it until very recently. I'm also experiencing a resurgence of grief about the deaths of my brother Christopher and my mother. But I think now that more of my feelings aren't in shadow, this can be a healing time for me.
I have had the idea that I wanted to be greeted at an airport by family. I thought about this when I first set out to travel. The thought of arriving solo and unknown, anonymous, in foreign and far-off airports, hasn't been very appealing to me at all. There is a part of me who is very adventurous and loves to go off exploring and doesn't mind doing things alone. I haven't honestly realized that I've been lonely for family, for the missed experience of being surrounded by family and the shared/accumulated experiences and memories.
Uncle Chuck and Aunt Marti greeted me with a sign! Just like I wanted! I didn't even have to ask. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them both. They're a real kick.
I have some harrowing travel-here stories to tell you, but now I'm hungry AGAIN (this happens when I am on the road and traveling, I've noticed) and I still want to go for a dip in the pool. So, it'll have to wait. Same with the pictures.
And I have to say with great relief and much happiness, how nice it is to be warm but not boiling and poached and stinking all the time no matter how much I shower. My skin is actually not-sticky everywhere all day and all night. I LOVE IT.
It's good to be back.