Aparna in Mozambique

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


First of all, yes, I know, I have not posted in nearly a month. Excuses? None other than my last two weeks before I went back to the U.S. I was running around like a chicken with no head. That, and I was feeling uninspired to write. I don't know why, but I just couldn't get myself to write about the ins and outs of my days. And I did have some great ones. I remember the day that I spent the whole day riding my bike (called miss india pictures will follow) around Beira to get groceries and do errands. I remember the days that I spent meeting with my colleagues to continue discussing medicinal plants and what our next steps would be. And there were lots and lots of days of watching DVDs with my friends, which strangely enough, became a little bit of our obsession in the last two weeks that I was in Beira. I wasn't really the hugest fan of Grey's Anatomy while in the U.S. but somehow in Beira, Grey's Anatomy has become hugely entertaining to me. I know, some people are cringing. I am in in for the surgeries and the action I swear, which are actually, pretty cool although totally unrealistic.

So, where am I now? In a little hotel in Joburg, wasting time before I have to go to the airport. Yes, I got up an hour and a half before I needed to leave just so that I could post on my blog. It really has been on my mind.

I went home mostly to attend a friend's wedding. I have to say that some of the intricacies of the Christian wedding were lost to me and I rediscovered this past week. I also discovered what being a maid of honor actually means. Who knew that I had to spend the entire ceremony holding my friend's flowers and fixing her skirt (or "train" as they call it). Things that never occurred to me. I also did not know that the maid of honor had to give a speech at the dinner. Ooops. My speech was funny and short (or at least people laughed). The best man gave this completely heartfelt tearjerker speech about what wonderful people my friends were. Talk about a little bit of a role reversal. I felt like I didn't do enough, but hey, I also hear that the maid of honor speech is something made up anyways.

Overall the wedding was wonderful and I tried my best to enjoy the party and stay up after 10PM. This is something I would seriously have to work on if I plan to attend any other weddings. I would hope that if in fact someday I were to get married, I would have a serious coffee before the whole ordeal to make it past the 10PM deadline. I don't know when this happened to me, but I am pretty sure that 26 did me in and turned me into this person who can't stay up past 6 year old bedtimes. I wonder if other people experience this same phenomena.

The rest of home was spending time with my family, friends, and working on some applications for last year. And oh, of course, the first weekend was dedicated to the bachelorette party, another exercise for me in staying awake. Good times though. While home, I had two meals at my house that were catered. Something completely new to me. Nowadays, when we have people over my mom prefers to cater south indian food so that everyone can relax. The food was great, but I have to say that I miss a little bit the madness of trying to cook for our growing family and the huge steaming steel pots of unlabeled food....there is something charming about the long preparations for the long awaited reward of eating. But oh well, now we were able to run errands up until the very last minute before people came over.

So I passed my vacations and bags packed, I am heading back to Beira in a few hours. During my trip last night, two really nice things happened to me. One, on my flight from Chicago to Atlanta, I started chatting with the girl sitting next to me on the airplane, who turned out to be a former Air Force EMT. She was reading a book that she finished and asked me if I had ever read it. When I said no, she gave me the book, stating that it would just sit on her shelf and that I had a long flight so I should read it. I have to say that it is something that I never even thought about doing, but that I wouldn't be completely opposed to do. The book is called "The Memory Keeper's Daughter" and it is next on my list of to reads. I didn't get to it on the flight because of the multiple movie options. Still, really meant a lot to me that she gave me the book and now I am going to start doing the same! Well, that is, if anyone sitting next to me actually chats to me. On my flight to the U.S. I sat next to a 7 year old the entire time who talked to me about tetris and whether or not I wanted to eat all of my food.

The next interesting thing was at the Atlanta airport between concourse T and A. For some reason, maybe because I had 3 hours to kill and knew that I was going to be on an airplane for 20 hours, I decided that I was going to walk around the airport for 3 hours and made it my goal to go to every single concourse, from A-E and T. It was great. I almost didn't go to A and T because they were at the end, but on a last minute whim decided to do so. So, as I am going on the moving walkway, I look to the center and see these beautiful sculptures bathed in spotlights from the ceiling. The whole room (walkway really!) has this dim museum style lighting and then these huge rock sculptures in the middle of two opposing walkways. I immediately hop off the walkway and proceed to spend a half an hour with the statues. They turn out to be rock art from Zimbabwe and the whole display was so beautifully done complete with explanatory pamphlets and pictures of the creation of rock art on the walls. This was something I did not expect to see between concourse A and T I have to admit. I thought the idea was so neat, in a place where people are in transit to get them thinking further about other places. Here is the link for that: www.atlanta-airport.com. Heading back to the airplane, I was sort of in a daze. I then read an article about an "oriental rug" trader who told his story of how the most rugs that he sold were in transit, when people would just glimpse photos of his rugs and then ask him further questions about them. Interesting ideas overall.....here is another description of airport art, a good idea in my book: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/fea/travel/unitedstates/stories/DN-airportart_0916tra.ART.State.Edition1.41f340b.html.

Finally I get on the airplane and the first movie I watch was "The Visitor." The whole movie had this eerie glow to it, like you knew something bad was going to happen. But then there was Tareq, the shining character of the movie, this happy guy who makes beautiful music and shares this with everyone. Just reminds you of one of those people who reminds you that things are really great in the world if you stop and look around. He sort of spreads this feeling to everyone else. A highly recommended movie for those who love music and like hearing people's stories. If you really like music and don't mind kiddish movies, you should also see "August Rush." I also saw this movie, "And then she found me" starring Helen Hunt. Another tear jerker and more on the people's stories side. Slow, raw, and very real. I enjoyed this also. Okay, I am going to stop my movie commentary. But, I am that pensive sort of traveler. I do do my share of reading, but in between I stare off into space, try and chat with people, and get a really thoughtful streak. I considered writing letters and blogs while on the airplane even, but what can I say, sleep took over. But still, I am a pensive traveler. I wonder if others are as well?

Speaking of which, the time has come for me to go to get the next flight...Here is a new fall academic year for many and to all the excitement that fall to winter brings.



Blogger Liripoop said...

A very amusing post - you should write more often, you clearly have a unique outlook on life and experiences.

9:30 PM  
Blogger sue smallwood said...

Dear Aparna,

We're all very proud of you! Thank you for your work and for your representation of Rotary and the USA.

Hope to see you soon!

Rotary Governor Sue, 2006-07

5:38 PM  

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