Oh my goodness, where does one start?! First, let me say that I absolutely adore the climate of the Northwest. Now that I have been back to the swamps of suburban DC (because, as we all know, DC was built on a swamp), I have much more appreciation for that which is not high levels of humidity mixed with lots of heat. The first few days I was back in Seattle, the temperature hovered in the mid 60s and I was in heaven! Plus my feet were no longer swollen, so that helps.
What a week! It was so very wonderful to be home again. Marty and I are finally getting along now, I think mostly because I have grown up and decided to allow the majority of what she says to roll off my back. She doesn’t even know that what she says could be considered tactless or even rude, and she wouldn’t believe you anyhow if you told her. The only time it bothers me is when she criticizes Dad because almost everything she criticizes Dad about, she’s guilty of as well. But it’s simply a lost cause.
I was able to catch up with so many people while I was home. I saw my neighbors, who managed to get me through my high school years without killing my parents, as well as what I like to think of as the matriarch of the neighborhood. I hadn’t seen her in years, but surprisingly enough, she hasn’t changed at all since I saw her last. I saw my friend Mike from college, as well as Ben. The latter I dragged to the Folklife Festival in DC with my family and me, which I only regretted when my parents began to argue over parking in the city. I don’t understand why Dad insists on getting upset because every time we go to DC, he has a devil of a time trying to find parking. This time he tried to be courteous and find a parking spot within reasonable walking distance of the Mall since I am now seven months pregnant, but Marty being Marty had to backseat-drive and direct the poor man. This of course caused a flare-up between the two of them that completely embarrassed me. Apparently shouting is their preferred mode of communication, however. It seems to work; they just celebrated nineteen years of marriage. Or they’re just too darn stubborn to leave one another. One of the two.
The Festival itself was enjoyable, although it was a lot smaller than in previous years. They had three sections this year — a section called Nuestra Música (“Our Music”, being the music of Latin America), Haiti, and the Maritime industry in the Mid-Atlantic. We began and ended at Nuestra Música, and surprisingly enough, Marty didn’t plan our entire day out like she normally does.
We saw a mariachi band playing that was really good, and Dad bought their CD as well. He was a bit disappointed, however, since he wanted instrumental mariachi and there was singing on every track on the CD. There was one lady in the Maritime section that was singing sea shanties that were used on the fishing vessels of the region, but as we sat and listened to her presentation, I kept whispering to Ben, “More music, less talk!” She had a long-winded story for each and every shanty, stories that took longer to tell than it did to sing the shanty. Haiti was pretty interesting, although I didn’t look at a whole lot. I was getting pretty tired of walking by then, and the heat was seriously getting to me. But Ben tried the sugar-roasted coffee popular among Haitians and said it was super sweet. I was just about out of water by then, so I declined it. Besides, I don’t like anything super sweet. We ended up back at Nuestra Música and saw a father and his two daughters playing the marimba. They were from Guatemala, just like my brother, and their marimba was wooden and gorgeously decorated with images of the Maya and their temples. Mark thought the younger daughter was hella hot, but he got an attack of shyness and didn’t talk to her. When I told Dad about it later, he teased Mark and told him he should have gone up to her. Dad had bought their CD as well, and since Marty had bought the Festival program, Dad had their phone number also. Dad told Mark he ought to call her up and offer to fix some problems they had with producing their CD, but Mark declined. It was pretty funny, seeing the two of them banter like that.
The Fourth of July weekend we spent up in Pennsylvania at my grandparents’ home. My parents thought to give me the fold-out bed to sleep on since I’m pregnant, thereby taking the Aero Bed in the sunroom. I nixed that idea — even though I’m pregnant, I’m young enough that I can sleep on an Aero Bed without repercussions.
Three of four of my grandparents’ children were able to come for the Fourth of July, so there were a ton of people at my grandparents’ home. I was able to see my favorite cousin Aubrey, who is my favorite partly because she is simply the one cousin I know the best! She and I are just two years apart, so we grew up together. Plus most of the cousins are male; the one other female cousin that was there is twelve this year, so we haven’t got much in common. The only thing that marred a wonderful weekend is the obliviousness of the cousins that live in Russia. They’re American missionaries there, but they are simply not familiar with rules of etiquette. They refused to go home (they were staying in a guest house) late at night, and showed up at our grandparents’ house before most people were even out of bed in the morning. It’s not fun to wake up to kids already descending upon the house first thing in the morning, and I’m not a morning person under the best of circumstances.
The coolest part of the weekend was hanging out with Mark. We’d been pretty close for most of his life, which is a little surprising considering our age difference, but I was afraid that he was going through one of those phases where it’s “not cool” to like your siblings or want to have anything to do with them. Fortunately, my fears were unfounded. Just like when he was little, wherever I was, there too was Mark, and it was so neat. I don’t really approve of his choice of careers since he wants to go into the rap business (and I don’t approve of rap), but he’s passionate about it and I will support him. It’s good to see he has a passion, and he knows what he wants to do. He’s one up on me in that respect!! I still don’t know what I want to do, other than be a good wife and mother. But that’s no longer politically correct, to simply aim to be a good homemaker and mother.
The trip home was soooooooooo long and drawn out. I was just so glad to see Seattle again, although it was pretty neat to see the Salt Lake in Utah on a stopover. I didn’t realize it was such a HUGE lake! One of these years I’ll have to see it for myself, instead of just from the air.
But as Dorothy said on her return from Oz, there simply is no place like home, wherever that may be.