Sunday, January 3, 2010

Saying Goodbye

Richter Fortunes

Our time together in paradise is coming to a close, so the day was about saying goodbye. Monica and her family came for a breakfast of strawberries and cream and leftover ham and cheesecake and apple pie. It is rare that we are all together, so we took the opportunity to take photos and to reminisce and remember.

Maupiles and Richters

We had expressed so much enthusiasm for Busch Gardens and had planned to go each of the last three days; today was Edouard's last chance, so despite the biting cold weather, Maya and Tara, Eric and Edouard and I piled into the car and picked up Jason on the way (his truck broke down, so we had to turn around and find him, try to sort out his car trouble, failed and then left the truck and brought him with us) and found our way to a very empty and faded amusement park. The flowers and bushes were covered with protective sheets, the animals were hidden from view (staying warm in their inside cages), many rides were closed and the energetic joyous feeling of the place was entirely absent. It was too cold to enjoy the rides, although the children were delighted that there were no lines at their favourite rollercoasters. We tried the 'Rhino Rally' which was a jeep ride through the Serengeti, and which we all enjoyed. I lost my enthusiasm for roller coasters (I never had much anyway) and spent most of my day waiting. I wanted to get out of the kitchen and walk around a bit, and I did accomplish that.

We saw Edouard off at the airport and said goodbye to Monica and Thierry. At home, my parents were stressing about their departure tomorrow. The security procedures are more intense now after a recent terrorist attempt at blowing up a plane, so I think they want to get to the airport hours early. I can see that they are sad about leaving and overwhelmed with the anticipation of travel. I felt as if we were saying goodbye all evening, and everyone was getting sadder and sadder at the prospect.

We will leave for Baltimore on Tuesday. I have to present two lectures for the Johns Hopkins intersession course on January 8 and 9. I must read and prepare over the next few days. Last year I was far more ready at this point, so I am concerned that I have not been studying and preparing already. I do have the slides from last year, but I do have to brush up on details. I have been far too busy these past weeks to do much, so tomorrow that will be my focus. We will travel with the students Jan 10-23, and Maya will join us again. Although I have joined the students on three occasions in the past, it will be a different feeling now that Quito is my home and Ecuador a familiar place for me. I look foward to being 'home' again, and to be seeing my new 'home' in a new light.

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