**Mozart and Gonzo update-it's not cheery news. While in America waiting for my UK visa to be granted I tried to find Mozart and Gonzo. Their new people prefer not to share-when I asked for pictures they declined saying I needed to let go. I have lost contact with my mogs forever. I feel terrible, as though I abandoned two trusting companions, and I feel so badly that I wonder if I have the right to bring a new mog into my life. Paul wants to start searching the rescue facility, and I am holding back. Things change, I've found-what if I have to abandon yet another poor soul?
So I compartmentalize, I don't think of it. Until I see a ginger or a tuxie. Then I start to cry.
Back in the UK since the 18th of June, I'm watching world events unfold (gotta love cliches when they fit) with some apprehension missed in with the interest. Having friends all over the world will do that for you, and thanks primarily to the cyber world I have friends literally everywhere on the face of the planet. Not to mention the friends met through travel and assignments to 'divers foreign spaces'.
I've 'met' people from all corners of the globe since going online back in '04; through attending university online, through current events forums, through the cat's blog. Some I've met in person but most are still cyber-friends no less dear. So the increasingly frequent and higher magnitude of earthquakes and volcano eruptions have personal importance to me; the tsunamis, the tornadoes, the cyclones, hurricanes, and of course, the endless wars-I know people affected and sometimes open the inbox with hesitation.
I have a dear friend in New Zealand who has suffered terrible loss in the Christchurch earthquakes-her nephew was first listed as dead, then alive but missing in the hospital chaos, then finally and sadly found-dead in the rubble of his office. Now she is sitting at what is her mother's deathbed, and struggling with the ambiguity of loving someone who is dying with whom the lifelong relationship was fraught with the mother's 'eccentricities' as regards child-rearing. My friend told me about a month ago, when it looked as though her 92yo mother would last forever, that as a child she was afraid to be home alone with her mother because of the constant verbal (intense) and physical (relatively mild) abuse. The abusive nature of her mother continued into my friend's adulthood so naturally my friend is the only person in the family who took the job of designated family carer of the mother.
Last Thursday afternoon my friend's mum had a massive stroke and isn't expected to survive. Meanwhile aftershocks continue to jostle the inhabitants-imagine sitting in a hospital room at the deathbed of someone who made your life miserable and enduring constant earthquakes. It must feel like being trapped in a war zone.
I have friends who do volunteer work in Haiti-they too endure the war zone atmosphere. Friends in Africa-the same; friends in Latin America-the same; friends in Japan who are coping with what must be the ultimate triple whammy of the quake, the tsunami, and the nuclear horror unfolding at Fukushima.
Closer to the personal hearth, I was in Alabama about 150 miles south of Tuscaloosa when the tornadoes shredded the town and all points north. Neighbours in the southern AL town my son lives in parked pick-up trucks on the neighbourhood streets with signs saying "For Tuscaloosa", and we loaded those trucks as full as we could with things we knew from experience would be of the most value to the stricken. The trucks filled, would depart and simply drive north until they hit a neighbourhood in need.
One afternoon I was making an early supper for my grandson, he informed me daintily that he didn't care for the meal I was about to provide. I looked at him for a second, debating if it was time to remind him how very fortunate he was to have a meal at all, much less a choice. I decided it was and asked him if he had ever in his life gone to bed hungry.
Of course the answer was "No ma'am", and I got as far as "Well, there are children.." when he interrupted to say "...in China, I know, I know..."
So I sat him down, looked him straight in the eye, and said "No, 'Bas, there are children right here in this town who go to bed hungry every night, wake up hungry every morning, and are unsure if they will have anything to eat at all in any given day."
I told him there are children at his school who never ever have enough to eat, who are ALWAYS hungry-ALWAYS. Yeah, he ate everything on his plate, and yeah, he tried to figure out how to help those kids in his own town as he ate, and yeah, I felt pretty good about the whole 'raising my grandson's awareness factor' thing.
I made it out on the last Continental flight to go airborne before the United-Continental computer system crash. I almost didn't, but thanks to a very determined United-Continental gate agent, a place was found for me on a United flight into Newark with bare minutes to spare before my flight to the UK lifted off. My bags caught up with me the very next day, and yes, I have written Continental to tell them how very grateful I am to their team.
The flight across the Atlantic was made miserable by the airhead seated in front of me who insisted since her seat reclined and she'd paid for her ticket, she bloody well would recline into my lap for the entire seven hour flight. She further insisted on leaving her seat back reclined when she made the restroom trip, making it perilous to try making the same trip myself. Made worse when the landing cards were handed out, and it turned out the row ahead of mine (all of whom travelled with their seats reclined whether or not they were in those seats) were all Americans.
The Scots I sat next too murmured to themselves "Oh, right, that explains it" when the Ugly Americans raised their hands for landing cards. When I raised my hand for mine my row mates looked at me in shock, and I apologized for my ejit countrymen.
FFS, when flying economy, please DO NOT recline your seat unless the seat behind you is somehow miraculously unoccupied!
Things are going insane everywhere, be careful out there! While in America I walked softly and tried not to attract attention, lol, hard to do when I walked everywhere in an area where between heat, humidity, and social status, walking anywhere is considered stupid, eccentric, and dangerous. Can't tell you how many times I was swerved at as I negotiated neighbourhoods where strangers are not welcome.
While travelling home I kept a firm grip on my little rolling laptop bag and watched the TSA agents VERY closely-rumours abound but it is distinctly disconcerting to find there have been several convictions of TSA agents (including supervisors, in Newark) who helped themselves to valuables while the owners are separated from them in the security lines! I had about two hundred American dollars in my purse stuffed deeply into my carry-on, my laptop, my wristwatch, my passport and boarding passes-all manner of things stolen from carry-ons while riding the belt as the owners are being scanned and wanded and patted down. Apparently even carry-on food has been stolen by TSA agents, and I checked my bag carefully before leaving the security area to make sure everything was still there.
I foiled at least two attempts to steal my rolling bag (seriously!) when both would-be thieves dared to reach for my bag gripped firmly between my ankles and permanently fused to my right hand at the telescoping handle; I foiled at least three tries to pickpocket me by thieves using the distraction, and the bump methods. All this in the Atlanta airport, btw, and the would-be thieves were not people you would expect to be thieves. I've never travelled with such deep suspicions clouding the journey, it was upsetting, frankly.
But finally I was home, and with my husband:)
And now I feel guilty for having left my son behind. When I embarked on this newest expat career last summer, I hadn't had any contact with my son for over four years. Now I have got on a plane after spending four months getting to know my son again, and it was VERY hard to leave him! I feel torn-I love my husband, I love my son, and you know what, both have professed to needing me. I left Fox with paid up bills, a clean flat, clean clothes, organised budget, etc, but I still feel as though I should be closer to him, and to my grandson.
I came home to a clean-ish house, a garden ready to plant, and a husband who'd missed me so much he was sick with it and thought his cancer had returned. We went straightaway to his oncologist, had several tests and scans done, the upshot of which is that my husband should be getting back into shape instead of eating all the wrong things (if anything-apparently he didn't eat properly at all) and throwing himself into 18 mile bicycle rides and pulling out tree stumps! I looked at the doctor and said "Ah yes, weekend warrior syndrome!"
So we are on a steady exercise programme, and a proper diet again.
It's good to be home. Now, if I only felt confidant about Fox being OK, things would be as near perfect as things can be.