I first arrived in Paris in November 2008 at 9:30 in the morning after a red-eye Aer Lingus flight that had been less than comfortable. Once I reclaimed my life at the baggage claim (stuffed into three suitcases) and negotiated a taxi into the city using my best Fren-glish, all I wanted was to drop off my things at the new apartment and take a walk. I needed to take some photos and convince myself that this fairy-tale city was my new home.
Unfortunately, this never happened. My camera had, somewhere over the Atlantic, given up the ghost. The display screen in the back had died (well, not quite, it was black streaked with purple dancing stripes), and the camera was not wired to work with only the viewfinder. Which begs the question why it was there at all. No matter, I took a few deep breaths, stretched my legs and enjoyed the view. Once back home, I tossed the faulty equipment in a bag I keep for miscellaneous electronic appliances and promptly forgot about it.
Until this weekend. On a somewhat mad quest to tear apart my home, clean it and then put it all back together again (i.e. spring cleaning), I ran across the camera again. Looking a little battered and the worse for wear (I am hard on my toys, hence the breaking) I decided to double-check that no photos had been left behind. Sure enough, there were about 50, although several featured the ominous black screen and dancing purple line warning of imminent death. Those that remained document my last few weeks in Boston. Farewell parties, weekend trips to western MA (including the State Fair), an election in full swing and plenty of last minute pictures with The German. It was sort of like finding $20 in your pocket, except with priceless memories.
Overall they left me pretty homesick, especially during the long holiday weekend. But today I am turning that frown upside-down and going to enjoy sharing some of them with you!
A day trip to Shelburne Falls, MA. The main feature of this small town is the “Bridge of Flowers”, an old rail bridge over the Deerfield River that has been converted into a lush garden. After exploring the garden (and peeking into the Obama party) The German and I wrapped up our day with a late lunch on the deck of the West End Pub watching the river flow by.
A day at The Fair. I took it upon myself (as a good American) to take a group of foreign colleagues (with the help of a few locals) to The Big E (Eastern States Exposition – like a state fair – but for many tiny states at the same time). We saw the animals (on display at the Farm-A-Rama, pictured above), rode The Fire Ball, ate cheese fries and saw the butter sculpture. I passed on the deep-fried Twinkie – patriotism only will get me so far.
Lastly, a few images from my last week in the US. The German and I took a well-deserved vacation. We flew to Denver and drove to southern CA, over the Rockies, through Zion Canyon and past The Grand Canyon. It was amazing to be able to share the wonder with him, as he saw all these places for the first time. We stopped to have lunch and stretch our legs in Grand Junction, CO and found quite a few pieces of interesting art (especially the buffalo of mirrors, above).
At the time, being so aware of my immediate departure, I tried so hard to cram each day with poignant moments and happy memories. Now, from thousands of miles away, I am so glad that I did. These lost glimpses into that time mean even more to me today. No matter where in the world my adventures take me, in the end there really is no place like home. Especially when there is fried dough involved.