It’s been awhile since we’ve done one of our “in retrospect” posts. Actually, it’s been a long while since D. has devoted much attention to doing posts of any sort other than “links” posts for classmates, and we’ve determined that … well, that’s about enough of that. So.
The two photos to the left may or may not have been taken on May 1, but were at least scanned into the photo scanner on May 1, which is close enough. They’re photos from one of our favorite places: Palm Desert. No, not Palm Springs (that derided mecca of matching pastel track suits and golf widows), but of the desert proper. Palm Desert is fantastic because it’s a really small town, stuck way out in the middle of nowhere, and it has a series of hot springs with pools. We love to swim, and are particularly enamored of being able to swim in varying temperatures of mineral water. We have happy memories of this place … including the memory of renting a hotel room which was absolutely saturated with cigarette smoke, and which we fumigated with some absolutely horrible incense (nag champa) in an effort to combat the stench. T. will claim that D. just can’t relax and take a vacation, so awakened them at 3 in the morning to drive back to the Bay Area. This is a lie. It was all about the stench. Truly.
When we first arrived in Glasgow, we discovered Kelvingrove Museum. It’s the second-most-visited museum in all of the United Kingdom, and we really understand why: it’s a fabulous place. Some (*cough*, Mrs. B. *cough*) say that it’s not organized properly, but we’ve found that it’s an enjoyable place to visit, particularly on a rainy day, or on a Sunday when there are organ concerts. We’ve spent many happy hours at Kelvingrove. It encourages you to linger and investigate, to explore and try to understand the past. It has bits which are obviously for children, and is mostly a teaser for history: it says, “there was all of this stuff going on, please continue to investigate.”
The museum used to belong to one guy (Lord Kelvin) and was his town home. It’s very hard to fathom something so immense just being somebody’s house for occasional use, particularly when you consider what’s packed into it today. Its collections far exceed what’s on display, as is the case with so many museums, but if you’re good (and have a silver tongue) you just might manage to work your way behind the scenes and see some of the things which seldom make it to the public eye. It’s not just a museum, is the point: it’s someplace which collects rare items so that they’ll be preserved for further study.
Adjacent to the museum is Kelvingrove Park. We particularly enjoyed wandering through it when we lived in Glasgow, as it’s a great example of an urban park. Fountains, ponds, ducks, roses, and the floral gardens make it memorable for most. Additionally, fabulous views of the University, and a quiet space in the midst of all of the chaos which is Glasgow were what made it a haven for us. Also, the random cat.
Of course, around Glasgow there are any number of interesting (and odd) things to see. 19th century iron cobblers’ forms? Yep. Just hanging out on the side of the road somewhere. Randomly-painted doors? But of course! Antique, blown-glass windows? Certainly! Glasgow is such a hodge-podge of the historic and the modern. We’re glad to be out of the noise, and away from the students (if we never hear someone singing at 2 a.m. again, we’ll be quite happy), but we truly enjoyed “Glesga” while we were there. Glasgow has so much, bodged in randomly amongst the detritus. You just have to really get in there and look to see.
If you ask anyone from around here what they think of Glasgow, they’ll either love it or they’ll hate it, and that love or hate depends upon whether you love it or hate it: everyone seems to have this love/hate relationship with “the filthy city.” It’s huge, it’s a conglomerate of a bunch of neighborhoods, each of which has its own character and history, and it’s truly its own place. Only if you’ve lived there would you be able to truly understand what Glasgow means, which is to say that Glasgow is an unique experience. Neither entirely good, nor entirely bad, Glasgow has been… an experience.
As we prepare to leave this island, we’re looking backward, remembering how we got here, and who we were back then. We’re wondering what it is that we want out of life. We’ve lived in so many places, now, and have found things we love about them all. What is it we’re seeking? As others ask the question we realize that we don’t really know. The next adventure? Just to prove to ourselves that we aren’t going to be so busy working that we forget to live? Just to escape responsibility, in the form of children? ☺ Does anyone, ever, really know what they want out of where they’re going, unless they take the time to stop… and ask themselves?
In the interim of answering some of life’s deeper questions, we have a short-term plan: we’ll be living in Kilsyth, the town that introduced curling to Scotland (what a claim to fame!) for a few weeks, and will stay there until our passports finally make their way back from the UK Borders Agency (they told us this morning FOURTEEN WEEKS. They had better be exaggerating. If we have to miss niecelet’s graduation…). At that point, we’ll pin down our plane tickets and will return to California for a break of several weeks. We’re still awaiting a job offer from the company based in the Dutch Antilles (and will update you as we know details), but fully expect them to come back with something which means we’ll presently find ourselves on yet another island – this one much more like Arizona, but surrounded by the blue Caribbean. The vast majority of our belongings will eventually make their way to California and go into storage until we send for them, and we’ll be living out of 4 suitcases for the foreseeable future.
Life remains undefined, at this moment. The past holds countless gems which we treasure. We can now put them away, knowing that the future will hold even more.
-D & T