Sunday Postcard 5
Lotus fields, Siem Reap, May 2018
couple weeks ago Eric and I joined a bike tour from our hostel to watch
the sunset over lotus fields outside the city. I haven’t ridden a bike
in six years and was wobbly and nervous. After the hour-long ride out,
where I was solidly at the back of the pack, one of the tour leads asked
if I’d ever ridden a bike before. It was embarrassing, but not as bad
as the ride back when I catapulted myself into a ditch (I was fine,
thank goodness). I’ve spent the time since then being thankful I wasn’t
hurt and thinking about failing in public. Most often, my failures are
private - if a pitch or application gets rejected, it’s between the
editor or admissions officer and me. I don’t often have to be bad at
something in front of someone else, much less a tour group or collection
of kind bystanders watching me get pulled out of a mud puddle. Maybe
it’s something I should try to do more, though probably not on a bike
for a while.
Ann Arbor, Michigan April 2018
Every morning when I walked to work I looked
at the reflection of the graduate school in the mirrored windows of the
modern language building. The beauty of the older structure captured in
the new(er) one was a favorite view that I usually admired alone. It
felt like my own moment on a campus that is always full and in motion.
Krabi, Thailand, May 2012
Eric and I arrived in Krabi on an overnight train. The ride left me
disoriented and I woke up at dawn our first morning. We searched for
breakfast on nearly-empty streets. A woman walked through the main road
towards a temple on what I soon realized was a daily route. She left
food in piles for the stray cats and dogs that wandered around the area.
By the way they followed her, it was clear they expected her. It was a
rare chance to see the evidence of how someone matters to other
creatures, how much others rely upon someone’s acts of care.
Night Sky Hotel, Da Nang, January 2018
woke up to a power outage at our hotel. The hotel still served a full
breakfast by candlelight. We listened to the rain outside while the
chef, an older woman, instructed us on how to properly season and eat
our noodle soup. I devoured mine along with the mini creme caramel she
served. The women working the front desk insisted on high-level customer
service despite the outage. They carried luggage almost as big as they
were up the many flights of stairs, as the elevator wasn’t running.