A Tumbuka lad in exile (tiwonge) wrote,
A Tumbuka lad in exile

Second birthday

Last week was my birthday. Again.

Apparently, the last time I updated was right after my first birthday this year.

I don't think most people noticed that I had just had a birthday recently. I think I got three comments about having a second birthday in three months. And one person who was suspicious of my last birthday didn't express suspicion this time.

My conclusion: most people don't pay attention to birthdays. I am kind of impressed that 3 people were aware enough to remember wishing me a happy birthday recently.

I won't change my birthday on Facebook again until after my real birthday. I don't need people to wish me Happy Birthday 3 times in a year. So, only those who know it, I guess.

Right now?
My left arm is peeling, but not my right. Driver's burn, from my trip back from Atlanta during the 3 weeks between the end of the semester (when grades were due) and the start of the summer session. Going west to east, I didn't get burned because the sun is to the south, on the other side of my car. Going east to west, by left arm got burned. And it's peeling now.

The High School National Championship Tournament (HSNCT, an NAQT quiz bowl national tournament for high school students) was held in Atlanta over Memorial Day. Which happened to be in the 3 weeks between the Spring semester and the summer session, so why not? 3 weeks to drive to Atlanta and back! (Drive, rather than fly, because Grandma wanted me to visit. And this way I could also visit Syracuse. Well out of the way, but I don't know the next time I'll be up that way. If my trip from NC to Idaho can go through the Everglades, by trip from Boise to Atlanta can go through Syracuse.) And I hadn't been to a national quiz bowl gathering before. I really hadn't experienced quiz bowl outside the northwest, so it would be a good experience for me.

It was fun, even if fate conspired to keep sonria from meeting me that weekend. I stayed with the parents of some people I know here in Boise, at some expense to me (they'd have put me up free at the hotel since they were renting conference rooms to host games in, and I had to commute). Other people's families are always fascinating, and these were no exception. I can't believe how calm and rational Rich is after seeing the home life he grew up in. I mean, it's not like I grew up in a quiet, peaceful house (not with 9 kids, and some stubbornness to go around), but it wasn't anything like the fiery passion their mother put on display. Except when she was alone with me, but I think I have that effect on people. I have a gallon of holy water and a bottle of holy oil in my trunk that she gave me to take back to her kids. For exorcism, she says. And she wanted me to label them because they're powerful stuff, in case I should get in an accident and somebody might not know what they are in my trunk. (She also wanted me to take some other stuff back with me--some sort of bread, and grapes, and I don't know what else. I got the sense that they were also blessed or something--from her church, at least, but I wasn't sure about them, so I left them in the freezer when I left.)

I was fortunate. I first noticed my car leaking when I was in Illinois, two days into my trip. I pulled the car out of the driveway, and there was a pool of something there. I thought it was oil (because when I'd had my oil changed before, the mechanics had noticed a small leak), but I'd never seen it leak enough to leave a puddle. At my next stop, in Ohio, I parked on a hill, and it leaked enough to run down the driveway some. And then Syracuse. As I left Syracuse, a new light flashed on my dash. I don't pay attention to old lights--"Brake" and "ABS" and even "Check Engine." But a new light is more worrisome. I called Dad and pulled over at the next exit (in that order). It turned out to be the engine coolant level, so I got some water and filled it up. (I also picked up a hitchhiker there who was heading to PA, but decided to all the way to VA with me.) At the end of the day, I was at my parents in NC, and the next day we took my car to the local mechanic. And it's a good thing. They found all sorts of stuff that needed fixing, probably thousands of miles ago. They said I probably wouldn't have made it to Greensboro from there (much less back to Idaho). The leak turned out to be from a broken pump. They also replaced my front and rear brakes--they were metal on metal--and the serpentine belt. All in one day, because that's all I had before leaving for Atlanta. I was probably lucky to make it that far, and I don't know how much further I would have made it without the repairs.

In Tennessee, I briefly spent time with Mom before she left to go back home. My niece is learning to drive, and I got to be the licensed driver accompanying her as she went job searching. She also took me to the mall to get shoes. Her father won't let her drive with her friends who have licenses--he doesn't want to endanger them. But me? I guess he doesn't mind that. :) I played basketball and frisbee with my 8 year old nephew, and had a nice visit there altogether. When I visited my sister in Colorado, she also took me shopping, and I got some new pants. Dad had been wanting me to get new pants for a while. He told me that if I wasn't going to get any, maybe I should return the $50 he gave me to get them. So I guess he's happy about that.

And I arrived in Boise the day before class started. One class this summer. 24 students. Quite doable, after last semester, when I taught three times as many. Not nearly as much homework to grade.
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