I’ve been traveling a lot since I returned to America, and I am alleged to be writing about travel, and yet somehow travel within these United States feels less deserving of catalog. But that is my own stingy prejudice, I know. I spent two weeks in Chicagoland and a week in Ann Arbor—sampling local cuisine, attending local cultural events, and visiting local farms—all of which I would be proud to advertise if it were in Vietnam or Laos. Why not here?
So. On we go.
|Sophia examines her trophy in private|
|Fresh in the husk|
|Ann Arbor farm|
|Although I complain about eating meat, I feel better about eating pigs after spending some time with them.|
|Cucumber and beans being prepared for CSA delivery|
|Vertical gardens, although it's hard to tell|
We also started quilting. I am addicted, now, to patchwork, in all forms. I bought a book on it, at an Ann Arbor book sale. With pictures of the Baltimore album quilts, of which I'd never heard.
|A quilt at the American Museum, not my photograph|
|Knitted patchwork, not my photograph|
|Called a scrap-buster, but my favorites are the crazy quilts that use randomness as an organizing principle|
(not my photograph)
|Something called domino knitting, where each block leads into the next--again, randomness, and I love it|
(not my photograph)
|Spirit, under construction|
|Beach made of marble|
|Regatta in fog|
I’m hungry all of the time because of no more Thai food. Meal here consist of meat. Bread. Cheese. I’ve eaten my last moo daeng, pad Thai, pad see eu, curry, som tahm, gai yahng. I’m already forgetting how great it is to hear Thai, see Thai, speak Thai—food, language, people.
|Moo daeng (red pork--okay, it doesn't look like I'm protein-starved based on this bowl)|
|Late lamented pad Thai|
Every so often I catch a whiff of it here, in this air that smells like nothing, a whiff of the dank, fetid, rich smell of something rotten and it remains me of home. What I wrote in my journal the first morning in Bangkok was:
It smells the same. The humid air. That eucalyptus and incense smell in the morning. The mildewed bathrooms.
Is it the lack of light and vitamin D that brings me depression here? Is it the meat-heavy diet? My brother attributes the exponential rise of depression in modern America to the toxic hormones in our factory-farmed meat, animals that live and die in trauma, and the stress hormones in their bodies that go into ours. In Thailand I lived on vegetables and rice and oil. I ate fragments of egg and meat in almost every meal, but barely more than fragments. When I bought a chicken skewer at the market I wolfed it, protein-starved.
Or am I deluding myself? I had plenty of anxiety and depression in Thailand, too—fear of locals, fear of strangers, days when I just wanted to speak English and order pizza and stay in my room.
Or is it just aimlessness now that I’m back, not knowing what or where I want next?