I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.
As I'm unpacking my suitcase and remembering so many details of my latest journey, I'm once again humbled by all of the amazing people whose kindness helped me along the way. On a smaller scale, I'm 'crowdsurfing' like Amanda Palmer--allowing myself to be supported by the generosity of the people (especially strangers) around me. A few memories:
--the waiter in a chain restaurant where I stopped briefly to get warm on a long-ish walk in the snow. He was out of tea and admitted that their coffee was terrible. He brought me several cups of hot water (without charge) so I could use my own "emergency teabag".
--finding super-friendly staff & overstuffed chairs for reading and relaxation at The Tattered Cover and Under the Umbrella cafe.
--the hospital archive making an exception for me to spend time deep in the bowels of the basement (in the 'restricted section') poring over records. And the woman who was overseeing me, keeping me supplied with jasmine tea and a kind word. And the random hospital worker who helped me find my way back in the maze of hallways and locked doors after I stepped out to find a restroom.
--Meeting up with friends and colleagues at the WHA conference: sharing tasty cafe food (and not-so-tasty hotel food--ugh!), dips in the hot tub, and late-night pub conversation.
--My uncle's yum breakfasts: toast with homemade jam, banana pancakes, over-easy eggs.
--Meghan's delicious vegetarian dinner meal, including pumpkin pie for dessert (my very very favorite!). Meeting her kids, her spouse, and her crazy kitty was awesome, too, as was listening to Brandon's inaugural concert at Metro State.
--a SuperShuttle driver who gave me extra-detailed directions for navigating the remodeled Denver airport (oh, and not to mention the hotel concierge who ran out into a rush-hour-trafficky street to wave down said shuttle).
--two friendly young nursing students at Caribou Coffee who insisted that I didn't look old enough to be getting a PhD (oh, if they only knew...)
--all of you on twitter and Facebook who "liked" my posts, who sent me notes of encouragement and whose support made me feel braver and stronger than I truly am.
--the remarkable synchronicity of meeting Sara at the Walnut Room, along with Jolie Holland and her partner Gray. Lounging in the green room before the show, Sara treating us all to a "take your chances massage" (oh, how did she know exactly what my poor shoulders needed?) and feeding me her amazing homemade Thai soup. Then, Jolie listening to my plans for rooting around in the archives as she prepped for her gig. My favorite of Jolie's lyrics: "I'll dance at your funeral, if you dance at mine..."
--you great Denverites who smiled back at me.
--the flight attendant who, after seeing how sore and exhausted I was last night, bumped me up to Business class and gave me an entire row to stretch out and sleep on my flight back home.
--And, to make all of this possible, a thanks to the International Center for Writing and Translation for financially supporting my work this year. And huge kudos to my beloved John, GameBoy & CatGirl who are unflagging in their encouragement...and who nourish my pilgrim spirit better than anyone else ever can.