First Date!

Leona and Sam held hands this evening, after spending the day taking turns sleeping and engaging in tandem crying. 😉 Leona was quite frightened by her potential future mother-in-law (they were starting to connect by the time we left). Sam spent most of his awake time just checking everybody out, generally unperturbable. 🙂 At 10 weeks, he’s got that alert gaze now, really seeing and noticing things.
Told told us (for the 47th time) that Salem recently made the top 20 list of best places to live. We did make it in to the Peabody-Essex Museum (oldest museum in the US), and saw Yin Yu Tang – the reconstructed 19th century house from China. Another museum-goer attached herself to Li once she heard him translating and explaining things for us – we had a hard time shaking her, even though she had clarified that he wasn’t working for the museum. Li was his usual kind and generous self, answering her questions and interacting politely. Todd vanished at the first whiff of intrusion, Carolyn and I hung in for quite a while. Finally, though, being unable to rescue Li without being rude, we, too, left him to extricate himself from her greedy clutches. (Not that WE had an selfish reasons for wanting to keep him to ourselves!) 🙂 We learned a lot of neat stuff that I’m sure wasn’t in the official “audio tour”. Including tidbits about what seemed somehow “out of place” – such as placement of furniture and other items in certain rooms. Li seemed to have a bit of cognitive dissonance – felt like he’d been “home” and couldn’t quite place himself in Salem MA when we departed. (His navigation skills once we were in the car were alright though, better than someone else we know…!)
I got separated from the group for about an hour – went to the restroom and was seduced by retail therapy. Found something for my mother’s upcoming birthday, and a little something for a little someone I know and was missing. 🙁 While I was lost, Li, Todd, and Carolyn checked out Havana, architectural photography by Robert Polidori.
Cheri and Qun finally showed up with the babies and I got to babysit for a whole half-hour! Leona and I checked out the plants and gift shop. She really wanted to eat one of the ferns.
After the museum, we walked out toward the lighthouse, then past the House of Seven Gables before heading out to the Boardwalk in Willows Park for dinner. The only casualty of the day was me stubbing my toe on the concrete picnic table.

One thought on “First Date!”

  1. It was a wonderful day and there was a lot to remember. It was “my second date with Salem.”
    Actually the trip started out great: with the match-makers sitting in the frint seat, I got my first chance to sit beside Leona since her birth, rather than in front of the steer. So I was very relaxed, savoring the scenery along rt. 63 while chatting with Steph and Carolyn. I asked about other areas within the States that are “hilly” and “wooded” — the expressions Carolyn kindly hinted me in a subtle way. I was asking because at some moment I felt I would miss this place when I leave. What is this called? Signs of (predictable) nostalgia? We talked about tenuring and I also learned about the cultural significance of Salem, besides its reputation as a crabbing site!
    Arriving at Salem was noon. Beautiful weather, beautiful day. Todd and Cheri’s apartment was very comfy, despite Todd’s loss of his study to Sam. Persi (?) enjoyed the fact that he is not in human shape and slept on the window sill most of the time. But before that, he did check out each of us, no less politely than the security people. No wodner Sam could sleep so well. Leona was fuzzier than usual when she woke up. It seems that she tends to cry when seeing Cheri, which was very unusual for Leona. But more impressive was how calm and patient Cheri was to Leona and that Leona began to accept Cheri before we left. Sweet!
    PEM – Thanks to Todd and Cheri for the arrangement. Yin Yu Tang was more than a house in the PEM. It was a multimedia project, very interesting in itself, but I was more curious as to what the visitors get from it, how they put it to interact with their extant frames of reference.

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