Easy does it

It has been a week since I last wrote. In the meantime we have had christmas in Easthampton with our family, and then in Berlin (MA) with Jim’s family.  I am writing christmas with a lower case c because we didn’t sing any carols or went to church or talked about baby Jesus or peace on earth.  It was a family affair with gifts and Christerklaas poems and as such it was nice.  One of the nicest parts of this christmas was that I was able to spend a lot of time with Faro and Saffi.

On christmas day I sent everyone out for a walk while I prepared a rijsttafel with 9 dishes: gado-gado (parboiled or raw veggies with peanut sauce), atjar (pickled salad), nasi goring (fried rice), telor bumbu bali (spicy eggs), sambal goring buntjies (spicy string beans in coconut sauce), soybean cake fry, chicken in kemiri nut and coconut sauce, gulai kambing padang (lamb stew Sumatra style), krupuk (crispy chrimp chips) and beef sate with peanut sauce. It is a combination we tried out some years ago on Thanksgiving day and it works just as well on christmas, even for vegetarians. Faro thought the krupuk were potato chips but we let that pass as for him it was the highlight of the meal, that and the boiled eggs decorating the gado-gado.

With the Christerklaas requirements of poems and surprises behind us my vacation really started on Sunday with visits to new and old friends in their brand-new homes, and every night an Agatha Christie before bedtime and not having to do anything at any time, not even physical therapy.

We are going to bed later and later and I am sleeping in longer and longer. Was I still waking up, out of habit, at 5 AM last week, I can now easily sleep till 9 AM. I wander downstairs in my robe, have a cup of tea and stay in my pajamas until well after lunch time. And then we decide what we are going to do with the rest of the day. This includes some chores like painting or decluttering but more non chores like reading, knitting, going to the museum and dining out.

I think about my recently retired colleagues who are, more or less, in my age cohort. This is their new life. I wonder how quickly all this freedom would get old. For now, I am enjoying this temporary break in my heavy work schedule before I start to travel again, next Monday – first to Arlington (DC) and then to Thailand.

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