little travel stories

R1-08290-010A

Flight somewhere between Mexico and Houston, 2011. I was reading Rilke, decided to take a break and placed the book on my lap, face down. The man beside me glanced over and asked how is the book. I said really good. We soon started talking about books and our jobs. He told me his wife is a retired nurse and they own a little ice cream shop in Arizona and some of their teenage workers have a hearing impairment.

Come and see us if you're in the area. My wife will make you her special ice cream and you can talk to the kids in sign language, he said while handing me his business card. I smiled and said thank you, remembered a long-ago summer when I took a sign language class for the first time, how sad and broken I was, how signing and not talking helped me through my pain. Later, I wrote this in my journal: it's amazing how forgotten stories come back to you in the most random places

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Night market in China, 2001. We walked side by side, falling behind from the rest of our group who were busy shopping, neither of us interested in buying anything. It was my last night in Xiamen, the end of our 5-day cultural exchange trip, he was one of the graduate students assigned as our guide by the Chinese government. We immediately hit it off, always talking to each other, we both were interested in international relations, literature, learning. Finally, here is someone that I can really talk to, I thought.

Do you think you can fall in love with someone who doesn't believe in a God, a higher being, he asked. I looked at him and didn't say anything. All around us shopkeepers were almost shouting, inviting people to look at their wares. I remembered catching a glimpse of fake designer bags, the smell of street food, how our hands were nearly touching, how my feet hurt from walking, how everything was filled with so much energy. It all seemed unreal, even the beautiful boy beside me, the one asking questions that my 21 year-old self wasn't prepared to answer.

10 comments:

  1. Beautiful post. I love little stories like this and you tell them beautifully.

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  2. Those fish waffles look amazing!

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  3. So subtly romantic! Beautiful post.

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  4. What a beautiful story. It brings back memories of when I was 21.


    Camila Faria

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  5. odessa, hmmm... i remember that story that happened in China. i wonder where he is now. do you know? =)

    i really miss you. i'm thankful for this blog you have, it keeps me in the loop about you. hope to see you soon, my friend.

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  6. pretty story and lovely writing :) Is that taiyaki stand in the Japan Town in SF? I kinda recognize it.

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  7. love love love your blog!

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  8. thank you all for the kind words.

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