When did you get married? Was it a big wedding or an intimate affair? Did you go on a honeymoon? If not, what would your dream honeymoon be like?
Vinny and I will celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary in October. We chose autumn because it is our favorite season. We got married on the North Shore of Lake Superior in a small outdoor chapel alongside a creek. It was a spiritual ceremony, but not religious; we wrote our own vows; and it was supposed to be a small wedding--only close family members and friends but wasn't because, you see, way back when, my grandpa's brother married my grandma's sister (no, nothing incestous--2 brothers married 2 sisters) and the size of our family doubled as a result. 2nd and 3rd cousins feel more like 1st cousins. If we invited so-and-so, then we couldn't leave out so-and-so...and that's how our wedding grew from just a few people to just over 70 people. Small, I guess you could say, by my family's standards.
I honestly have never seen the sky as blue as it was on our wedding day. I'm not kidding--it was in technicolor! Maybe it was just my nervousness or maybe it was the yellow and orange leaves of the turning trees but, I swear, I have never seen a sky so intensely blue as it was that day. Getting married within a circle in the woods surrounded by family was very important to me. Geesh, I'm getting all misty eyed just thinking about it! In some ways, our marriage was a painful time. Vinny and I got married just as my parents were getting divorced. But when I saw Vinny waiting for me at the end of the aisle (well actually it was winding trail), the whole world fell away. Everything but Vinny fell away. It was as though we were somehow in our own glass bubble. Everything and everyone else was there--yet it was only us. Really, honestly--it is the most incredible moment in my life. Maybe someday that will be rivaled by the birth of a child...but so far, standing in that circle of poplar and pine, holding Vinny's hands, was a moment really unlike any other. I believe deeply in strange occurrences of the universe. A cosmic shift? I don't know, but love is a powerful thing.
A couple weeks later we headed to Italy for our honeymoon. I know that sounds extravagant but, in reality, my parents gave us their frequent flyer miles as a wedding present and we used the meager amount of money from wedding gifts to fund our trip. At the time, I was finishing my Senior year as an undergrad and Vinny was in his first year of grad school. I was preparing for my Senior Exhibition for my art degree and we were, well...extremely busy. I'm glad we decided to go on a honey moon anyway. We went for a week and a half and didn't even have enough money to go inside most of the art museums. But we didn't care. We kept our travels simple and opted to spend our time mostly in Rome and Florence rather than tiring ourselves out with constant travel. We both fell in love with Rome in a way that we never expected. Our first night there we ate the best pizza I have ever tasted under a full moon with a street musician serenading us (it's not just in songs!). We tried every day to find the restaurant again--but we never did. There are so many details that I'm leaving out, but we believe that it was a moment of magic carved out of the universe especially for us. Some things are best savored only once--but, as for Rome, someday we will return.
Why did you go to India and how long did you stay?
When I was 6 years old I knew I had to go to
I ended up staying in India for 9 months. Before I came home, I used to wake up from dreams that I had gone home too soon and couldn't get back to India. I would wake up in a panic and only calm down when I saw with relief that I was still in India. However, I know I came home when I was supposed to because the day after my return I got very sick and ended up bedridden for nearly 2 months. It turns out, I got a very bad case of Hepatitis A. It is scary to think of what would have happened if I had not returned when I did.
Lately, I have been dreaming of India often. In my dreams I am always at the airport, about to board the plane--but, for some reason, am prevented from it. Usually it is because I lost my passport. The other night it was because I was trying to gather my bags, but I had lost a shoe. I think my dreams will tell me when the time is right for me to return. And I will--because India is my home away from home. It is where my heart lives. It is where I feel a part of me belongs.
What do you love most about living where you live now?
I love it that I look out my writing room window towards endless acres of forest. I look out the kitchen window and see the Minneapolis skyline. I know I've said this before...but we truly have the best of both worlds here with an equal combination of city and nature. I'm not sure I would have adjusted very well to the city without having such a huge park across the street. Now we are spoiled. I spend more time in the woods now than I did when I lived in northern middle-of-nowhere Minnesota. I love walking the woods with my wolfie. And I love all the good restaurants, bookstores, and interesting people of the city!
What are you top 5 favorite movies?
- Herald and Maude--and old favorite. Herald inspired me to learn to play the banjo in my early 20's. I have since forgotten everything I learned.
- The Journey of Natty Gahn--A girl and her wolf hop freight trains. How could I not love this movie?!
- Gorillas in the Mist--I used to want go to Africa and study gorillas like Dian Fossey. Well, actually, I still do. ;)
- Coffee and Cigarettes--short, strange vignettes in black and white. I especially like the conversation between the two old men on the rooftop.
- Capote--I'm a sucker for movies about writers and artists.
This feels like a somewhat theoretical question since I am beginning to wonder if I will ever be done with my thesis. Someday though...I will finish it and, when that day comes, I will truly have a day off. With nothing nagging me at the back of my mind to get done, I would get up when I felt like it, maybe around 8 (or 9 or 10), drink a cup of espresso, and take the dogs for a nice loooooooooooong walk. Then I would come home, take my journal and a fresh cup of coffee outside, and write until my heart's content. After that I'd take a wonderfully long, hot bath, make a light lunch of fruit and cheese and bread and I would spend the rest of the day simply lounging in my hammock in the back yard with my dogs sleeping in the grass next to me with a tall glass of iced tea with fresh mint and a good book. No interruptions--just books and dogs and good food, long walks, bubble baths, little naps, and nice weather. Yes, this is definitely my idea of heaven.
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