I have started reading again (I had a few weeks where I could only really read poetry), and have read two good books in the past couple weeks. I have put reviews on Goodreads, so will link them here.


The first book is In Cold Blood by Truman Capote – yes, a classic, but worth its status. My review is here.

In Cold Blood


Second is D.T. Max’s Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story. I am less sure about that. I really enjoyed it, so it got a good rating, but don’t bother reading it unless you have already read DFW, and particularly I think you should read Infinite Jest before you read this book. But if you’re a DFW fan already, go for it.  My review is here.

Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace. D.T. Max

Posted by: roamingolivia | September 10, 2012

Reflections on Ben

(Written 17 August 2012)


Unlike so many on Facebook, I don’t remember the first time I met Ben. I was always aware of him – he was older than me so he was at Rice before I was – and I am sure that I interviewed him a few times before I really got to know him. In fact, I only became really close to him – as a person – when we were in Kyrgyzstan.

At Rice, he was one of a couple people who fit in a particular genre in a young female’s youth: speaking broadly, he fit into the category of “attractive radical”. We had a couple of them at Rice – two stand out – and they were very different. Ben was known as a Christian person who fought for freedom; others wore T-shirts supporting Communism. I never found anyone in this category attractive, so I went about my business at the Thresher.

We developed a mutual respect for each other fighting for freedom of speech on the Rice campus. When I try to explain the battle to people outside Rice, it suddenly sounds like a flimsy battle: a student radio station shut down by the university administration. “The man” snuck in in the early morning and bulled a radio DJ – all as retribution for another DJ playing music during a women’s basketball game, which Rice was paid to broadcast. To the conspiratorially minded at the Thresher, they did this as our newspaper went to press, to prevent us from covering it.

This sounds flimsy or silly if I tell people about it now. It didn’t feel flimsy at the time. We hadn’t slept from putting out the previous edition of the paper, but we put out a special edition of the newspaper. It was finals, but we put out special editions of the newspaper for the rest of that week. We basically didn’t sleep for the whole week. I don’t remember my grades, but they were probably pretty bad.

Like I said, it didn’t feel flimsy. It felt important.

I still think it was.

I wonder, as I write this, if I doubt its importance because I have gained perspective, or because I have forgotten how much I believe in freedom. This week, the Pussy Riot protestors were sentenced to two years in prison for a 55-second, admittedly blasphemous protest. I wish I could speak to Ben about it. I wish we were on Facebook, obliquely observing each other’s support for freedom of speech, even if we didn’t speak directly about it.

Liora started dating Ben when I was studying abroad, so I missed how that relationship grew, and he had graduated from Rice by the time I got back from Poland and Russia. By the time I was back in the US, he was on his way to Kyrgyzstan for a couple years, and Liora and I were beginning our last year at Rice. I applied to the Watson fellowship, passionately (and honestly) writing a personal statement that mentioned my obsession with Russian, and with freedom of the press.

I was in Kazakhstan for the first few months in the region, but when Jeff B. and his friend met while studying abroad in Turkey visited, we visited Ben in Kyrgyzstan. I remember his narrative of Kyrgyzstan well, as I considered myself somewhat up-to-date. His recommendations included a visit to the local historical museum, which included a surreal mural mostly aimed at discrediting the US (there was a skeleton wearing a US flag). One of the first stories he told was that, when they took down the main Lenin statue (there are Lenin statues everywhere in the former Soviet Union), people in Bishkek protested so much that they had to move the Lenin statue to the back of the government buildings. It now saluted the American University. The irony was not lost on Ben, but he was mostly struck by this rejection of the supposed freedom that the region had just gained. It wasn’t what we had been taught about the Soviet Union; we certainly never heard in the US that people protested the removal of Lenin. We all learned that year that things were more complicated than they seemed in the news, or written down on paper.

The next stage of my research was set for Kyrgyzstan, and Ben let me live in the other room in his apartment, which had been used by his friend John, who I think was in the US. The apartment was decorated in an extremely Soviet, brown-themed style, with the relevant ornamental rugs. The kitchen was somewhat functional, but definitely not to a high standard. There was no heating. The main perk was not living alone, and Ben’s standard-issue Peace Corps heater, which probably used the same amount of electricity as all the rest of the appliances in the rest of the building. I moved there a bit before Christmas. It was freezing.

I met some of the other Peace Corps people quickly, and I remember some great stories from their village lives, which I still tell at parties. There was the story about another volunteer who had broken a leg – I think he was hit by a car – and was prescribed a live urination on his leg. Another one had another ailment that could only be cured, in village medicine, by fresh human breast milk. Ben listened to these and other stories so that he could find out where to travel, whom to visit, and what the meaning of the local culture was.

I lived there for a few months – I don’t know precisely how long – and Ben and I were closest when we were at home alone. I have never been particularly fanatical about music, but I love to hear about things other people are passionate about. This made me a good target for Ben’s music lessons, from which I learned to love Tom Waits, Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan and Blackalicious (to name a couple). I was less a fan of the hardcore Christian rock, but we listened to that for an afternoon as well. He threw a plov party – in Central Asia, men are supposed to cook plov (women cook everything else) – but was very particular about it, and I can’t remember if he approved of his results.

We had lepyoshkas – local traditional round bread, with various patterns in the middle – in the apartment all of the time, and we ate them with cheese, peanut butter and various other condiments. We bought our groceries from basements of our or nearby apartment buildings. I never figured out how to say “cheese” (syr) in a fluent enough way. We discussed the local belief that one should never throw away bread – you should eat it or feed it to a dog or give it away or use the crumbs for something. Ben named this as a Muslim belief, but I am not sure if it was, or just a local superstition. It is an admirable belief, and an onerous one, as I tend to take things literally and became afraid of being exiled if I threw away bread (which I often tend to do).

The winter was long and dark, and colder than anything I had experienced, but I remember the apartment as being warm, not physically – I was often freezing and if I was alone at home, I was probably in the bath (we had hot water, if not heating) – but with light. I read a copy of a Krishnamurti and St. Augustine books that Ben had lying around, and I thought about what I was supposed to do with my life. I had achieved all of the things I had planned so far, and I had no idea what I was doing.

I started freelancing in Kyrgyzstan, probably out of boredom – but at least out of opportunity. I was interviewing journalists, and the local printing press was being changed into a commercial one by a slightly crazy American, in a project partially backed by Bob Dole. The local media had not taken kindly to this, and I pitched and then wrote an article about the printing press. Ben’s apartment had only a partially functional phone, but I used it to call my potential , mustering all of the Russian I knew to make appointments to interview local journalists when their rights had been infringed, or when there was a media scandal. Otherwise, I devised and carried out my research project on press freedom in Central Asia.

Ben and I would talk about the frustrations of living in a country like this – neither of us had lived anywhere like Kyrgyzstan before. Neither of us did again, either. Our conversations often mentioned what a reasonable prospect of success looked like in Kyrgyzstan. Ben’s theory was that it was accomplishing something like 25 to 50 percent of one’s goals for a day. Some days that felt very optimistic. A typical story: Ben needed a particular form from the university where he taught economics – not the American University, but the one he was assigned in Peace Corps. He asked about this form many times. Finally, he lost his temper with the woman at the reception desk, and asked how it was possible they didn’t have it. She smugly smiled, pulled open a drawer, and gave him the form – which may have been there that whole time. He may have been exaggerating, but to me, the moral of this story was not clear: should we lose our tempers more? Be firm? Improve our Russian?

I moved out when John returned and I went to Tajikistan, and then lived in Bishkek a while, moved to Uzbekistan for a couple of months, met my boyfriend (now husband), and saw Ben generally less.

I have fewer stories about Ben from the rest of my time in Kyrgyzstan, although we still saw each other. I saw him, but Liora was there, so I saw him much less. When I got mugged, he walked with me around the neighborhood (I was limping, having hurt my knee in the attack) to try to find my bag in the dumpsters. He was impressed but also scared with my decision after the mugging to run after my attackers. (My passport was in the bag, so it seemed logical.) He taught me where the best internet cafes were, so I could call my credit card companies to cancel them.

The real “Ben” stories from that period are mostly about ice cream. He was getting frustrated with the inefficiency of the economy, and the dysfunction of the ice cream market became one of his best symbols. His favorite ice cream shop, near the main square, changed the rules of its ordering: instead of a mandatory two-scoop order, it instituted a three-scoop mandatory order. Ben only wanted two scoops. This was non-negotiable, it seems. Even if he paid for three scoops, he could not only have two scoops. Ben and the ice cream scooper were similarly stubborn, but she held the ice cream. I think Ben had to find a new ice cream establishment.

Another time we tried to go watch the polo-like game, which utilizes a goat carcass (named buzkashi in Farsi-speaking countries, but I forget the Kyrgyz name). We were sure that there would be a game on a particular day, so we went to the stadium. There was no buzkashi, and it was a long trip to get out there. We approached a taxi driver, sitting in his car, parked in the parking lot. He quoted us a ridiculously high price. We argued, but he would not budge. Ben’s parting words were, “You would rather stay here in your car than earn a normal fare from us!” The driver was not convinced. I don’t remember how we got home.

These are the stories that have popped into my head, probably because they are some of the stories that I have told the most about Central Asia. Ben was good at teasing simple truths out of this wild country. He was not a relativist, and could find the absurdity in many situations. He could also find and ignite beauty: he started a hip-hop club with some local youths; I can’t imagine that their families or friends understood them, but there they were, with their baggy jeans and counter-cultural messages. What he gave them was love, and probably hope of finding someone who understood them. His bad raps in Russian encouraged them to find a voice.

These are stories, but they are not the essence. Ben’s essence was authenticity and therefore is multi-layered. I remember his excitement and his grin when he half-hosted a dinner at a friend’s apartment, with a big screen set up to show us pictures and tell us his crazy stories about the road trip he took through Tajikistan and Afghanistan. The way he counted the alcohol and cigarette bribes he paid out, and objectively ruled that Kyrgyzstan’s border guards were the worst, corruption-wise in the region. His excitement was infectious, and it made us wonder what else we could be doing to explore.

Ben was just himself, and being oneself is a hard thing to be. I remember that he found few people who wanted to talk about most of the things he wanted to talk about; I loved adventure, but couldn’t identify with his love for the mountains. I remember being totally bewildered by the thought of the crevasse, and his blithe way of saying how easy it would be to die by falling in one. You would just disappear. I had never been anywhere like that, and I still have not. I would listen, but I could not comprehend what it meant to be on a mountain. Most people couldn’t comprehend his passion for God, or for freedom. Almost no one understood why he was unwilling to forego his trips in order to finish Peace Corps in good standing. I felt awe about this lack of confinement by human systems, and his ability to understand that he had very little to lose.

Sometimes his authenticity was grating. He would never stay out with me and a friend just to be polite, and his abruptness in leaving a social situation he felt bored by could be embarrassing. Sometimes the strength of his beliefs was confusing to me. When we were both living in DC a couple of years later, I remember sitting in Kalorama Park, picking the grass, angry at him for his views on raising a family. Ben did not rise to my anger, but calmly argued his view.

But even in a disagreement, I took comfort that with Ben, I didn’t have to pretend to care about things that didn’t matter. He would never ask me who I worked for, the way most DC conversations start. He specifically expected me to show up with authenticity, something to debate, perhaps a disagreement – but something real. I could show up, and Ben would expect me to be who I am, say what I thought that day, care about something. He expected that because he knew I could do it. I have had few friends or contacts who expected me to be as much of myself as Ben did. We talked less after he was in California, and I was in London, but we followed each other’s lives on Facebook. When he cared about a cause, I read about it and often did something. He disagreed with me on US politics, particularly the meaning of Sarah Palin’s ascendency for America. We read each other’s blogs, and he continued to be one of very few people who, even from afar, demanded authenticity from me.

Since Ben died, I have questioned a lot of things. I have questioned the way I am living my life, and the people I am around. I have questioned what it means to be authentic and to become an adult. I have questioned my motivation for saying and writing and reading things, and I feel I have no anchor for evaluating these things. Ben was an example of authenticity – both its attractive and annoying sides – and I have few people who demand such authenticity from me. This suddenly makes it more important for me to be genuine, but I now need to figure out what this means – and I will have to do this on my own.

Posted by: roamingolivia | May 22, 2012

Texas, Part 2: Abilene

Abilene is a pretty strange place. Last time I went there, I had a really strange encounter in a donut shop – the owner called on the phone and essentially accused me of trying to steal her intellectual property because I took a picture of the display case. There was a scary large man in there too, but I don’t remember what he did in relation to the story; I think I blogged about it somewhere, but not sure where.

Anyway, so we avoided the donut shop this time. We did stop in Abilene for lunch, and to get out of the car on the way to Lubbock. We went to the downtown,which was also empty (like Brownwood), but pretty photogenic, especially the train station:

There were other good old buildings:

Everything was closed there, too (it was Monday), so we got back on the road for Lubbock, which I’ll blog about next.

Posted by: roamingolivia | May 21, 2012

David & Olivia go to Texas

My British boyfriend and I went to Texas a few weeks ago, which was not his first time in Texas. But I think it was more of a Texas induction: last time we went, it was New Year’s, and there were more New Year activities, and this time we were either doing family things or driving for about ten days. (It was more fun than that sounds.)

I’ve been homesick lately, and not sure what to do with that fact. I think one thing to do with it is to try to spend more time around my family and friends. When I am back in Texas, I feel constrained and uncomfortable and comfortable and all of that mixture of emotions gives me an unsettled feeling, but it also lets me see myself as a whole continuum. In London I feel like my self that I created as an adult; in Texas I feel like all of my selves. In both places I feel like I’ve been moored somewhere inexplicable.

So it wasn’t a restful vacation, really, but it was joyful. It was pleasant in small ways – I could say “tomato” how I want. It was pleasant in moderately important ways – it was warm and sunny. It was joyful in big ways – I got to see my grandmother’s new retirement home, and spend time with her before she fell. I saw cousins and aunts/uncles who saw me grow up, and introduced them to someone I will marry in a month. I felt grown-up and young, and most of all – blessed. (And by the end, I also felt very fat.)

That’s the context. Here are some pictures, and short stories.

I didn’t take many pictures in Houston, unfortunately, but after we visited my brother in Houston we stopped in Brownwood, as a midpoint between Houston and Lubbock. Brownwood is a town that is, I think, worse than other towns of its size. But it has a far more active Chamber of Commerce than they do, so the other towns sounded unappealing, and Brownwood sounded really exciting. David and I would drive through very cute towns with nice old-fashioned town squares and good local businesses, and we would say, “Brownwood will be at least this good.”

It really wasn’t. First, no tourist attractions are open on Mondays. Second, it was actually really dead when we got in on Sunday evening. We didn’t see much in the way of local businesses. But we did get to see the old train depot, where we bought a coffee mug and a book.

We also tried to go to the Douglas Macarthur Academy of Freedom at Howard Payne University (a Baptist university based there). In the guide books, it seems to be a sort of museum. As far as I can tell, it is not. The guide books also claim that there are tours there every day at 1. I called to confirm this, and see if we could pop by earlier so we could get on the road. The woman on the other end of the phone said the tours weren’t happening now. I asked if we could swing by. She said, “It’s sort of difficult because the exhibits are in the classrooms and it’s exam time.” I asked if there were exams going on. She was non-committal. I said we might drop by. “It’s sort of difficult because of the exams.” But she wouldn’t say we couldn’t go, so we went by anyway.

You drive up, and there is a statue there,

but then there is an imposing sign.

There are signs around that point to a back exit. We went in. It seemed to be deserted. We were looking at some pictures and some electioneering materials from past elections. Then, a woman in a dark office who looked very much like an old Soviet museum doorkeeper told us that it was essentially closed. She was definitely the woman I spoke to earlier. She basically told us to leave, but in continued passive-aggressive ways, with some explanations about the mold in the exhibits in the front of the building. I snapped a picture of the wall of Christian Civilization when she wasn’t looking.

It was a bit underwhelming.

When I got back to the car, a bird had pooed all over the window.


The Academy of Freedom was a really un-free place.


Tomorrow: Abilene.

Posted by: roamingolivia | April 16, 2012

CSKC 5: Clapham (Lambeth)

In my quest for large dinner plates, I went over to Clapham – I’ve been trying to alternate north and south – where there is actually an amazing charity shop. The Save the Children shop there has EVERYTHING: vintage furs, weird paintings, good handbags and basically everything vintage and lovely, plus lots of beautiful homewares.

They do not, unfortunately, have acceptable dinner plates, but they have lovely blue glass salad plates, which weigh about 4 times more any other plate I have ever seen:

I bought all 5 that they had there:

Then I bought a lovely green glass huge wine glass, which is the type of thing my grandmother put her necklaces in. I could put jewelry in it, or something else – small flowers maybe? or pencils? Anyway, I’ve wanted this for a long time, so despite the anticipated long trek home, I bought it:

I also bought a nice pitcher,

a mixing bowl (I have about 5 now – I think I can quit buying these),

and this little tea cup set, with a ceramic tea leaf thing that sits inside it.

Then, as I was walking (heavily burdened) to Clapham North tube, I saw this other charity shop. Or anyway a shopfront that has a donated sign and displays characteristics of a charity shop (GreenLightLondon.org is not really as well known as, say, Save the Children):

They had some weird things in there, but also several things from real shops that were still in their boxes and seemed not to have ever been used. I bought this ceramic utensil holder and these 4 glasses for 7 GBP, so it was a good bargain, even if it’s not as quirky as some of the other stuff:

Posted by: roamingolivia | April 13, 2012

CSKC 4: Royal Borough of Greenwich

I love Greenwich, and I never go there – or I haven’t been since I went with my guests Ryan and Lauren last June. So I went out there to recreate that day a couple weeks ago – we had food at the market, looked in the little shops, climbed the hill and went to a cafe for dessert. It was a lovely day. Plus, there’s an antique market there, so I could include this in my challenge.

I did all of this … first the market food:


Market food doesn’t photograph well. Anyway, I took the food and sat in a doorway outside the college building where music students practice – I love hearing the scales and the stop-and-start of music practice.

Then, I walked past the breezy and grand buildings,

climbed the hill,

and hit the market.

There were a lot of things to buy there, but I settled on these (again, basically useless) cranberry glass dessert dishes. I can eat yoghurt out of them, at least.

I had a brownie and tea and went home.

Posted by: roamingolivia | April 10, 2012

CSKC 3: Marylebone (Westminster)

When D and I gave notice to be married at Marylebone Town Hall a few weeks ago, we were heading back to the Tube when we passed this little charity shop called Sue Ryder Care:

We went in briefly, and I found the most amazing and puzzling coffee cups I have ever seen:

That’s right – they say Hot Coffee with Cracker. The coffee has a spoon, and … well, it’s puzzling to have a cracker with the coffee. So I was clearly unable to avoid buying them.

That’s basically the end of the story. But pretty great, right?

Posted by: roamingolivia | April 5, 2012

CSKC 2: Willesden Green (Brent)

This is the second place I went for my charity shop kitchen challenge – Willesden Green. This is actually not far from my house, and still in Brent (I went there on the way back from Kensal Rise), so it’s a bit like cheating, but I bought some good stuff in these dubious-looking charity shops.

First, there was Samaritans:

I just bought some lovely old picture frames at this shop, and I’m excited to think about what to put in them:

(I had a good conversation with the man at the cash register about how “they don’t make frames like this anymore”, which always fulfills a need I have to act like a very old person, while remaining young.)

I then crossed the street to this tiny charity shop:

It’s basically half a shop-front, called “Geranium Shop for the Blind”.

I bought some good bowls and a baking dish there – all very basic, but nice.


It started raining as I finished this, so I went across the road to the Polish restaurant, Pasibrzuch (weirdly I have never been to a Polish restaurant in London). I had barszcz (borscht) and pierogi and a Zywiec, and thought about the semester I spent in Poland.

Posted by: roamingolivia | April 2, 2012

Charity shop kitchen challenge (CSKC) 1: Kensal Rise

I like challenges, particularly pointless ones that I make up entirely by myself for almost no reason and then stick to with superhuman dedication. For example, late last summer, I gave up sugar entirely – I did not have it in bread or yoghurt or sauces or condiments. I did this for 2 weeks, mostly because when I tried it the first day, it was really hard. That seemed like a problem, so I stuck with it. A similar attitude may be the reason I was a vegetarian for almost 3 years.

I’ve always shared a flat with someone else. The only time I didn’t was when I lived in my boyfriend’s flat when he was out of the country. This means that I own almost nothing. I own a lot of books (the number roughly doubles each year), some clothes (not as much as a “normal” woman because I hate shopping and move to other countries fairly often), and almost nothing else.

I especially do not own anything for a kitchen. When I thought about furnishing my kitchen, I thought back to all the serendipitous finds I had made in charity shops (thrift stores, in American) and antique markets. I decided then that I did not want to furnish my kitchen with anything new*. Why would I? There are amazing, weird things in the world, and I like them more than plain plates and cups.

From there, I developed the challenge to be: I want to buy something for my kitchen (or perhaps more generally for the flat) from a charity shop, antique shop or market in each of London’s 32 boroughs. This is, as you can imagine, not a short-term project, and I’m giving myself time – perhaps a lifetime – to fulfill this challenge. But I am going to do it.

So far I’ve been to Brent (2 parts of it – Kensal Rise and Willesden Green), Westminster (Marylebone), Greenwich and Lambeth (Clapham). The project is sort of evolving because I really desperately need dinner plates and cutlery before I move. (If anyone has ideas of markets or shops that have a lot of this, I’d appreciate suggestions – I have seen it in Hastings and Norfolk but not so much in London.) But actually I don’t eat anything off a plate (I really like soup and salad), so cutlery is more important.

Anyway: I’ll gradually update the blog with my progress – a charity shop and the item(s) purchased there.

We’re starting today with Brent, Part 1: Kensal Rise. Kensal Rise has some really nice antique shops that are really expensive but have amazing furniture, and one single charity shop.

It’s called the Peaceful Solutions shop, I think, and it has a lot of good stuff. I also bought The God of Small Things there, which I already read but no longer had a copy of.

Besides that, I bought these glasses (they’re not blue in real life – they’re clear):


… these bowls (which are grey):


… and these sweet but essentially useless dessert dishes:

(One of the problems with this plan is that most of the good stuff is actually totally useless, but oh well.)


* There are a few exceptions to this, especially pots & pans and knives. Appliances are also allowed to be new.

Posted by: roamingolivia | March 22, 2012

What type of child I was

I have been thinking about my childhood, and whether I was ever really a child, or always just small version of my adult self – I don’t remember the whimsy that most people seem to ascribe to childhood. That doesn’t mean I was unhappy; it juts means I think I may have been a bit of a worried or serious person from very early on. Anyway, that’s quite serious, and I am here to write about play.

I had weird play techniques. Here are three things I distinctly remember “playing” or doing as a child:


I had a lot of paper dolls. I loved paper dolls. I kept all of my paper dolls in a cheap, plastic briefcase/suitcase-type device that I must have inherited from an older member of the family. I had paper dolls of pre- and post-Civil War fashions, of Princess Diana, of Barbie dolls, and various other fashion eras. This was a massive, jumbled collection that I would stash in this suitcase and put probably in the closet but possibly threw under my bed. (On another note, I distinctly remember the day that I cleared out the huge disaster zone under my bed. It took hours, and I threw out several bags of things.)

Anyway, I did not actually invent stories with these dolls. My “playing” was to take them out of their suitcase and then to organize it by matching up all the outfits with their doll and putting all the outfits in a little pile under the doll. I am not even sure I put the outfits on the doll. That was it. By the time I actually finished that process, of course I was bored with the dolls, and I put them back into the case.

I think this is represented in the fact that I continue to love making up organizational systems, but I don’t really care about following them. Why didn’t it occur to me to keep them organized – for example in folders or ziplock bags – so that I could actually play with them? It is not clear. I think my parents threw this suitcase away in one of our moves, and that annoys me. I would like to reorganize them again.



We had a set of children’s encyclopedias; I believe it was the World Book brand. Each volume had a theme: literature, science I guess, etc. (I believe that that this is where I learned the poem that says, “I eat my peas with honey / I’ve done it all my life…”, which I can still recite even though I cannot remember some things that happened last week.) Anyway, despite my interest in literature, I didn’t really use the encyclopedias for that. Instead, I would go to the part of the encyclopedia where there were numbers and alphabets of various languages. I would sit for hours and hours copying them down; tracing characters from Mandarin, or writing Spanish words.

The relevance to my current life is, perhaps, obvious.



During the summer, I would get really excited about the fact that we were going to Six Flags soon – there was some kind of scam where you got into Six Flags for free if your children had good grades or something, I think. We had an annual trip there, and although by the end you were exhausted, and your feet were disgusting and wrinkley from being in wet shoes all day after the water rides, I really really loved it. I really really love roller coasters, and scary rides; I actually remember being very small and riding them with my dad. I also had a whole dream sequence that involved roller coasters.

In preparation for this, I would be so incredibly excited about going to Six Flags that I basically could not think about anything else. Probably for weeks. During this time, I forced my brother D to participate in a one-on-one game show, modelled on Nickelodeon’s You Can’t Do That on Television (turns out that is a Canadian show, weird). I would ask him what I was most excited about, or what my favorite ride was. If he got the answer right, I would squirt him with the water hose. If he got the answer wrong, I would also squirt him with the water hose. Then we would play again. With the same questions. If this sounds cruel, remember that it was summer in Texas, so all of our outdoor activities involved the water hose. This went on most days, probably for weeks. I found it extremely enjoyable. I guess my brother was pretty glad when we finally went to Six Flags so he wouldn’t have to play that game.

This is more like play, but represents the fact that I can be bossy and perhaps unconcerned about other people’s entertainment (although I think I have improved on this since I played this game).

I still get really excited about things I’m looking forward to; I have 2 things in the next month I am excited about: moving to a new flat (cannot wait to nest and decorate, although I also realistically know I will probably not do these things) and going to Texas. I think about them a lot, and if I had a willing or indeed captive audience, I would probably sit them down and quiz them about what I’m most excited about. I would also squirt them with water, but this becomes increasingly less acceptable as we age.


Now you know too much about what I was like as a child. But it’s nice to be blogging again.

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