Goodbye Summer Vacation

latte-and-a-good-book-2-300x212Thank you summer vacation!

Last Friday I arrived back “home” in Singapore to glorious hot, sunny weather and a leisurely day at the condo capped off with an evening walk through Emerald Hill and dinner and lime juice at Warong M. Nasir Indonesian Food, one of my favorite inexpensive restaurants in the “hood.”

Today is National Day in Singapore and since my body’s still in travel adjustment mode (wide awake at 2 a.m. and again at 4, then desperate for a nap in late afternoon), I’ll take a few minutes on this holiday to return to my blog, hoping to create a new rhythm for blogging this second year in Singapore. As summer vacation wraps up, I’m reminded of the blessings in my life. Among these: an abundance of work that satisfies and challenges, and time to enjoy travel, family and friends, baseball, good coffee, and reading.

June travel took me to Phuket, Thailand for three relaxing days soon after school was out. Summer is off-season in Phuket. This translates to no crowds and (relatively) inexpensive luxury accommodations. The Indigo Pearl was a true gem of a hotel – my room even included a bathtub on the deck!

lobby-@-Indigo-pearl-2-225x300outdoor-bathtub-@-Indigo-pearl-2-225x300

tsunami-photo-2-300x225Since the weather was iffy, I had time to sleep, read, walk, and discover the quiet of my location on the island, Nai Yang Beach. Unexpected pleasures included meeting the owner of La Maison while ducking out of the rain for coffee, then returning that evening for green curry with vegetables and bananas floating in warm coconut milk, the breath-holding quiet in anticipation of each night’s sunset, collecting unusual shells on my beach walks then happening upon Thai messages written in the sand, and the kind hospitality of the Indigo Pearl’s staff as they drove me to a local pharmacy for medication to sooth infected insect bites. My memories of Phuket are now etched by a handful of scars on my lower legs, the kindness of the locals, sobering reminders of the devastation this area experienced during the 2004 tsunami, and baffling names for cafes and massage businesses.  I mean, a restaurant in Thailand called “Aloha” that serves Thai and Swedish food?

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A Thai massage hut with an unfortunate name?

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Summer travel also included:

—  five days in New Orleans for the American Library Association’s annual conference (barely broke a sweat in the Nawlins’ heat – thanks to life in sticky Singapore), and a side trip to Hattiesburg, Mississippi to tour the DeGrummond Collection

—  three days in Toronto where I met with the editorial and writing team at Rubicon as we worked on Interface, an exciting literature-based project for teen readers (stay tuned for more about this)

—  Four (or was it five?) days in Vancouver, BC to fulfill the required 330 days “out of country” for income tax purposes

—   And never-enough-time in Bellingham and Seattle to enjoy family, friends, WWU colleagues, and Piggy, my nephew Trevor’s generous-sized (and appropriately named) cat!

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I miss you already, Summer of 2011!