28 May 2010

The long journey home

Long musings befitting of a long journey :

The ride through Rhode Island and Connecticut is one of
my favorite parts of riding the train down the Northeast Corridor route.

After days of packing and 8 hours on what should have been a less-than 5 hour train ride, I am home. This was only made possible through the gracious help of my burly muscle crew: Po-ru and Eric on the SP end, Rachel and Gao Yu at McCormick, and Travis as the car-driving go-between. With their help, I was able to move everything into storage within my time frame, although throughout the entire packing and moving process this thought kept coming to mind:
So much stuff. So much stuff!!
Goodness. 2 years of living in the same room would do that to you, I suppose, but the perpetual disbelief at my material abundance made me open my eyes wide. Why do I even need so many things? And even with this realization, why did I still find it hard to let things go when I clearly had not worn them in the last year or given them any thought? I could use the excuse of "being a girl," but really - just because I happen to have two X chromosomes doesn't mean I must own a million things. (Sadly, though, this is my current condition.) I didn't have much time to purge much, but once I'm back in Cambridge, I'll have to do a more serious cleaning out.

In any rate, the ride back was long yet rather peaceful. If you've never ridden the train between Boston and New York, I would suggest swallowing the bill and doing so at least once. There are some beautifully tranquil waterscapes bordering on pastoral, especially around the New London area of Connecticut. I keep marveling at the sights out of my window and intentionally trying to sit on the correct side of the train so that I'll get a good view of the water... One of these days I will stop. And breathe in that fresh salt air.

The approach to New York is also a fond sight to see. The skyline illuminated at sunset, hugging the horizon as we seem to speed by yet speed towards it. Just that little glimpse before pulling into the hectic Penn Station makes me glad.

Pride and Prejudice was my travel companion. I finally finished it, after reading it at a "stroll through Pemberley" pace while brushing my teeth at night throughout this past semester. (Yes...this is a little snippet of how I stay grounded.) Although I've read this book a couple times already, this was probably my slowest reading of it of all. It's like chewing slowly - you somehow concentrate more on the subtle flavors and really get to enjoy before digestion. I noticed things I hadn't before, and had some laughs when I came across the indignant comments I had written in the margins almost 8 years ago, when I first read the book in LitHum. (For example: "YOU CALL THIS COMFORT??" next to Mr. Collins' letter of "consolation" post-Lydia's incident made me giggle.) The complexity of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy's relationship as it unfolded, her conflicted back and forth with her mixed feelings, and the difficulty of explaining her change of heart somehow resonated more than before. I also noticed the narrator's subtle ability to give glimpses into the thought processes of multiple characters within a scene, which seems to defy the typical take on point of view but worked really quite well. In all, I'd still say it's a book worth staying up reading, even for the 3rd or 4th (or nth) time around.

Ok, musings over. Home now. Hong Kong on Tuesday. More later.

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