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2012 Brooklyn, Portland, Oregon, United States
I got an amazing smoked salmon and hazelnut salad at Burgerville before work, where I am 4% above the firing line as of this moment. Yesterday was a very bad day for my numbers, yet the day felt good. It is all so counterintuitive. I suppose I want to go on working there, but if I get what I suppose I want, I can expect this sort of thing again. And again.
Meanwhile, back at Burgerville, the woman who gave me my change pointed out that there was a buffalo nickel among it. She would have robbed the till herself, she said, but I seemed deserving. “Needy maybe,” I told her, “appreciative for sure.”
At break time a couple of hours later, I discovered that half of the tiny silver pieces – representing rays of the sun or suitors – that dangle from my Latvian ring were missing, though I have an odd sense that they aren’t far away. I am only a little upset, a pleasant surprise. I told a colleague I would just have to go back to Latvia.
Worldly goods
This morning I noticed something flashing dimly or glimmering brightly in the darkest part of my little apartment, and realized it was a soft and spiky ball on a lanyard, that I had run across yesterday and bounced against something, in hope it would sparkle. I didn’t realize it at the time, but apparently I was successful, and it has been putting on a tiny light show, unnoticed, ever since. Poor thing. I moved it to a central location immediately, and I am looking at it often.

2011 Phsar Dey Hoy, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Notes from underground
I was waiting for the coffee water to heat this morning, wishing I could recall a dream, when suddenly one presented itself, a common theme in my sleeping life: a dwelling dream. I sense that the dwelling in this dream was a room in a guesthouse. Though I may have been living in this room for a while, I apparently had not done much to make it my own. I began to do so in the dream after visiting a neighbor’s room and liking what she had done with it. My dream room was large, though a lot of the space was dedicated to purposes other than housing me, including a big back room shaped like an enormous pipe running under the wall plaster, where many chairs were in storage, reminding me of the room full of chairs where I teach in my waking life.
In most of my dwelling dreams, I am enchanted with the dwellings when I wake up and remember them, but that was not the case this time around. There was too much stuff jammed into the room, and lots of poorly-hung curtains, which I don’t even like when they are hung properly.
There was a supermarket in the dream, and a clerk there took me on a sort of shopping tour, driving my cart herself. There were lots of big, curvy machines whose purpose I must have understood better in the dream than I do upon waking, since I commented on them to her. It all seems puzzling. It all feels out of character.
Two of my students dropped by yesterday during my Khmer lesson, and I fear that the now-common knowledge of where I live has created a visitation monster. My Khmer teacher explained that visiting sick people is very common here, so apparently it’s nothing personal. Maybe it will drop off when I
’m back to normal. I am trying to perceive it as a cultural lesson.

2010 Aurangabad, India
Temporary homes
This is the last morning in the peculiar hotel I suspect I am no longer sharing with Rotasia – the Rotary club appellation that puts me in mid of a microscopic disease vector or an extreme plumbing tool – and I seem to have caught up on my sleep.
Notes from underground
I woke easily from a dream of traveling on foot, and wanting not to be carried in a litter, but to have my picture taken in one. Me, wanting my picture taken? The litter, like everything else yesterday, was informed by my visit to Ajanta, where I didn’t spend nearly long enough. Come to think of it, there may be no such thing as spending long enough there.
Questions, questions
I had a questionable breakfast of a sweet lassi with an unidentifiable raspberry-colored component and a toast and jam sandwich, half of which the waiter dropped on the table, then replaced on the plate. I ate it. Me, eating fallen food?
Excuse me madam what country?
The woman sitting next to me on the bus, like just about everybody else I encountered yesterday, asked the usual question. I suggested she guess, but that didn’t seem to appeal to her, so we spent the rides back and forth in companionable silence.
When we arrived at the Ajanta parking lot, the tour guide, with whom I had an entertaining flirtation, tried to dissuade me from racing ahead down the steps by reminding me that John Smith, who rediscovered the caves of Ajanta in 1819, had been hunting tigers, implying that I might stumble across same at a major tourist attraction nearly two hundred years later. When he realized he wasn’t getting anywhere with his subtle cues, he decided to accompany me on my quick descent. I wonder if there is a local equivalent of the old saw: If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
Seeing the caves from across the river and above was the best part of all; seeing them up close was frustrating as much as it was captivating. We raced through at such breakneck speed, and the lighting was so dim, that I can’t say my curiosity was even close to satisfied. A pity, since I had done considerable research. I didn’t get to see the image I was looking forward to the most: the teacher with a stick and students in various degrees of attentiveness. But what I did see was magnificent.
The caves at Ajanta are contemporaries of the caves at Pitalkhora – and near enough by, at least as the crow flies – but they don’t seem to be mentioned together in any of the reading I have done. Yet another mystery.

all rights reserved Josephine Bridges ©2012-2013