It is telling that after two years I only noticed on Friday morning at 4:30 a.m. that my street has no street lights. We are catching a 6 a.m. plane Boston to Philly and then a later plane to Dayton, Ohio. It was China Sisters Reunion weekend. A Facebook post announced that this is the 16th reunion if our trip to China is included.
Ah, a trip to China. I am still marveling that Julia and I have not gotten on a plane for more than 2 years. How is that so?
And yet, we were picked up and dropped off at Logan and entered into the swarm of early morning travelers. The check in lines and kiosks buzzed with people. People everywhere! Carrying and pulling, asking questions and commenting excitedly, making people noises that made something of a soundtrack as we made our way to the departure gate. I remember but I am hearing it all for the first time. Like riding a bicycle, we quickly adapted to the old routines—printing boarding passes, finding security, getting into the TSA line, showing identification and pulling down each of our masks for a moment to make sure that the picture on the ID matched the person carrying the ticket. Julia asked if she had to take off her shoes and we both forgot to take our phones out of jacket pockets.
It was astonishing to see so many people, thankfully all masked, moving briskly—it is as if briskly moving crowds have been prohibited during our emergence from quarantine. We often walk, and we see people jogging and running, but this quick movement together, like flocks of birds, is something I had not realized I missed.
And although noisy and populated and daytime bright, stores and restaurants were still closed up tight. It was, after all, 6 a.m.
Later landing in Philly, where masks were the rule, and then in Dayton, Ohio, where we stood out as mask wearers in a sea of the unmasked.
During our weekend, we stayed pretty much at the home of friends so masks were not an issue, but back at the airport, it was the same.
We enjoyed spending time with our China Sister families. The girls, except for Julia, are 15 now and talking about driving. In another year or two, it will be colleges or post high school endeavors. I so much want the best for these girls and yet, at times, it is hard to listen to their chatter. For the most part, the girls are kind to Julia and include her; however, she is not necessarily interested in their socializing and did on occasion prefer to be alone. I recognize that sometimes she was overstimulated and the alone time gave her back some control, but she also does not make the effort to match or be interested in these girls. The grownups are all supportive of Julia and yet from my vantage point, she does not take advantage of their interest and their support.
I am very glad we travelled and saw these beloved people, but I am wary of midwest covid ideas and reactions. We will not return for a while.
And now for pictures: