June 10, 2002
Well, my sister and brother-in-law are back from Israel... for at least a year, possibly more. They're staying in LA for now, poor dears, but it looks like it can't be helped. However, Elana came up to visit us this weekend, and next weekend she and Adiv are both coming up here, along with my uncle, aunt, and one cousin. According to my mom's email on the subject, it's an official "clan gathering". Aye, a clan gathering! We will feast and dance, sing songs of old Goers long dead, and tell tales of the days of yore!
As for Elana, she seems a bit disoriented being in the USA. She says she was at the grocery store the other day, and it was a very strange experience. The store was clean and well-lit. There was a huge selection. Nobody bumped her from behind with a cart to make her move faster. When she asked for help finding an item, the store clerk politely walked her to the correct aisle instead of ignoring her or saying something snarky. Freaky, no? Maybe a trip to New York City is in order to remind her that yes, we Americans can provide unpleasant, rude service just like anyone else. We're number 1! USA! USA!
As for me, my MOTWM class is over for the year. We had a party at Simon's house, which is a beautiful place in Scotts Valley overlooking... well, the valley. It was a nice party with lots of lovely people. However, I should point out that Simon's teenage boys made themselves scarce as soon as the bulk of the guests arrived. A stark reminder that I have joined the ranks of the old fuddy-duddies.
At the party, I talked to Judith and her husband (who works on Gravity Probe B!) about languages. To my great shame, I only speak English and about forty words of French. Judith asked me which languages I would want to learn. I told her Spanish or Russian. Russian, because I really want to go to Russia some day, maybe travel there extensively. Spanish, because it is supposed to be fairly easy and there are many people all over the world that speak it. Also, the cute girl who sells the coffee and doughnuts at work is trying to teach me Spanish. She hasn't gotten much further than teaching me how to order a doughnut politely, and I think she's getting a bit frustrated with me:
Girl: Como esta?
Me: Ummm, bien. And how are you?
Girl: You haven't bought a doughnut in a while.
Me: Well, uhhh... today is Wednesday -- we have a staff meeting, and they have free doughnuts.
Girl: You'd rather get a free doughnut than buy my doughnuts?
Me: Jeez, you make me feel like I've been cheating on you.
Girl (giving me a long, deliberate look): You have been cheating on me.
On second thought, maybe I'll pass on Spanish. Those hot-blooded Latins might be more trouble than it's worth.