Before moving to South Africa, I spent much of my adulthood living and working in the Washington D.C. area. But growing up, I lived closer to Baltimore. My parents are both Baltimorians. I was raised on Baltimore sports.
Baltimore has two major professional sports teams: the Orioles (baseball) and the Ravens (American football). Baseball season runs from April to September and football season runs from September to January. I was home during that magical month when baseball season is drawing to a close and football season is just beginning, and I caught one game of each.
My dad is a die-hard Orioles fan and raised his two daughters accordingly. I remember when my sister Susanna and I watched on TV when the Orioles (who we call ‘the Os’) won the World Series in 1983; it was the best day of my nine-year-old life. Continue Reading
Hooray for WordPress, who Freshly Pressed Voortrekker: My New Favorite Afrikaans Word on Thursday. Thanks to everyone who read, commented on, and subscribed to my blog over the last few days.
For new readers expecting posts about South Africa: I’m in the States and have been blogging about America for the past two weeks. I’ll return to my usual subject matter later this week.
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Between stints in Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, I squeezed in a 36-hour visit to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, where my mother lives. Hilton Head is a small island in the “Lowcountry” – a marshy region along the South Carolina/Georgia coast made famous by the movie Forrest Gump.
A Hilton Head marsh – classic Lowcountry topography.
Today was my last day in D.C. Before leaving town I had hoped to visit (and blog about) the brand-new Martin Luther King Memorial. (We love our memorials in Washington.) But time and weather weren’t on my side. MLK will have to wait for my next trip home.
Instead, I’ll leave you with some pictures of Filter, one of my favorite D.C. coffeehouses. Filter is hidden away on a residential street, just north of Dupont Circle at 20th and S. I’ve spent many happy mornings sipping coffee at Filter with my friend Bob, and that’s exactly what I was doing when I took these photos.
A skilled barista brews me a single cup of Ethiopian Sidamo. Filter serves single-origin coffees from around the world, roasted locally in Annapolis, Maryland.
Washington D.C. commuters love to complain about Metro. And the D.C. subway system does have its faults: rising fares, rush-hour delays, malfunctioning fare card machines, and surly station managers.
But I spent thousands of hours riding Metro in my day, and all in all I think it’s pretty great. It’s fast and convenient, and makes it possible to get around this city without a car. Plus, the Metro stations are beautiful. Especially on quiet, nearly empty Sunday evenings. Continue Reading
Dear Mom: This post is going to freak you out. Please read at your discretion. And please don’t write me out of your will. Love, Heather
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I’m in a taxi with my dear friends Claire and Michelle, riding toward a bohemian neighborhood in northwest D.C. called Adams Morgan. We’re meeting friends for drinks at a legendary blues bar called Madam’s Organ.
Madam’s Organ, in Adams Morgan.
My dad still lives in the house where my sister and I grew up. It’s in a quasi-rural part of Maryland, about an hour’s drive north of Washington D.C. and 40 minutes west of Baltimore. The house is at the top of a hill, at the end of a long driveway, in a tiny town called Gaither.
Gaither is so tiny that it doesn’t appear on maps. When I was growing up, there were three ‘public’ buildings in Gaither – Little George’s Market (a small convenience store), the Methodist church, and the post office. The post office wasn’t actually a building — it was a room in the back of Mimi Loon’s house, at the bottom of Gaither Road next to the railroad tracks. We used to walk down there every afternoon to get the mail and catch up on the town gossip with Mimi.
Eventually Mimi’s post office closed and Gaither was absorbed – at least in the eyes of the U.S. government – into the neighboring town of Sykesville. Dad has a Sykesville zip code now, and I usually tell people I’m from Sykesville because no one has heard of Gaither and I don’t want to bore them with the explanation I’ve just bored you with. But I still consider Gaither to be my home town. Continue Reading
Yesterday was my grandmother’s memorial celebration, held on our family farm in Ellicott City, Maryland. It was also the day that Hurricane Irene hit America’s East Coast. (Ellicott City is a couple of hours from the coast so all we got were some downed trees and power outages. But still.)
My grandmother’s name was Frances Wellford Mason, born Frances Colquhoun Wellford. Colqhuoun is pronounced “Cuh-HOON”, which is how she got the nickname Cooncie. All of her grandchildren called her that.
Cooncie at age 24. She was stunning, right? (Photo: Wendell Powell)
Joe and I just returned from a two-week trip to Washington D.C. I really intended to blog while we were there but I didn’t have much time to spare. We’re both still recovering from the physical and emotional exhaustion of it all.
Sunset on the Connecticut Avenue bridge near Woodley Park. Continue Reading
Full disclosure: I’m posting this the day after I wrote it.
I’m on the plane. Here’s how I got here: Continue Reading
My dad and his girlfriend are coming in 10 minutes to take me to the airport. They’re late, but fortunately I’ve built in a sizable time cushion. I don’t mess around when it comes to international flights. I once trusted the SuperShuttle to get me to the airport for a flight to Africa and wound up checking in with two minutes to spare. Never again.
I like my posts to be witty and light-hearted but I don’t think I can do that today. The last 48 hours have been so emotional and surreal. I’ll be relieved to get this protracted goodbye process over with, so I can sit on the plane and do nothing for 18 hours. (By the way, severe thunderstorms predicted for this evening. Ugh.) Continue Reading