I went to Harvard

I wish.

I’m a great spokeswoman for not regretting. If I didn’t already have another motto, it would be “je ne regrette rien”. Regret is futile, a complete waste of time. Only thing you can use it for is saying, like: “Oh, that turned out to be a really stupid idea. What can I do to get out of this jam and/or what can I learn from it, so I use better judgement next time ‘round.”

So – I don’t really regret anything. Except not finishing university, when I was young. Sure, it would have changed the course of my life completely, and a lot of funny, interesting and wonderful people wouldn’t have crossed my path. But still…

And trotting around Cambridge and the Harvard campus for the better part of a day certainly made me think of that every other minute. I wonder if these young people, carelessly sitting around studying in the park, on their computers in chic cafés, jogging with their I-pods or going out with their friends realize just how privileged they are? Not only are they going to university, and for most of them, Daddy is paying, they are also going to one of the most prestigious universities in the entire world, and their futures look more than promising! Oh well, it would be a pity, I guess, if they had to drag a guilty conscience around with them for being so privileged. The rest of us are ourselves trying to not have a guilty conscience over not starving in Africa, aren’t we?

Anyway, we had gorgeous weather and fantastic circumstances to experience Cambridge and Harvard. There was a regatta going on, so the entire town was crowded with an additional bunch of privileged, beautiful youngsters – they came from all over America with their sleek rowing boats on top of their expensive cars. Everybody were out, strolling along Charles River, taking it all in. We spent an hour or so (could have been much, much more) in the Co-op bookstore cum café. I wondered if I could be happy working in a place like that? Talking to all those brilliant young people every day, helping them find just the right book for whatever purpose? I don’t know. I get bored so awfully easy…

That same evening we sent Emil back home. He had a (too) long and tiring journey because of a cancelled flight from Germany to Copenhagen, but got home safely. We’re looking forward to seeing him again, next time together with sweet Ida, at Christmas in San Francisco.

Also, on that same evening, the Red Sox won the decisive game in the seven game stint against the Cleveland Indians. Our friend Matt grinned, when we told him this: Dane was sleeping outside the RV in his new tent. We were inside, watching the game. A while into the game, it looked like the Red Sox were running out of luck, they were only one point ahead, and the Indians were doing well. I noticed Dane’s Red Sox shirt on the chair and jokingly said to David, that it was probably because Dane wasn’t wearing his shirt, which he’d worn for the two previous games. David took the shirt and went out to the tent and put it on top of our sleeping mascot. And from that moment on, the Red Sox were just unstoppable. And so, why did Matt grin? He grinned because when he heard that, he knew we were hooked. It’s a sure sign, he chuckled, that you’re hooked, when you become superstitious!
There’s something about baseball that I haven’t seen in any other sport. It’s such an interesting combination of skill, talent, technique, cunning and tactics! Some players are like most other professional sportsmen, young, trim, skilled. But a good deal of them could definitely lose a few pounds without becoming skinny exactly, and some of them are close to our age. Try it! We’re trying it again tonight, when Red Sox play the first game in the World Series. Matt and Jackie got tickets – we’ll be looking for them throughout the match and hoping they won’t be hit by a home run.

Good luck, Red Sox!

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Not enough online time

In case you’re worrying about us (as if!!!), we’re fine. The campsite we’ve been in the past week while Emil has been here, had Internet, but only when you were at their office. Not a place you really wanted to spend a lot of time!

I’ve uploaded pictures with comments though, so check them out in the meantime.

What I can tell you now (in a café in Portsmouth, New Hampshire) is this:

Emil is home safely after a trip with rerouting and delays.

Red Sox won the last three games and are now in the World Series. Ain’t that great?

We’re having problems finding open campgrounds in New England and even more problems finding open campgrounds that have Wi-Fi. When we run out of campsites, we’ll make a big U-turn and head south again.

Today we’re headed for Maine, to this place.

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Baseball

Yesterday was about baseball. Our host Matt is a devoted fan of local team The Boston Red Sox and has been since he – like all good American litterary heroes – as a little boy was taken to the stadium on hot Saturdays by his father. Matt took us on a tour of the old (1912) stadium Fenway Park in the middle of Boston, and it was great fun to get an insight in this sport, which you invariably come across if you ever watch an American film, read an American book or browse an American newspaper.

The weather was lovely and the female guide far above average as American guides go, she clearly wasn’t paid on a words-per-minute basis. We browsed around the Red Sox merchandise shop, approximately the size of a middlesized supermarket back home. There really is no end to the fan gear you can purchase there. And there’s something in the air that really makes you want to buy the stuff, heavily overpriced as it is. We resisted the urge, having already received Red Sox-stuff as presents from Matt and Jackie and having bought a few caps and a t-shirt earlier in the day at Wal-Mart at a far lower price.

The air was heavy with anxious anticipation, because later that evening The Boston Red Sox were playing a very important game in Cleveland, Ohio, determining their fate in the series. They’d apparently done pretty badly in the previous games, so spirits were a bit low. But lo and behold if they didn’t win! For David, Dane, Emil and me it was our lives’ first baseball game and it was fun to watch it in the RV, eating crisps and drinking beer. Dane fell asleep after a while and a little later also Emil. I couldn’t fall asleep, since my seat was so bl…. uncomfortable, and I could surf a little and read a little during all the commercials (which really is what kills you) and David almost managed to sit through it, only dozing off during commercials. As David put it, half of the commentary was double dutch to us, but the general idea of the game dawned on us. And we had to admire the Red Sox pitcher who saved the game. He was SO cool! Watching him chew his gum, spit, look completely stonefaced and then throw the ball with astonishing speed and curve, so the Cleveland Indians practicallly never hit it, was absolutely worth the sore bum I had afterwards.

If any Americans with baseball knowledge read this: What is it with the spitting? They all do it – all the time. The coach more so than any of the others. What on earth is it good for?

Today it’s really warm, but raining. The boys have gone fishing again, I’ve been reading Vanity Fair, a luxury I’m warming to considerably. Compared with your average monthly fashion magazine, it certainly takes a long time to read! OK, the print is very small and clearly not intended for middle-aged women with bi-focals. And the language is not exactly easy. But, wow, it’s rewarding once you find the peace and quiet to read it. I read a hair-rising story about the involvement of a Halliburton subsidiary in the Iraq war. It was so well researched, and so disquieting! The American tax payers certainly have reasons to worry! It really doesn’t matter if you’re for the war or against it. Nobody can be in favour of private companies overcharging the American government by a routine 500-1000% for services rendered? If you have the patience to read 8 pages online, start here.

There’s also an article by Christopher Hitchens of whom I’m not usually a fan. But this one is good and strangely touching. The Shakespeare quote towards the end certainly provoked a few tears. The article is about how Hitchens finds himself partly responsible for the death of a young man in Iraq and how he deals with this emotion. Pretty good.

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New England autumn (or fall as they call it here)

Now we’re embedded in this weird camp ground with Emil safely here. Our trip to the airport was eventless, the one back a real bummer. Arriving at the tollbooth on the way out from the airport the stonefaced asian guy at the booth said: I can’t let you through the tunnel, it would be against the law, park over there, while I call the state police. We tried to ask him – real polite – what the problem was, since we’d just come the other way without any hindrance an hour or so earlier. But he just repeated himself and waved us to the side. A puzzling couple of minutes later, a state trouper arrived, lights flashing. He explained to us, in a voice loud enough to’ve been heard in Norway, that vehicles carrying propane (which all campers use for stove, heating etc.) cannot drive through tunnels. That made perfect sence of course, why in the world couldn’t the attendant have told us that? His voice booming (it turned out he was practically deaf), the elderly trooper told us that he’d spare us the 500$ fine and stop the traffic in the opposite direction and let us go back the way we came. He explained the alternative route to us – it was a little like Einstein explaning the theory of relativity – and led us on our way. We drove, hearts beating, and drove and drove and drove. We constantly seemed to be going in the wrong direction and we never seemed to hit the Interstate, which should eventually have taken us back onto the right track. When we’d driven for an incredible lenght of time (this was after 10 pm), we decided to put the GPS back on, reckoning that we’d have distanced ourselves from the perilous tunnels by now. Well, guess what, we hadn’t! The GPS led us right back into another tunnel, and we didn’t even realise it before it was too late! With hearts in throats and in eerie silence we drove through the seemingly endless tunnel. In the middle of the tunnel, a state trouper was parked, lights flashing. But, luckily, he was engaged in other business, and we made it through the tunnel without blowing it up and without being fined.

You cannot believe how happy we are that our nice New England friends Matt and Jackie have had the grace to lend us their daughter’s (she’s away at university) lovely Saab car for the rest of our stay here. It is a pleasure beyond description to be driving a car – and a car with turbo at that – instead of the slowresponding and extremely noisy RV.

On our first day with Emil we went shopping for fishing equipment in Wal-Mart, which had Emil stunned (see his blog) and then we went fishing. Or rather, the three of them were fishing, while I was theoretically reading my book in a chair. In reality I spent 3/4 of the time untangling Dane’s fishing line from a variety of trees, shrubs and tall grass. They caught a few small fish, but nothing to write home about. In the evening, Matt and Jackie had invited us to dinner at their beautiful house. I can’t explain to you why I haven’t yet taken a photograph of their beautiful New England home, but I will. While I’m at it (confessing) I also forgot to take a picture of the two of them together. Luckily I’ll get a chance or two more. They were increcibly hospitable and had presents for us (!!!), among them a New England water pitcher called the gurgling Cod, which is described  as a Boston icon. It is real cute and I’m looking forward to dinner parties in the future, when my guests will innocently start pouring water from the lovely pitcher and then, when they set it back on the table, hear the gentle gurgling noise, which will be my cue to tell about our visit to the lovely New England.

The boys got each a cap with the Boston Red Sox logo and Emil and Dane also a bat and a baseball each. Can you imagine hosts like that?

Furthermore, the dinner was wonderful and the conversation easy. I talked too much, but as those of you who know me already know, I frequently do.

The next day we went for a day of seeing the local sights together with Matt. We saw Thoreau’s hut and Walden pond, which he immortalized in his book. I’ve had it lying around on my night stand for almost a year, impressively, but honestly, I never got around to reading it, and when I packed it, it was as pristine as when I bought it. Maybe when we get back?

 

Emil and Dane at Walden Pond. A replica of Thoreau’s hut at Walden.

Next we went to the site of the opening battle of the American revolutionary war. From a European perspective there wasn’t a whole lot to see there, but the story about the Minutemen was interesting. Also, the scenery was gorgeous, the weather perfect. And – we’d just had a really nice lunch…

 

 

We’re on the Concord bridge – or a replica, rather. 

On our way home, we were going into the local Whole Foods store, when David accidently banged the lid of the trunk into my forehead. It hurt like hell, to tell you the truth, and it even bled. But poor David, he was out of his mind for having hurt me and kept going over it in his mind, whether he should have seen it coming, etc. etc. But it gave me a good excuse for staying home in the camper today, while the boys have gone fishing. I’ve done the washing, tidied up, vacuumed and written this. And read my book. So I’m perfectly content and don’t even have a headache.

Matt got the best out in all of us, check the happy couple out here and notice David’s cap – he’s turning all-American and almost ready to join the local militia ;-)

More pictures with silly and/or informative comments here.

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Guess where we are!

Yes, you guessed it! Or you didn’t? Then it’s just because you’re too young (like us, ha ha) or too old. We’re in Woodstock, N.Y. A place that seems to have revived itself as a center for spiritualism, a refuge for old hippies (I’ve NEVER seen so many in one place, not even at Roskilde Festival) and a center for hip photo galleries, a film festival for independent films etc. Quite well done! Surely, there are tourist traps with loads of hippie-stuff and we fell for it all. The clothes we were wearing that day still smell of patchouli

As you can gather from the pictures, the weather changed rather abruptly. The temperature dropped a lot and it rained all night and most of the days we spent in New York State. But we still enjoyed our visit to Woodstock!

Today, in Massachusetts, it’s beautiful, high blue sky, no wind and around 14 degrees Celcius. But brrrrr, it’s cold at night! We’ve bought Dane a sleeping bag and extra blankets for us. And told Emil to bring his sleeping bag from Denmark. If you think we’re without heating in our RV, think again. We have a furnace, which runs on propane gas. Apart from being noisy – but not as noisy as the aircondition – it works fine. It’s just that that kind of heat isn’t very sleep inducing, so we prefer not to have it on so much.

We haven’t got the ultimate picture of the autumn colouring here in New England yet, but the weather forecast is very promising, so come by again tomorrow! It is exactly as beautiful as everybody had told us it would be – and the New England towns we’ve passed on our way to this evening’s campsite were all quite lovely. We passed another Whole Foods supermarket, where we’ll shop tomorrow for the first days with Emil. He’ll probably be real disappointed with all that lovely, wholesome, healthy food – he’s been looking forward to eating junk food for a week!

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