Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Week 7: Shanty Departs

An astute reader will notice that this entry was not made in real time. The departure of Shanty to India this week followed another weekend trip to the Oregon Coast as well as a frenzy of other activity which, when combined with my heavier-than-normal teaching schedule, left me with little time for writing. So it will likely be that the blog entries for the remainder of Stany`s time with us will be more brief than before and all will show something of the filter of hindsight.

Far back in June Shanty had agreed to remain in Oregon long enough to celebrate my wife`s birthday. So it is that Kristine had two celebrations! At the coast we joined her brother Tim (with his wife Terry) at their home in Astoria, feasting on a Saturday evening barbeque that all of the meat eaters agreed was amazing. Arriving the night before allowed us to spend the day again at the beach, visiting Fort Stevens Park, the Lewis & Clark museum across the Columbia River near Long Beach, with lunch at a restaurant that seemed to be Australian but wasn`t! The morning after the feast we all enjoyed the company of sea lions at the Astoria Marina, sunning their massive bodies on the docks within just a few feet of where Stany and Shanty could take all of the photos one could want. A pleasant two hour drive on Sunday back to Portland left us with a more simple dinner at the Sonnleitner household, complete with all housemates.

The featured photo this week shows (left to right), Iris (our housemate from Mexico and helper extraordinaire), my son Shaman, Kristine, our daughter Sonrisa, daughter Mira, Stany and Shanty. Housemate Tom (a former student of mine) was not able to attend, and I was taking the picture! It was a precious moment in our dining room, full of well wishing, but with a little remorse: Shanty would be catching her flight the next day. This would be her last dinner in the U.S. and a separation from her husband that would last 10 more weeks.

As much as was happening all around us, with the Occupy Portland encampment downtown (following last week`s massive march), a formal reception honoring Stany (welcoming him to PCC last Friday), and so much other interpersonal activity, by far the biggest event in our lives was Shanty`s departure. She will be as greatly missed by us all here as she will be welcomed home by those who love her back in Kerala. Her children, Hanna, Anna, and Tom are eagerly awaiting her return. We can and will be happy for them….

Our memories together will last a lifetime. That said, I will add a second photo to this entry that is my favorit e one of Shanty. Taken in the Washington Park Rose Garden (in Portland) three weeks ago, it may seem unreal but has not been modified in any way. Shanty described the place as ``a little piece of heaven``. So it is.

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