Self-Isolation Play List Recalls Travels

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_16ceI enjoy a weekly podcast of BBC Desert Island Discs. I just finished the Daniel Radcliffe episode. I’ve also noticed that the some people are creating self-isolation playlists and sharing on Instagram. Satellite Sister Lian Dolan created two with the themes of survival. We may as well have fun with it while we are waiting and looking out for one another by staying home.

I haven’t created a playlist since I dropped my youngest child off at UC Santa Cruz. And I don’t listen to as much music as I once did. So when I imagine being interviewed by the BBC presenter on Desert Island Discs, I think of the songs inspired by my travels.

My first big trip outside the United States was to Catrine in Ayrshire with Teen Missions when I was 16 years old. I came home at the end of the summer and discovered that My Sharona by the band The Knack had completely taken over the airwaves. My high school pep squad and student body adapted it to our school name, “La-Si-er-ra” and yet I had not heard it once! While I was in Scotland we sang a lot of Christian songs but weren’t allowed to listen to the radio; however, I did develop a real soft spot for bagpipe music and all things Scottish. Later I fell hard for the twins from Edinburgh, The Proclaimers. I have every album recorded by Charlie and Craig Reid and the disc I want in my COVID shelter in place is The Joyful Kilmarnock Blues.

My next travel adventure was to study summer school in Cambridge, England. First my then husband and I drove around England, Wales and Scotland. I loved Paul Young’s Wherever I Lay My Hat That’s My Home, and was bummed to find out that it didn’t reach the same popularity in America.

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I didn’t travel much while I raised my children–annual trips to Yosemite were more the norm. So when I was newly divorced I gave solo travel a go. Except air travel to meet up with a friend or group, I had not had complete control of an itinerary before and the rebel in me loved it. I chose London and Dublin for my first solo foray and I fell hard for Ireland.  That trip I was mad for Chumbawamba’s Tubthumping.  (And for the record, I apologize for linking to some truly bad videos.)

Within a few years I was semi-regularly volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, Northern Ireland in Belfast. I even marched in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Downpatrick. There were many songs that I enjoyed singing as we enjoyed the culture in NorIreland. On one of my last trips a young builder who was apprenticing at the site shared with me his favorite song at the time: Voodoo Child by the Rogue Traders.

I discovered New Zealand through Habitat for Humanity as well. I met a group of Kiwis on a Jimmy Carter Build in Cambodia and the next year led a team to Wellington, New Zealand. Music was a big part of the build and I discovered Brooke Fraser. One of my favorite songs is Something in the Water.

I have returned many times to New Zealand and I like many other Kiwi artists besides the obvious–the phenomenal Lorde. I was briefly obsessed with Gin Wigmore’s Black Sheep. I have memories connected with the New Zealand National Anthem and the Rugby Union theme song for the Rugby World Cup, World in Union. Sometimes I would discover a song on Kiwi road trips that was a hit in New Zealand but not yet in the United States, such as Glad You Came by The Wanted.

The biggest connection with a song on any of my adventures was summer of 2014 when I followed the Tour de France from Yorkshire to Paris. For part of the tour I joined a Thomson spectator tour in the Alps. Our bus driver had a great playlist including Enrique Inglesias’ Bailando. If I only could take one song to my desert island it would be this one.

Working at home all day and then spending all evening at home is not quite as isolating as being stranded on a desert island. I have Facetime with my grandson and daughter and phone calls and texts with colleagues and friends. Still, there is a growing sense of the end of the world as we know it.  Just as 9/11 ushered in a different set of priorities, so too will this pandemic.

 

 

 

New Zealanders Really Know How to…

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Ah, the flat white.

New Zealanders do two things really well: coffee and rugby.  No, wait.

New Zealanders do three things really well:  coffee, rugby and war memorials. No, wait…

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Memorial on One Tree Hill

 

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Devonport War Memorial
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The best of all: the Auckland War Memorial Museum

New Zealanders do four things really well: coffee, rugby, war memorials and the postal service.

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I love the New Zealand Post. First, the mail is delivered by Posties on bicycles. Think of how much money could be saved (and how good for the environment) if the USPS used bikes in cities and towns. And look what good shape these posties are in! Plus even villages have postal service in dairies (small grocery stores). And because the Post has a relationship with the state owned Kiwibank, people in small towns also have access to banking services.

New Zealanders do four things really well: coffee, rugby, war memorials and the postal service. No wait, New Zealanders do five things really well: coffee, rugby, war memorials, postal service and public toilets!

No, wait…

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Many of the public toilets in the Northland are beautifully designed, and every loo in NZ is cleaner than any public toilet I have ever used in the USA.

There are six things New Zealanders do really well:  coffee, rugby, war memorials, postal service, public toilets and public libraries!

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The Devonport library:  City of Auckland is still expanding their library system!

There are more things kiwis do well, like conservation of natural areas and hiking huts and bike trails and water sports and blending te reo Maori and poetry festivals and wine and lamb. You will just have to go and see for yourself and add to this list.

 

 

 

Something Interesting Always Going on in Arcata, CA

The Alibi on the Arcata Plaza serves a great breakfast.
The Alibi on the Arcata Plaza serves a great breakfast.

Unless you have a friend or family member associated with Humboldt State University, you may be among the many Californians who confuse Arcata in NorCal with Arcadia in SoCal. The towns could not be more different. Over 30 years ago my best friend started University at HSU and I began visiting the area. Everytime I visit it seems like I experience something new: Kube, saunas, Samoa Cookhouse, geocaching in the Arcata Marsh, organic ice cream, Crabs baseball, farmers markets and more.

This last visit was over Halloween weekend so it offered a few new surprises. I started my Saturday at Harriet and Brian’s where we determined the best place to eat breakfast and watch the Rugby World Cup championship game was at the Alibi on the Arcata plaza. The farmers market was going full steam so we parked a couple of blocks away and walked. The Alibi is an institution–mainly a popular bar but known for a great breakfast. They had just opened a much larger dining area and there were a few bumps for the wait staff. We had the same great service but they looked a little frazzled.

Watching championship World Cup Rugby game at The Alibi
Watching championship World Cup Rugby game at The Alibi

I was a little nervous about the rugby match actually being on NBC since the station was showing cartoons until 9:00 a.m. Brian’s information was correct and we were soon watching the All Blacks Haka. At first we were the only ones in the bar interested in the game. Harriet and Brian were also unfamiliar with the sport. Soon quite a few people were enjoying this very competitive game. For those of you who watched you know that the Kiwis had some breathing room in the first half and then the Wallabies came roaring back. The announcers were proclaiming the momentum with Australia. Then the Man of the Match Dan Carter kicked a goal and you could almost watch the air go out of the Aussie balloon. Soon I could relax a little and enjoy the game again.

If you are interested in checking out a rugby match, many of the World Cup matches are on YouTube. Definitely recommend the Japan VS South Africa, New Zealand VS France, and the final between New Zealand and Australia.

Pumpkin skeleton on Arcata Plaza
Pumpkin skeleton on Arcata Plaza

We did a bit of shopping at my favorite plaza shops: the Garden Gate and Top Knots.  Later in the day we returned to the Plaza at the end of the trick or treat event where merchants hand out candy to smaller children on the Plaza. We saw some great costumes including an adorable Scooby-Doo. My favorite was a Curious George whose Dad dressed up as the man in the yellow hat. Brilliant.

It was not hard to convince me to go for pie for dinner. There is a new restaurant called BitterSweet that is a shared space for the Slice of Humboldt Pie and The Local Cider Bar.  We enjoyed meat pies for dinner and apple pie a la mode for dessert. I enjoyed the pumpkin cider. I hope this idea of shared spaces catches on in the same way the organic ice cream has become popular.

The Local Cider Company in BitterSweet
The Local Cider Company in BitterSweet