June 14, 2011

The land before time.

Last August in New York I went to the Museum of Natural History. It was amazing. I have a tendency to sneak up to guided tours and listen in, so that way I learned all about the fossilized dinosaur eggs and I got to touch them too. I like dinosaurs lots and I do one day want to own a Night Fury. I think it’s Jacob’s doing. In case you don’t know, my little nephew Jakob has a slight obsession with dinosaurs and even when he was only 4 years old he could tell you exactly the difference between a dinosaur and a dragon and would tell you off if you mixed them up. So no surprise that he was very happy when I got him a walking and roaring dinosaur, one of those presents parents will never buy for their own kids. I’m surely going to be paid back for it in singing toy ponies once I have a child.
When carnival came along a few years ago Jacob to everybody’s surprise decided not to be Jack Sparrow, but a T-Rex. Actually that might not be accurate, but is the only dinosaur I can think of and spell. Xenia bought some fancy felt fabric and sewed him an outfit, which of course ended in tears because last minute he wanted to be some other kind of dinosaur and now the fabric wasn’t the right kind.
I was overjoyed when I found cameras at the museum that film you and you can send a video message to people via email. The best part of it? It puts you in a New York taxi which is being chased by a T-Rex. Unfortunately I don’t have the email anymore otherwise I would have posted it here. I think I looked quite heroic in the eyes of such danger. And my imaginary cabbie was cool too.
My most exciting part however was a stint at the South Sea exhibit all put together by the late Margaret Mead, cultural anthropologist. In addition to articles by her and things she had collected, they also showed films about her life and I became utterly fascinated. So fascinated that back in Cape Town I decided I had to read her autobiography. Only problem was, it had been out of print for years. I started my research and finally located it at Strand in NYC, sent Gladys the details and was now apparently responsible for my poor pregnant friend to walk all over town in the snow heaps to get my book. Not only that, but she had to climb up a ladder to get to it once there.
Though she gave it to me when she was here in February, I hadn’t yet opened it. It had just been lying on my ‘to read’ pile of books. I think sometimes I feel anxious to actually open a book that I have so looked forward to as it may just disappoint.
This Saturday I decided it was time, so I took my iced coffee and Blackberry Winter out on the balcony just to fall in love with it: To read someone describing home away from home for the first time exactly how I felt about it all my life was mesmerizing. How it doesn’t matter how long you spend in a place, but what you make of it and who you meet. Her notion of how you always take certain things with you that instantly make you feel home. I too, have the oddest assortment of things, useful and not, that I have been dragging around with me for years. Just to make home away from home...Will take some pictures tonight and show you tomorrow. I might also tell you the story of the home I shared with the little bellboy whom I watched gymnastics at the summer Olympics with. Or write about his flatmate who wrote his emails while wearing a black g-string. All for the sake of anthropoligical research of course.

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