April 3rd, 2009 we got married in Coral Gables, Miami, Florida, USA. We rented a convertible and drove down to Key West. We had some-kind of bizarro honey-moon, which included all the kitschiness of Florida beach towns combined with the commercial blandness of a bad art gallery in a college town in the Mid-West, with a splash of Mojito sauce thrown in, too.
April 3rd, 2010 we spent our first year anniversary riding an antique train line to the family-friendly mountain town of Jiji, Taiwan. Yet again kitschiness was abundant. We rented a scooter and scooted up into the banana farms of the mountains, glided motor-off down the mountain roads, as if we were the young fearless cats in the Hou Hsiao Hsien movie, “Goodbye South, Goodbye.”
April 3rd, 2011 we spent our second year anniversary in the far-flung ethnically Tibetan province of Qinghai, China, leaving the city center of Xining, in an unmetered taxi, barreling down the middle of the road at top speeds, our driver maniacally attacking the line around every mountain curve as we wound our way to a 12th century Tibetan monastery.
April 3rd, 2012 we spent our third year anniversary waiting with our bicycles at an international ferry terminal bound for the Langkawi Islands off the coast of Malaysia, after having cycled there from China, through Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand, to arrive on the islands to find a glittering, car-loving, pedestrian-free, duty-free shopping Mecca of luxury tourism the scale of which set our internal compasses a-spinning and had us asking ourselves, “What in the heck are WE doing HERE?”
April 3rd, 2013 we spent our fourth year anniversary on a long hot walk under the freeways of Bangkok, Thailand, explored a narrow neighborhood, and emerged to find a sliver of a somewhat decent river park. There we watched boys jump from the tops of motoring motorboats into the Chao Phraya river.
April 3rd, 2014 we spent our fifth year anniversary in an international clinic in our neighborhood in Saigon, Vietnam. Michael clasped my hand sitting next to me on the hospital bed as I writhed in agony as the nurse cleaned and cut dead skin off of my second degree burns covering my calf. Two nights before, a blundering young motor-bike driver had knocked me over onto his hot muffler where I was pinned for few seconds too long. This day on the nurse’s table marked the most pain I had ever felt physically in my entire life. And as I cried and moaned I wondered what the 5-month old fetus was experiencing with me in my womb, totally protected and safe. And I visualized, and I mantra-ed, and I practiced breathing through it.