Day 231: Claire's Return to the US, or 9 Hours in California

My return to the USA today, save for the 2 hours I spent in the Dallas airport two weeks ago (FYI: the largest in size in the world, the second most busy in the world) came one hour ago. The homecoming was at my parents' home in Berkeley, as I have no actual home in this world save the one I was born in. One of the best parts was the mail. Here are the things I am sorting through in my 9 hours before getting on another plane to go to Vegas!

- 33 US Weeklys.

- One letter from O Magazine (Oprah's) thanking me for my thoughts on how much the magazine means to me. I am left to guess that my mother has been reading O, has also been writing them about how much O means to her, and has been using my name.

- Six copies of Out Traveler, which apparently I have gotten a free subscription to. Out Traveler appears to be a travel magazine targeted to gay individuals. I'm not sure who signed me up for this, but it's probably Lara, and it's definitely funny.

- 4 issues of The Pitcairn Miscellany. Pitcairn Island is the South Pacific island the Mutiny on the Bounty solidiers started when they jumped ship. It is famous as the "most remote place in the world," but it's unclear how that is determined. There is a population of less than 50 people, as of the last census. There was also a scandalous sexual abuse scandal there that shocked the world two years ago. Four years ago I read a great book about an anthropologist's time there, Serpent in Paradise, and have been subscribing to the quarterly newsletter ever since. There are 1,000 subscribers worldwide. There is a teaching position open. Lara and I want to go. We do not have teaching credentials, but I fear (hope?) that may not be necessary.

- Two packages from Karyn Bosnak, author of Save Karyn and the new book Twenty Times a Lady. One with the book, autographed with the following note:

To my favorite world traveler Claire: Don't ever lost the sunny outlook on life that you have! Thanks for reading! xxx, Karyn

Although Karyn does not know me, and have very little to base this claim of a "sunny outlook on life" on, save for the emails I send stalking her and offering to run her Amazon campaigns, I took this message as a true compliment.

Here is why:

Four years ago the season of the Amazing Race was on when that mean girl Flo, or maybe it was Flora, was really pessimistic. She had this partner, though, that had a great outlook on life and used to say things to Flo that amounted to really much more upbeat versions of: "Get off the dirt and realize you're TRAVELING THE WORLD and LIVING THE DREAM and start working for the MILLION DOLLARS we are about to win."
Flo would not listen, and instead lay down on Indian trains and African benches moaning and things. But he kept at it.

It was then, a diary note from the finale (in which they win) can attest to, that I decided I wanted to be a more positive person. It has been a long battle. I am not there yet, because I sometimes still get really upset about little things that are stupid, or think fatalistic things like "even Lara doesn't care" or listen to Tom Petty's You Don't Know How it Feels. And I will never be entirely there, because I do not want to turn into one of those bland dips I hate who doesn't say anything interesting because the world is so rosy.

But I have a good balance in mind. A positive mindset in which sarcasm is integral, and every day I am ever closer to the balance. And when someone who doesn't know me at all, but who is a famously famous author I love, writes and compliments me on qualities that she does not know if I possess or not, I'm going to just take that compliment and run with it. Because that would be the way to look on the sunny side of this situation.

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