November 7, 2004
What do Cycling, Mongolian food, Speaking German, Enya, Leonardo DaVinci, VocabuLearn, Monet, and Annie have in common? They were all part of my weekend getaway with my wife. The last couple of days have been refreshing and really romantic!
Friday after work I took off on my bicycle and rode 23 miles to meet my wife at a hotel. That was really strange not going home, but it added to the mood of the getaway. After I showered and changed, we went out to one of our favorite restaurants, Kahn’s Mongolian Barbeque, in Bloomington. The food there is great and the service is also very good. Tip the cooks and they all stop what they are doing, bow and say, “Thank you, thank you!” My wife and I shared a pot of really flavorful orange, ginger and mint tea. And we ate, talked and enjoyed just being out together.
After dinner we did another one of our favorite activities together; going to a bookstore. We went to Borders Books and looked around for a while. As I was looking over the books I overheard some older ladies talking in german about some of the books on the table by me. I was just standing there and it dawned on me that I had just understood a conversation in another language. If you are a language learner you probably know that sensation. All of the women left except one who was still intent on looking at those books, so I struck up a conversation in german with her. She was thrilled that an American was speaking german with her and I found out that they were here visiting their daughter’s friend who comes to stay with them in Germany frequently. After about ten minutes of talking, she excused herself to rejoin her company. I had a definite glow after that interaction. Communicating with someone in their native language is not the same as hearing it in our language. I think there are things are lost in the translation. I then walked around the store feeling great inside as I picked out some more reading material and other things.
As is our custom together, my wife and I pick out things to buy then go to the coffee shop and show each other what we found and enjoy hearing about them. I picked out an Enya CD with a few really nice songs on it. Though I didn’t get a chance to listen to it before buying it, it turned out to be really good. I also found some new Korean language material for enhancing and supplementing my language learning. Then came Leonardo DaVinci. I found the Notebooks of Leonardo DaVinci, Definitive Edition in one Volume, Edited by Edward MacCurdy. This is a fascinating book! It’s 1180 pages of insight into the life of Leonardo DaVinci. I had no idea what kind of a scholar he was not to mention his artwork.
We drank our coffee and talked, then it was time to go back to the hotel for the night. We tried the whirlpool but there was too much chlorine in it and it was burning our eyes just being in the room. Then soon enough, the day was over and we rested. In the morning we talked, laid around and enjoyed the continental breakfast. Our plans for the day were taking shape and it looked like it was going to be great!
Our first stop for Saturday was the Minneapolis Institute of Art. That place is always amazing to me. I can always find something that inspires me there. We looked around the first floor until we were tired and hungry and decided that we needed to eat some lunch. Their sign in the restaurant didn’t specify what kind, but I was pleasantly surprised when I was handed a bowl of Tomato Basil soup. It was really flavorful, thick and creamy like my wife usually makes it. I loved it.
After lunch we determined that we had about two more hours to look around so we headed to the third floor. There they had an excellent photography display. They were all black and white photos, which I like anyway. Also on the third floor they have a few Rodin sculptures and a painting by Van Gogh and a few by Monet. I love seeing these paintings in person because you can see the texture and the actual brush strokes. And the colors are more vibrant in person.
After looking at the art, we stopped in the gift shop. They have an interesting gift shop, with some great art-related things. It was along those isles that a book jumped out at me. It was related to my earlier purchase so I bought it: Leonardo DaVinci on the Human Body, The most complete collection of the Anatomical, Physiological, and Embryological drawings – More than 1200 illustrations. This combined with his notebooks, provides me with a greater picture of who Leonardo DaVinci is. When it was time to go we went outside and realized what a beautiful day it was. It was nice walking hand in hand along the street talking about what we saw and liked in the museum. This is when we started to think about the end of our little vacation.
But there was one more event for the day. We went to a musical, Annie that was being put on by Woodbury High School. The acting and singing were very good and we were happy to see it. It was amazing. The auditorium was sold out and they are doing 12 performances! That seems like a lot more than when I was in high school. But it was quite an elaborate production. This version had about 94 parts in it, but several people played multiple parts. The play was good. We really enjoyed it.
As we were sitting there though, an odd sensation crept over me. I became aware of something. There were only a couple minorities in the cast. Then I looked around the auditorium and I could only see two families that were not Caucasian. One was Asian, and another was African American. I think I became aware of this because both of my children went to school in St. Paul where Caucasian students actually numbered fewer than the other ethnic groups combined. I was used to seeing plays that were much more mixed. Here it was like looking at those black and white photos; there was a big contrast between this school and other schools I’ve seen. So during intermission I looked around more to see if I wasn’t just making a big deal in my head over nothing. But I saw the same thing. 1 African American and one Asian Family, and one family that looked like they were Hispanic. The rest were Caucasian. There were about 500 people there I think.
Is that weird of me to think like this? To notice this? Then to drive this into my head deeper, I saw a big poster on the wall of the school cafeteria (which was right outside of the auditorium) that read, “Woodbury High School Students Appreciate Diversity.” I pointed that out to my wife and she joked, “Yeah, the students appreciate diversity, they just haven’t seen it.” I wondered then if people can really appreciate diversity without being diverse.
Today I went to work at the group home and it was a very nice day. I enjoyed talking to them and helping them. I took one of the guys out to Kmart for a little shopping and exercise. He was excited to go and was cooperative and in a good mood. So we had a good day!
After work tonight we had our discussion group meeting, which I had just found out was being held at Sawatdee! I was just there with my friend this week! To my great joy, I was able to say hello in proper Thai language! The food was absolutely fabulous. I had chicken in a curry paste and rice and we all shared a number of different appetizers. Our discussion for the evening was mostly focused on food from different nationalities and cultures. We discovered that we all love to try new things and most of us enjoy Thai, Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese food.
Now I’m here typing my blog. I know for sure my adventure is over for the weekend and tomorrow I go back to work. I have a quiz Tuesday night, and I have most of my words memorized. Tomorrow night I’m meeting with my language partner to practice more Korean. So it’s back to being busy. haha. But it’s ok, I’m recharged. I’m ready for it.
One thing I was reminded of from this whole experience is that relationships with other people require time together. Not just saying hello, good morning, good night, how was your day, etc, but also really connecting and spending time together. Many people call this “Quality Time.” I know that in our marriage over the last 21 years, this is a proven necessity for our relationships with ourselves and others.
Now for a quote from the Notebooks of Leonardo DaVinci:
“Man has great power of speech, but the greater part thereof is empty and deceitful. The animals have little, but that little is useful and true; and better is a small and certain thing than a great falsehood.”
I do not know yet whether this quote applies to Woodbury High School diversity or not. But that’s what I thought of first when I read this. In fairness to the students of that school though, they did not create the level of diversity in their school by their own free will. They only receive the consequences of it.
Don't all relationships benefit from spending Quality Time together?
Posted by carl1236 at November 7, 2004 11:09 PM | Balance