In the plain frames are copies of hand-coloured photos of my maternal grandmother in her early twenties. Also in the image are the side of our wardrobe, a chest of drawers, two white tulips and a piece of flint from the Maasai Mara in Kenya. I spent some time on this International Women's Day remembering her. Her greatest regret was her lack of formal education. She never went past the eighth grade. Though she was a warm and intelligent woman who read extensively (with an especial affection for historical fiction), she lacked confidence in her abilities. She wanted very much for her children and grandchildren to be university educated. She did not live to see me get my PhD.
She spent her last ten years suffering from dementia. I'm not much of one for wishes, since I think they're futile, but if I could have one wish, it would be for her to have spent those years with the clarity and peace of mind she exhibited before her decline.
The UK Census meme:
In 1981, I lived in Honolulu, Hawai'i. I was brown as a berry, spent every moment I could in the ocean and was blissfully unaware that I would shortly be moving to the mainland US without my parents.
In 1991, I lived in Olympia, Washington. I had been reunited with my parents and was discovering the joy of high school. My hair was so big it had its own weather system and I was convinced no boys liked me because I didn't have straight blonde hair and blue eyes.
In 2001, I lived in San Diego, California. I was most of the way through my PhD and had just come out of the very dark period in the middle of it when I wasn't sure I wanted to
In 2011, I live in Cambridge, England with a loving partner and two cats. I have a good job and some well-established hobbies. I like to think Grammy would have been proud of me.