Sunday, September 11, 2011


Monica: This morning I awoke to a mournful tune drifting in from somewhere outside. I got out of bed to look out the window and saw a lone man in full Scottish dress pacing the lower meadow as he played a set of bagpipes. The bride from yesterday's wedding had hired a bagpipe player to wake her new husband, one of his family's traditions for momentous occasions. It was fitting, that sad and solitary song. I have been reluctant to immerse myself in the emotional remembrance of the day that changed everything, but it can't be helped. Ten years ago, I was staying in a hostel in Bangkok, eagerly preparing for my return home after 27 months living abroadWhen I sat down to breakfast, I saw the headline of the Bangkok Post—"Kamikaze Horror"—and made it through the first paragraph before I burst into tears. I don't particularly want to relive the agony of shock and dread and horrible uncertainty I felt then. I remember I felt so alone and isolated from everything and everyone I loved. Recently I read about the only American astronaut in space on that day and how he witnessed the giant dust cloud of the crumbling towers from his little window in the International Space Station. He talked about how helpless he felt watching this horrible event unfold at home and there was nothing he could do. I could relate to that feeling. I think maybe most of us had similar feelings. In any case, I found that I was showered with kindness and compassion by complete strangers in the ensuing days. That experience affirmed my faith in the inherent goodness of human beings, no matter their nationality, political views, or religious beliefs.

Evelyn: Nature has such fascinating decor and although shells may look common along a beach walk, there are occasional patterns and shadows that sometimes catch the eye between the swirls and glimmers of retracting surf. I passed this shell both on the to and fro of a leisurely afternoon beach walk, and the second time around I couldn't help but to crouch down and explore it with my camera.

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