Some time in the early spring my mom wrote to me while I was living on a beach in Goa to suggest that it was time for me to come back to the States and take care of my student loans. At that time the amount of my debt was far less that today's college graduates but duty called.
My first try at reentry into my birth culture was in Berkeley and Oakland,CA. It was 1970. I was 27 years old. After a year on just getting by I moved to Arcata in Humboldt County, close to the Oregon border. Luck was with me there. I got a part time job teaching in the art department at Humboldt State University and a rental house with an outrageous view of the Pacific. At the time I thought I might return to Asia in a year or two.
Instead I got involved in the art community, the women's movement, and the University where I got full time employment. I built small house with the help of a man who eventually became my husband. George had studied architecture with the Chicago Bauhaus and was a knowledgeable builder. His contribution was critical in making that little building significant enough, along with my paintings, to get me accepted into the graduate program in architecture at Berkeley.
Life just kept moving along. There were two wonderful sons, a design business, ventures into development, friends, schools to help start for my boys, and suddenly twenty years had passed.
By 1991 I was a single mother determined to share the adventure of travel and cultural exploration with my boys. I spent that year reading Lonely Planet books and saving money. In January of 1992, with my nine and fifteen year old kids, I took off for Calcutta. We traveled over much of India and went on to trek over two hundred miles in the Himalayas. For me the experience integrated for the first time, my life in Humboldt County with the life I had lived in my twenties in Asia. India changes slowly. The world my boys saw was essentially the same as the one I had lived in twenty years earlier.