"Fourteen Weeks" is a series of updates that Ethan Gelber and Jane Higgins wrote
as a means of staying in touch with friends and family as they traveled around the world in 2002 and 2003.
|A BIG HINT:|
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First 14 Weeks (2002) — Part One: Introduction | Part Two: Australia | Part Three: Hong Kong | Part Four: Africa
Second 14 Weeks (2002) — Part One: Introduction, Ireland | Part Two: Europe and U.S. | Part Three: Europe | Part Four: North America
Third 14 Weeks (2002–2003) — Part One: Introduction, U.S. | Part Two: Mexico, Brazil | Part Three: U.S. | Part Four: U.S., Australia | Part Five: U.S.
Seven weeks ago . . .
Six weeks ago, we barely felt our first full day in New York City. From Koblenz, where, a few days earlier, Ethan had finished his Blue Marble responsibilities and Jane had enjoyed one last glass of local riesling, we dragged a pride of bikes back to Paris (via Frankfurt, where delayed trains made it impossible to see Noah), settled our accounts, dined copiously with friends — an awesome Moroccan feast with Youth Workshop backbone Nacera, Sarfaraz and Wissal; homemade red snapper meuniere with Nicolas and Laura; Indian delights with Brigitte — shouldered our backpacks (the last time for perhaps a long time) and boarded US-bound planes.
Five weeks ago, we were aching through an all-day bus trip to Montreal. Yes, we had barely stretched our legs or caught our breaths in New York, and yes, we had not even unpacked completely, but notable events urged us north. Besides, it was good to get away from the apartment — Ethan's parents' unoccupied New York manse — in which we were scraping some living space. Not having been in residence for years, Ethan had a lot of packed and piled affairs to put in order. And the dust was getting to us. So Montreal-ward we went.
Four weeks ago, Jane went to an open house at the New School of New York to check on educational options. This is part of our plan to stay a little while in the USA, since, as an Australian, Jane will need a longer-lasting visa than the 90-day tourist permission she has now. (Besides, she does want to continue her education or pursue an extended internship or something here.) We had just returned from a spectacular weekend in Montreal, dominated by the magical marriage of friends Daniel and Steven. Anyone with an eye for news may recall that they made history as the first same-sex union to be celebrated in the weddings pages of the New York Times! After the two full days of festivities, we took Monday and Tuesday to spend more time enjoying Montreal in the company of friends Sterling and his wife Shannon (who selflessly unrolled a bed for us in their living room — THANKS!), Jean-Bernard, and, at the last minute, Kerry Ann, her husband Eric, and their kids, Simon and Kira.
Three weeks ago, we succeeded in slipping into Broadway's The Lion King to applaud Ethan's high-school friend, Price, two weeks before finishing his two-year run as Ed, the goofy hyena. We were able to take advantage of a single low-attendance Thursday matinee performance replacing one of the shows cancelled on this year's September 11. Speaking of which, on that fateful day, visible life away from Ground Zero and other NYC memorial services went on as normal. Many people seemed to have opted for more private and personal observance of the tragedy that took place one year ago. The rest of the week? Quiet. Ethan doing taxes and Jane researching educational opportunities. On Sunday we did get out for the Transportation Alternatives NYC Century bike ride. We only indulged in about 80 miles, but still felt accomplished.
Two weeks ago, we were in Morrill, Maine, to join in celebrating the second birthday of Eli, Ethan's nephew. Once again, we spent a full day on a bus to get to our destination, but the simple reward of time with family in peaceful, rural remove was worth it. We were met in Portland (Maine) by Ethan's parents (Sam and Blanche) and caught, at the last possible moment, the chance to see some of Sam's outstanding (and enormous) new paintings hung in a gallery. The week prior to departing for Maine, we puttered through a few days, tackling neglected past work (Ethan finally finished his taxes) and preparing for the future.
One week ago, back in NYC after our very long weekend in Maine — "lawnsaling," walking in the woods, looking at Sam's paintings, seeing friends (like mandolin mistress Elizabeth!) and family, helping Ethan's sister Hilary with her new under-construction log-cabin kit house, biding quiet time under lapis skies heckled only by flocks of wild turkey — Jane began an internship with Oxfam International. Ethan, meanwhile, in addition to refiring the BikeAbout burners, continues to toss through ideas and reach out to friends and contacts, hoping to hit on something productive, interesting (and maybe even financially rewarding) to do. So far, no great shakes. If you have any thoughts . . .
Twenty-four hours ago, we finally caught up with Ethan's other sibling, Linus, at a bar on the Lower East Side. He was one of the devoted audience of Marwood, a band that recently signed on to Linus' Home Office Records. We filled him in on recent events, including the Saturday cycling torture — the New York Cycling Club's Escape from New York Century — that left Ethan in more pain than cycling has ever yet caused him. Jane weathered her 80 miles very, very well.
And so we wind into autumn-auguring weather. And finally settle in (kinda, at least until Jane's 90-day visa runs out). And reach out. If we have not been in touch in recent weeks (especially with friends in NYC), we promise to be so soon. Now that we have no excuse not to . . . and every reason to want to.
The next 14 weeks . . .
Copyright 2003-2004 Ethan Gelber. All rights reserved.