PrevNextTop85-06-20Letter to Norman and Karen from Mexico

Saturday June 20, 1985

Dear Norman and Karen,

I'm still alive. I hope you are, too.

Thank you for the letters you wrote me and which I did recieve receive in London February 24. My travels were pretty hectic for a few months after that and I had sort of postcarded myself out. I did write you a letter from Tel Aviv towards the end of March and included my address here in México but maybe you never received it. On several other occasions I had trouble sending letters to and from Israel and can't say I trust the Israeli mails. Too bad. That letter from Tel Aviv was one of my best. Not in a newsy sort of way. I told two stories - one about 3 children in a playground in a little park in Tel Aviv - another about a kilo of carrots from Cairo that didn't make it across the border. And I drew some pictures, too. And I asked if I could spend the Fourth of July with you.

My pen ran out this morning so I'm writing in pencil and so might as well change colors here and there. I'm in Cuernavaca, México (just south of México City). I've been here for 6 weeks studying Spanish at a fine school and will be here for 2 more weeks. The first couple of weeks I rested from constant motion. The next few weeks I looked for letters from you and a few other friends. Then I thought about writing so you'd have time to respond. Now I'm writing to tell you when I'll be home. Mail between here and California takes about 10 days.

What a boring letter! All about letters sent but not received, intended but not written, and unreliable mail systems. Sorry.

On June 20 I'm meeting Jim Griffin in San Diego. I want to meet his parents, a friend of his named George, and see where he grew up. On Sunday June 23 we'll drive back to Santa Cruz/Santa Clara.

What will I do when I get back? Well, first say hello to everybody. My brother is getting married on July 13 and I'm going to be an usher. Jim gave me some advice. He recently attended his younger brother's wedding. He recommended eating a lot of cookies and drinking a lot of champagne and approaching all those inquisitive relatives with an astonished look on my face saying to them: “Well! Leif finally made it. I thought he was never going to get married.”

Okay, time for purple. May I spend the 4th of July with you? Maybe Jim could join us, too. He told me in a letter that he enjoyed your company again at the letter reading party and wished to see you again soon.

What else will I do? Well, my cousin Janet is giving her annual August 2 Icelandic Independence Day Celebration party and I will go to that, being a guest of honor, I'm sure, because I actually went there (to Iceland).

And I remember you telling me about some special event at your school, Karen. Graduation, an exhibit of your work. I certainly wouldn't want to miss that. A special day to mark and celebrate years of effort.

What else will I do? I mean do. You know like - a job? Job. Work. Money. Oh, yah! I remember something about that experience.

A woman I met in Lyon, France from Piedmont, CA (I will see her again) told me that when she returns home after a year of studying French in France, that her bank account was going to be very calm. (She told me her English was deteriorating, that she had to grope for words, and that often what she came up with was inventive and poetic.)

My bank account is going to be pretty calm, too. I'm not sure what the bottom line will be - my Dad, the IRS, and I will have to fight it out with some bank statements, phone bills, tax forms, and a cashier's check for a couple hundred thousand pesos - but I think I'm going to have to go back to work. Once again I will play at being an overpaid computer programmer. That is if someone will hire me. I'm not exactly your devoted career type. I think I still remember how to program.

#define HELLO goodbye
main(argc, argv)
int argc;
char **argv;
Yellow no good. Brown okay. What else will I do? Well. One of the important things I've learned on my trip is how to be friends with women. Or rather I've learned more about it or something about it. It's easy to make friends (men or women) while travelling. There is a greater need for company but also there is not the question, “Will we be friends next week?” Also, perhaps the kind of person that is willing to split from home for a while is more my kind of person. There is a kind of selection process. Hopefully when I return and find a place to be I can be more open more accepting and develop some lasting friendships with women. I certainly aim to correspond with many of the good people I've met along the way. Some of them are close - Mary Ellen in Piedmont, Martha in Hollister, but also Patty in Texas, Nicole in New Hampshire, Hank in Concord (CA), Julie in Lake Tahoe. I will write many and ask if they would like a California correspondent - Mireille, Nechama, Nin, Lisa, Tumi, Ráðhildur, Thomas, Jørgen, Richard, ..., Mikiko, Mohammed, Khaled, ...

Another thing I will do when I return is inquire about continuing my aborted reeducation as a nutritionist. It is still important. I think I'm fated to have a double career - some combination of computers and food. Not combination exactly - more a symbiotic relationship. I'd like to stay with you a day or two (perhaps around the 4th of July) and get some info and advice from the career/nutrition/public health people at UCB.

Bottom of page! Letter wasn't so boring after all, eh?

I will call you,
Take care of each other and yourselves,

PrevNextTop85-06-20Letter to Norman and Karen from Mexico