Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Geography Lesson

As a little girl in Upstate New York, I often dreamed of travelling to faraway places. These dreams were fueled by stories of my family’s travel adventures. One ancestor was a missionary in 19th century Turkey, where he and his wife ran an orphanage for Armenian girls. Another, my grandfather, was a scientist who made research expeditions the length and breadth of Africa studying the Fruit fly. Then there was my father, who spent most of World War II in Delhi India, as a quartermaster in the Army, supplying the Burma trail.

 I loved nothing better than going up to the attic of our house, and digging through old trunks full of ancient photographs and mementos from these family adventures. My father had also given me his childhood collections of stamps and postcards. The bold colors and designs of the stamps from colonial Africa especially intrigued me. On rainy days, I used to entertain the neighborhood kids with shows of postcard images projected on the attic walls from my father’s old magic lantern. At school, during show and tell, I often demonstrated how to drape an Indian sari and a turban.

So when I saw the details of an online course in Travel Geography from a local community college, I was excited at the opportunity to learn more about these parts of the world, and to retrace the steps of my ancestors.

Next Stop - Africa and Asia,