My trip was really and truly wonderful. As a trip. Best flying experiences I’ve ever had (on “full flights” I sat with no one both to and from Milan!) and, just, Italy! So good.
Things I discovered on my travels:
1) I know how to cook pasta and risotto perfectly. I thought this was true, but it’s nice to have it confirmed.
2) Gay Pride celebrations all over the world include the celebration of Lady Gaga.
3) I am never more American or more Catholic than when I am outside of the United States. Mass at the Duomo in Milan was one of my favorite parts of my trip.
4) In spite of the fact that my hotel was halfway up a mountain, I did love the family that owns and runs it. (Really, it was more like a B&B than a hotel.) And the fact that it was halfway up a mountain meant that eating gelato at minimum daily, if not twice daily, was totally something I felt no guilt about.
5) I apparently look far younger than my nearly 40 years! And it is so nice to be told that! Over and over again!
Other than that, the trip was very productive for work and ideas, even if it wasn’t as super-fun as I might have wished it would be. This is not a conference I will attend again, unless I have a Very Good Reason. Just not fun enough. Which might be why people don’t work as much on the author that this conference celebrated, frankly. Stuffy sticks in the mud don’t necessarily attract scholarly interest in the things that they like. Indeed. (Though I did meet some people I really liked a ton… just this is not the “vibe” of the group as a whole.) Lest you think I am being unfairly judgmental, I will cite as evidence the fact that in nearly every panel and keynote I attended somebody cited F.R. LEAVIS without irony or any sort of qualification.
And so now I am home, and the kitties are grand. There was a lot of meowing initially, which I believe could be translated along the lines of, “WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN FOR TEN DAYS WE ARE LONELY AND WE DON’T EVEN KNOW THAT YOU ARE COMMITTED TO BEING OUR CARETAKER AND THIS IS TERRIBLE AND LET US TELL YOU ALL OF THE THINGS!!!!!” Now, they sleep peacefully.
So I’ll write more in the coming days – lots to do between now and mid-August! – but I shall leave you with this gorgeous picture, perhaps the favorite one I took throughout my travels. Truly, I think that this was the most gorgeous place I’ve ever visited.