We went to Tampa for Spring Break to visit our family. It sounds so weird to say that but it’s true we have a lot of family there. Sean’s Auntie Jan has lived in Florida for years, my mother in law and her husband “winter” nearby and my daughter recently moved to St. Petersburg to pursue her dream job with the Tampa Bay Rays.
For the first time ever we stayed at an Airbnb which was so much better than a hotel. We had the full use of a small house. In our typical fashion we under utilized the kitchen but made up for that by using the common areas to play cards and games. Being an Airbnb guest opened my eyes to what people really need when traveling which I think will make me a better hostess. I brought six books but only read two of them because we were so busy with the family. Both were very good books about the strength and resilience of young women.
The first was “The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane” by Lisa See. This novel is about a young Chinese girl who was given up for adoption by her teenaged mother. She is adopted by a wealthy family in California but can’t help but wonder about her birth family back in China. Her friend group is made up of a number of other adopted Chinese girls who are the victims of the one child policy in China. These girls realize they are “grateful but angry”. They are grateful to be the cherished children of their adopted family yet angry because they feel abandoned by their Chinese family. This is an interesting book that I would recommend even though I hated the way the author forced a coincidentally overly happy ending.
The second book was “The Underground Girls of Kabul” by Jenny Nordberg. I have known for a long time that being a girl in Afghanistan doesn’t sound like very much fun. This book explores a hidden resistance of girls who are temporarily raised as boys. The custom is called bacha posh and is done because families without sons are not considered complete or prosperous until they have a son. This custom also benefits the young girls posing as boys because they have freedom to learn, participate in sports and live freely outside of their home. I didn’t know anything about this hidden practice which I found fascinating.
As we were getting ready to leave I couldn’t help but think of the opportunities my own daughter has living in this country. She was able to move across the country to pursue her dream job in the male dominated world of professional sports. I think this gratefulness caught up with me because these goodbyes were much harder than when she left in January.
Goodbye, Erin. Goodbye, ML, Jan and Harlan and Goodbye, Florida. I could not have picked two better books about strong and smart young women to keep me company on my trip.