Posted by: gdevi | October 23, 2015

Day 1

I ran away from campus at noon right after my class before anyone else could ask me for one more thing, dropped off all the international event stuff in John’s office, and got to the airport. The little hops skips and jumps –State College to DC to Chicago to Fargo all went fine. All flights were overbooked; everybody is traveling, I guess. I sat next to a very interesting young man from Chicago to Fargo. He was an US Air Force pilot with special operations and he was flying to Fargo and then visiting his mother somewhere in Minnesota. Chicago to Fargo is about an hour and a half flight. We had this wonderful conversation the entire time. He asked me if I was from India and I said, yes. He told me that his brother in Fargo who he was meeting and they are all going to their mother’s — that brother is married to a woman from India. He said that his brother was like him– 6’5” tall–and that his wife was 4’10’ tall. He said the height was noticeably different. No kidding, I said. He was a wonderful young man. He was very fond of his sister-in-law, and he said his brother and his sister-in-law are expecting their first child. Apparently they run a yoga studio in Fargo, Fit Hot Yoga.  I told him about the conference and he told me about Moorhead and Fargo and I told him that I went to UND and that I never visited Moorhead etc. So he said, I went to UND too! I stayed in Brannon Hall the first year I was there, I said. I stayed there too, he said. He graduated from the Aeroscience program–I asked him if he knew my old friends Syed Hassan and Dagfinn Eri, who were pilots and flight instructors. He didn’t; he must have been very very junior to them. He went to UND in 2001, he said. So anyway, we had a splendid conversation the whole way; he was extremely well-informed about the world, in general. He had many questions about Sri Lanka, India’s relationship with Soviet Union, Hinduism etc. He asked me if I was a Hindu. I told him I don’t practice anything really, but yes at heart I am a Hindu in my worldview, I said. I am a Christian, he said. I told him that I liked reading the Bible, and that if I were ever to change my religion, I would choose to be a Catholic. He told me that he was a Baptist. I told him that sometimes my daughter says that she is a Christian; he thought that was funny. So we talked about the Bible and Core Texts that I teach. We had a very good conversation about the Bible–i kings 2 kings, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, and the Book of Ruth. It was all good. I don’t read as much as I should, he said; I wish I had taken that Bible class you teach; I never thought of it as literature, he said.  He had the most unusual name–Oak Plested. I felt very pastoral when I learned his name. It is German. So now I am here at the Moorhead Courtyard Marriott. I feel very hungry but I am too tired to go somewhere and get something. The Budget rental kid at the airport saw that I was from PA on my driver’s license and asked me the name of an Amish movie that I had not heard before–he told me that he knows someone from the town where the Amish movie was shot–is it Lancaster, I asked the kid. Yeah, he said, that’s it. I feel like I had the most geographically oriented travel ever in my life. So I have this strange-feeling white Toyota Tercel for the weekend. Tomorrow after I finish all my conference stuff I am driving to Grand Forks–I am guessing it is 29 North. We’ll see. I am so tired. What a day.

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