I hadn’t been planning travel, and I definitely hadn’t been planning to return to Charlottesville for the fifth anniversary of Unite the Right. Travel has been complicated for me lately. I’m still waiting on a visa renewal, and it wasn’t clear if I even could travel.
However, a couple weeks ago my wife’s grandmother fell ill. I called a German immigration attorney who advised me of my rights, including my right to travel even while awaiting my visa extension. I’m glad I got this advice, because my wife’s grandmother passed a week ago, and with only about 48 hours' notice, I was able to get a flight, return home, and be with family. That’s the most important thing. I’ll figure out the return situation soon, when I head back to Germany.
I didn’t really know Christine’s grandmother really well, but I can see so much of her in Christine. I have many fond memories of the Christmases we spent together. When I transitioned, Grandma never had any difficulty getting my name or pronouns right. That always meant a lot to me. If someone in her 80s and 90s could get it right, then so can anyone else. You just have to love people. I’ll miss her.
In the meanwhile, coming home so soon meant that I was around for the anniversary events. I wasn’t sure what to feel, or if I would feel anything. To be honest, I really didn’t. Enough has been written, said, studied, analyzed, and so on. At any rate, it was still really nice to see old friends, and to see the community holding space for the victims of the attacks.
I was particularly impressed by the vigil organized by Congregate Charlottesville. After so many Berlin leftist demo clusterfucks, it was really nice to see a well-executed event that connected time, space, historical context, community, and multiple calls to action, including calls for donations to:
There are also a couple exhibits around town. The incredible Ézé Amos has an installation downtown, and my friend and inspiration, Kendall King, has curated an exhibit at the UVa Special Collections library. It’s strange to see my objects there, my writing there. Twenty years ago, could I have imagined that my writing, my work would be forever stored alongside Jefferson, Poe, Faulkner?
One day I’ll figure out how to reckon with that.
I finished the Duolingo German course to Gold! Now I have to finish it to Legendary, which should take me 2-3 months. I swear to the gods, if they change the content yet again I am going to scream.
Early mornings and travel is what I have in store for next week. I’ve got another 8 or so hours of German class waiting, and project work for the day job. I picked up the first three books of The Expanse series. I’m looking forward to jumping into them.
Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes