Noughts and Crosses on Lamu My life seems at the moment to be made up entirely of lists. To-do lists mostly but other kinds, too--grocery lists, mental lists, lists of people and places and times. So here's a list of things-that-have-happened-recently, in no particular order.

1. My parents are visiting from California. We talk of the ranch and the weather. We go for walks, have pub lunches, eat pizza and watch television. When people visit me here, but particularly people I'm close to, I start to feel that time expands to include them. I cannot imagine what it is like living here without my family close by, though this is what I do, most of the time; their arrival, only a week and a half ago, seems like something very faint in the far reaches of an old woman's memory (I met them on my bicycle and we ate Indian food, that day).

2. I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Lady Who Lunches--and her charming boyfriend Jock--in real life. We had pints and burgers and talked about life in a foreign country. I forget, you know, that this life--my life is a life in a foreign country. The foreignness has faded and when you wake up and go to work and later you walk to the shop and wave hello at a few familiar faces and you pay your bills and you go for a run and have a shower it's so easy to imagine that it has always been this way. Then every so often the sun glitters in a funny way and you remember that you're not from here. And so it was comforting to have real contact with someone who had until then existed purely online; even more comforting to remember that my particular situation is not entirely unique. Read her write-up of the evening here.

3. I'm working a lot. This is good in one sense--in more than one sense--but bad in the sense that, in my enthusiasm for all these new tasks, I've neglected my book (and my blog).

4. A volcano erupted.

5. I started, as I always do this time of year, to suffer from hay fever, and now spend several minutes every morning sneezing.

6. I graduated. At least, I donned an enormous gown and hood and walked down an aisle and shook someone's hand, and then stood in the sun playing with the billowing sleeves while people hugged each other and took elaborately staged photographs. I felt lucky; my parents were there, the Man was there. Privately we laughed at the whole affair, which was cheap and stuffy and full of obscure members of the Oxford Brookes faculty wearing ermine cloaks and court-jester-inspired hats, but I can't pretend that there wasn't a really thrilling moment when, for the first time, I caught a glimpse of myself in academic dress.

7. The sun has come out and the trees have blossomed and the garden is suddenly overgrown. I even wore a skirt with no tights, once.