Musings on “Eat Pray Love”

A treat for mother and son movie time

A bag of popcorn is a powerful thing.

Seems my soon-to-be 21 year old son, Christopher, is still happy to spend the afternoon with mom–as long as popcorn and a movie are involved.

Last week he surprised me by suggesting we see “Eat Pray Love“–so we headed off to Harkins Shea 14 to enjoy the tale of travels through Italy, India and Indonesia.

I was intrigued to learn in advance of the movie’s release that Julia Roberts had embraced Hinduism during her filming of “Eat Pray Love”–recalling my own mother’s practice of the ancient religion.

Watching Roberts’ performance, I saw a bit of my own adventures–undertaken not as an adult but as a child. Like “Eat Pray Love” author Elizabeth Gilbert (whose book debuted in 2006), my own mother embraced travel as a means of self-exploration and self-expression.

A memoir of life's journeys

For Gilbert, travail and travel followed a bitter divorce. For my mom, who died more than a decade ago of pancreatic cancer, it was the loss of my stepfather–a truck driver and devoted family man–that triggered that first trip.

He died after spending months in a coma, following a burst appendix suffered at home in bed as he refused to go to the doctor or hospital for care. (Do your kids a favor and lose the macho when medical care might be warranted.)

I think I was in the fifth grade at the time (it’s been a while), and recall the teacher who faithfully drove me to and from school each day so my mother could be by my stepfather’s side.

One of the next things I remember is the front yard of our Colorado home–a lovely two story with a dark grey exterior and red front door, plus a glorious staircase and a spacious back yard.

There's an art to letting go...

The lawn was covered with most of our furniture and other possessions. We had to sell the house, and wouldn’t have room for much as we traveled to our new home–in Anchorage, Alaska.

International travel was never in the budget–but we did manage to live plenty of places. Alaska. Hawaii. Northern California. My travels to Europe, China and Israel came later in life as a college student and young professional.

I decided, after seeing “Eat Pray Love,” that I wanted to share a bit of Italian, Indian and Indonesian culture with our readers–but a trip abroad will have to wait until the onslaught of college tuition for three subsides.

So here’s my plan…

Today I’m heading out to the Musical Instrument Museum of Phoenix with my family, where we’re going to explore instruments from around the world.

Eat, pray, love...repeat as needed

Each child (all now young adults) will be in charge of a country and theme represented in the movie.

Christopher, 2o, gets Italy (“Eat”). Jennifer, 19, gets India (“Pray”). And Lizabeth, 17, gets Indonesia (“Love”).

James is in charge of whipping out the credit card at their amazing gift shop and cafe (which I’m told features “food prepared from scratch, using fresh local ingredients”–including pastries to die for).

Christopher and I will have cameras (no flash allowed) in tow so I can present a future post on “Eat Pray Love” museum style.

We’ll also check out today’s 12:30pm “Museum Encounter” featuring 2010 Grammy Award nominee Rahim AlHaj, an Iraqi-born musician and composer performing concerts this weekend at the MIM Music Theater.

His instrument, the oud, is considered “the grandfather of all stringed instruments.” Today’s “Museum Encounter” with AlHaj is free with museum admission.

It's a tough job, but...

But how, exactly, do you persuade a grown child to accompany you on such an adventure?

Simply put, a pastry is a powerful thing.


Note: “Eat Pray Love” is now showing in Valley theaters (rated PG-13, 133 min.). Click here for MIM information, including hours and pricing. 

Coming up: Lynn and Liz get noisy, “Eat Pray Love” ala the MIM, Theater offerings from Valley community colleges, Sampling snack bars at Valley venues, Local storytelling treasures


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