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Postcards from Travel Near and Far by Jia-Rui

91106, Pasadena

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Wood-paneled dining room of Caltech Athenaeum

Dear ——–,

It was Carolina’s last day in our office, so Jane organized a lunch at the Caltech Athenaeum, a kind of faculty club for Caltech, the Huntington Library and the Jet Propulsion Lab. I’d actually visited the Athenaeum before because we considered getting married there. (We decided the maroon and forest green color scheme wasn’t exactly a match for us.) Over a tasty buffet of salads and roast chicken, Carolina regaled us with funny tales of her 10 years in the office, including the shipment of a suspicious substance a few years ago. Jane had written something about the Big Bang and Carolina handed her a piece of mail from someone at a Bible college in Tennessee. The envelope started leaking. Carolina took off in the vanpool home. Hazmat arrived and quarantined the building. They called Carolina and wanted her to turn the van around. The vanpoolers decided to keep going in the hopes that the hazmat team would figure out what the substance was in an hour. It turned out to be horseradish. A guy said his neighbor had grown horseradish with such a kick that he wanted to see if NASA could use it.

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Author: postmarkhere

I'm a journalist based in Los Angeles who has always said that writing postcards for a living would be a dream job. The posts -- short enough to fit on an actual postcard -- chronicle recent travels near and far. I could blab on about being inspired by epistolary novels, the short poems of Emily Dickinson, and the New Yorker's "Talk of the Town" pieces, but I'll just say that I'm aiming to give you a sense of flavor of a place without boring you to death. Wish you were here!

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