Actually right now there are a lot of things that I hope to remember for a long long time. After what feels like almost a month of trips and travels, I am once again back in my new bedroom at Cana. My suitcase lies partially unpacked on the floor, a lovely cool breeze that I must have brought back with me from the Northwest is blowing through my window and it is very good to be home. Although at this point of transition I am not entirely sure of where that is. Is home back with my parents, memories of high school and college town of Goshen? Or is home the apartment down the street that I shared with Jess and Erini and Becca for the past year? Or is home the amazing connections I still have with friends from college living in Denver, Portland and Seattle? Or is home the house I am living in now called Cana?
Hmmm, what to say of my trip west? It was in an essence lovely and perfect. And while one would always like more time to reconnect with friends, I got to see each of my dear western friends and felt like in some way I was able to have those times that serve to bridge the gaps between visits and keep me close to them all.
As for those details of what I actually did, here are some highlights:
1. Theo Chocolates – Although I had been on this tour before, there is nothing boring about hearing the details of how an organic fair trade chocolate factory processes chocolate from bean to bar. Besides they give out so many incredible samples that by the end of the time I was actually turning down more samples!
2. A trip to Discovery Park – While the park was quite beautiful, what was really wonderful was the chance to talk about life, love (or the pursuit of it) and travel with some of my favorite people (Becca, Meryl and Katie). And of course we took some pictures.
3. Taking the ferry to Bainbridge Island – I have to say I mainly liked the idea of this excursion because, ferry! who doesn’t like a boat ride! Seattle is indeed beautiful, worthy of its names as Emerald City, all the glass and steel reflects all the blues, greys and greens of the Sound.
4. Happy hour at the Portland City Grill – Jess, Meryl and I met up with another great friend from college (and high school and junior high, in my case), Laurel. We sipped cocktails ordered tiny plates of cheap but delicious food and enjoyed the gorgeous views of downtown from the 30th floor. It was really wonderful catching up with Laurel and getting a peak into her life. It always amazes me how much people change, yet at the same time remain the people that you liked so much to begin with.
5. Exploring Portland (Powells’ and the Chinese Garden) – There are few things in life I love more than a good used book story, so imagine my joy when I visit a huge independent bookstore that is both gigantic and has a mix of new and used books for pretty darn cheap. The answer is very happy and 7 books richer. After Jess, Meryl and I dragged ourselves away from Powells, we grabbed some pizza, did a little used clothing shopping and then headed over to the Portland Chinese Gardens, which for such a small space, did an amazing job of transporting us far away to the slopes of Emei Shan in Sichuan China. We wandered around and finally got some tea and talked and sipped and talked some more. The whole time in the garden was like a piece of some of my best memories from China.
6. Driving down the Oregon Coast on 101 – I had heard stories about Highway 101 before and knew that I really wanted to drive a least a small part of it and I was not disappointed. Much of the highway is literally right next to the coast, especially in hilly regions where the cliffs next to the road lead directly to the water. We drove through fog, sun, more fog and lots of tiny tourist towns and fruit stands, I definitely need to come back to this part of the country.
7. Cape Blanco State Park – This was probably Meryl and I’s favorite campsite due to its wooded, secluded but beautiful setting. Apart from the coldest night of our life due to the same mist that we found so enchanting during the day, our night here was very peaceful and quiet. Unfortunately the mist which looked so lovely blowing down into valleys also completely obscured our view of the lighthouse which rests on the point of the cape.
8. Taking lots of ridiculous videos with Meryl and then laughing at ourselves – I think this one is fairly self-explanatory.
9. The Redwoods – Being surrounded by giant incredibly old trees = very happy Abby