Last week felt like the first real days of summer. We had eighty degrees, humid nights, afternoon ice cream breaks, shoulder sunburns, clock-watching at the office, fans whirring at home, summer food like smoothies and homemade pico de gallo and grilled chicken, peach tea in the fridge, evening walks. And I soaked it up with a little exploring of my neck of woods, some solo trekking and some with my roommate, Christy.
The beach! Fifteen minutes from my place, and it is embarrassing I've never been to this one before. It's on the Long Island sound and has the most tranquil network of boardwalks you could ask for. The day I headed out here was breezy and cool, I should have brought a sweatshirt, but perfect for walking and thinking.
Christy and I went out for New Haven pizza last week and tried Modern's, one of Connecticut's top pizzerias. To try two of the house specialties, we got half sausage and half veggie bomb and it did not disappoint. The Saturday night we went must have been Yale's graduation because it was full of families, many from other countries, out celebrating.
Exploring Riverside Park one evening
With sunglasses, a book, and a water bottle, I headed off on my bike Friday afternoon to find Indian Wells State park. It was a few miles away (unfortunately those miles were mostly uphill) but a fun new discovery. The park runs along the river with outdoor picnic areas, grills, grassy fields, forested areas, a beach, and miles of hiking trails. After some exploring, I spent an hour reading on the sand and then hiked a bit of the trails. Toting my Nikon and messing around with aperture and shutter speed like I haven't done since high school was a blast - I'm terrible at it but need to do this more!
The perfect place to read
I'm almost at one year here in Connecticut and don't know how much longer I'll be at this location. I decided on my bike ride back that I should document the buildings on Canal Street so I can remember my first east coast odyssey. There is so much character in these old industrial buildings, so many stories unknown to the millennials who move in and out in a year without a second glance. Many were old factories, now decommissioned; some were converted into modern lofts with high ceilings and exposed beams, others remain empty for now, with broken glass, graffiti, and leafy vines the only evidence of life around them. Earlier in the week, with a bit of sleuthing and piecing together Google history, Christy and I discovered an old locks and a deserted gun factory just a bit further down the gravel road. By the lack of cobwebs on several doors, it appears new owners may be coming to bring Canal St to a new glory.
It's a bit premature for a reverie on this first year out here, but I will say this: the learnings have been good, stretching both personally and professionally; trials have taught me many things, most notably that all 'things' are God's -- so it does no use to worry about them -- and it is in Him alone we must hide our souls; and new relationships have brought refreshed energy to my life. Here's to the next three months, three months of summer that yes I'll be working through but will also be jetting off on weekend roadtrips and Cape Cod biking and a bit of vacation and of course, #exploring.
Still have yet to make it to Nikki's .... flea market about five minutes from my apartment. We went exploring one night after hours when the building was left unlocked and it is now on my list to return in the daytime. The hours are quite unfortunate for a working woman though.
Me and my bike, a Nikon and some red brick. What more can you ask for?
Over Mother's Day weekend I took a trip home. Friday I headed out early from work and caught a train into the city, then a few subways over to Newark for a redeye out west. After some non-restful sleep in the SF airport, I arrived to beautiful PDX around 11 the next morning. That feeling of landing in this airport, of knowing all the gates and concourses, of stepping out into the Oregon spring air ... my heart couldn't have gotten more full. And then the little gray Honda with my Mom and sister driving up to the curb ...
That was Saturday. The rest of the day was a blur of swimming, smoothies, and long hours around the dinner table. Oh to be a family again. All six of us.
Sunday was so great to be in Silverton again, lined up on a bench with my Mom and sisters, hearing familiar ministers and song leaders and brothers giving songs. We hurried home to have Papa Del's pizza and homemade ice cream, celebrate birthdays and Mother's Day and Father's Day and all those events we are never together for, and curl up on couches to watch old family pictures. And then Sunday night Tiera was back on her way to the airport and all we had were plans to be together again at Christmas.
I was thankful to be just beginning my days at home and could settle into my own bed that Sunday night, hearing Kendra take off for Corvallis and the rest of the house quiet for the night. Just like old times. Almost. I got up early on Monday to log on when my coworkers were beginning their days on the east coast, and the morning flew by with meetings and Skype calls just as if I were in the office. Except I wasn't, I got to be wearing pjs and sitting in bed. Oh, the perks of working agile. The afternoon held a walk to the library with Dad and then a swim, reading outside on the chaise lounge, some piano playing and violin duets, and grilled chicken salads for dinner. Could not have asked for a more relaxing day.
Tuesday I took off and Mom and I headed to the coast. Our favorite -- Cannon Beach -- was cloudless and waiting, with all of our old-time favorites: claim chowder and halibut at Bill's, a walk on the beach, a stroll through the shops, a few hours with a book. That day was stolen, stolen from time that always rushed by when I lived at home, when I lived at home and there were errands to run and bathrooms to clean and other things to do; now we made time and the other things faded away. And now, two weeks later, when my sunburn is faded and I'm back east, I am so so thankful that we did it.
One evening when Kendra was back from school we took a trip up to Portland for Burgerville burgers and shakes and to walk the new Tilikum Bridge. The bridge and the summer evening were great, piling five of us into the Honda and driving those familiar roads again was better.
That second weekend home my parents were gone so my sisters and I reverted to the old days. Kendra and I spent the whole day in the pool on Friday (oh wow was that wonderful), then that night we ate outside on the patio and Kyla and I made Auntie Anne's pretzels. Saturday was for sleeping in and playing the piano and being lazy, then I headed to Dundee to meet a good friend for wood-fired pizzas and cozy atmosphere before YG in Silverton. After young group Tressa and I decided for a third try at the paper lanterns we had tried to let off twice last summer (both foiled due to weather ... the coast was too windy, the fields last July too dry). Saturday's rainy morning had made us confident that we wouldn't be starting any fires, so we doled out lanterns to the group left at YG at 9:30 that night and started lighting. The first one bounced haphazardly up Duane and Adrianna's roof before getting stuck in a fir tree, and caused enough heart attacks to get us to move to open fields closer to church. Though some of them ripped and others didn't make it far off the ground, the lantern-letting was fun and the sky was dark black and the perfect backdrop.
Then it was Sunday and the graduation potluck and then Kyla was driving me to the airport to fly back to Connecticut. And I was tired. Ahead of me, so many hours in an airplane seat through the night, landing in New York to the Monday morning commute rush, logging on to work on the few hours of trains back to CT. But this is the life I have been led to live, and I feel confident of that one fact despite the sweet goodness of being back home in Oregon. And it won't be forever, but for now I have that peace and no regrets.
It's finally starting to look like spring! Loving my river walk and anticipating spending summer nights out on the patio with a good book and glass of peach tea.
Took a quick work trip to Jacksonville, FL. That evening my manager and I drove out to the beach for dinner and though it wasn't hot, it was great weather for a beach walk
We also had a great ride -- it can't get better than this: windows down, Florida, shades, sunny skies
Audrey and I went to Philly one weekend. We had big plans to see a bunch of the city but the rainy (then snowy) weather changed that a bit.
We made it to the Liberty Bell before the snow hit, then caught a city bus a few blocks to the Reading Market to spend some hours inside
No better way to spend an afternoon than walking through a farmers market and used book stalls and cookbook shops and buying fresh baked goods
If you look out the windows you can see the snow coming down hard outside
I have a roommate for the month of May - Christy Stoller, who is a surgery resident doing a rotation near me. Her night off this week we invited another good friend down for dinner and had great fun cooking and spending the evening together
A delicious dinner and then a walk until sunset
Counting myself blessed for having found kindred spirits out here
It's been a busy week at work and now I'm packing to head to home to Oregon for a week. Tomorrow around 3 PM you won't be able to keep the smiles off my face!
Kendra came to visit for an extended weekend over Easter which was quite the treat. She arrived into Boston on a Thursday so I drove up to Mass and then took the train into Fenway. We found a tiny but popular Mexican restaurant for lunch and then sat on barstools in the front window eating guac and catching up and trying to stay out of the cold. That day in mid-March, was chilly, with a strong wind blowing through the Boston city blocks that kept us running inside to storefronts or markets to warm up. We wandered around a bit of the city and through Boston Public Market before getting some Vermont cider and apple cider donuts to take with us on the train home. Late afternoon we got back to my car and started the drive back to Shelton, searching for a pizza place strategically along the route for a fun dinner. We found the highest ranking pizza in a small town in Mass and realized it was definitely the local choice -- but for take-out. We were the only two eat-in diners in the tiny restaurant that Thursday night but the delivery boy was in and out constantly with deliveries. The pizza was delicious though (worth the awkward environment).
Friday I worked and gave Kendra a tour of the office, then Good Friday services. Saturday morning we slept in and made the delicious brunch above before heading off to NYC. We had no more plans beyond seeing 9/11 and doing lower Manhattan, which is the best way to spend a day in the city. We ended up with a great mix of new and old experiences -- check check now I've officially bought ice cream from a NYC street vendor and walked the Brooklyn Bridge.
Easter and the rest of the weekend went fast and then we were headed back up to Boston, back to the "real life" that claims us for too many days of the year. Hard to believe that the new normal is apart but I guess that falls in line with growing up. Glad to have the next trip home already planned!
I'm a twenty-something from the Pacific NW making home in new places as I follow where God leads.
My intent is to show Christ's love to the world and use business to solve some of the social problems we face: hunger, illiteracy, healthcare, economic hardship. For now, I'm in a stage of learning. A little adventuring, a few books, some good friends, and a whole lot of prayer and life runs on.