Houses, Home, and Culdesacs

4 08 2016

It’s been over a year since that day J and I crammed some of my belongings into his truck and I moved out of our house. Not for lover’s quarrel but for higher education. After six months in a house with several very nice dudes, my friend and classmate N offered me a room at her house.

Thus began the saga of Big K, Little K, and Momma N. Over the last 9 months, we formed a weird little family, and it was amazing. Just having someone to talk to that was going through the same things made the grind easier to bear. We were able to rant about our days, laugh at the ridiculousness, and celebrate our victories. Couch parties and copious amounts of tea and editing each other’s papers long into the night – that’s what got me through grad school.

roomies

Well, that and a fiesty little red-head, 5 years old and full of sugar and sass. Sometimes, she would creep into my room to climb into bed with me, rooting around in my pillows until she found my old teddy. She would join me on walks, and shared my afternoon snacks, and drew me beautiful pictures. I know she hated how much we were always on our computers, but she did a great job of giving us study breaks. As an extra bonus, she helped me catch up on all my Disney movies!

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Little K: sugar and spice and everything nice

Last Friday, I had to drive away from my new little family. They said their farewells even before J showed up with his truck. I’d been so excited to finally get to move back in with J that the shock of my sorrow took me by surprise. I had been focusing on wedding plans and my summer job and pretending to prepare for the coming school year. It conveniently slipped my mind that moving back to J’s house meant leaving my girls behind.

I sobbed.

It’s a funny thing, the concept of “home”. I’ve lived in lots of houses, in different states, with different people. And for the last 5 years, J has been my home. But I also found a home with these two, and I felt a little less orphaned thanks to them. We had community in our little culdesac, where neighborhood kids knocked on the door to sell raffle tickets for little league and ask if Little K could come play. I discovered a sense of being “neighborly” reminiscent of the ’50s. I had my local haunts and my favorite parking spot at the grocery store, and a sense of knowing my way around in our little section of town. There’s a sense of belonging that comes along with all this.

 

I’ve now been at J’s house for a week. We’re still playing tetris with our belongings, trying to make everything fit, but it’s coming together. Just yesterday, I had a small epiphany that made me feel much better: I have a home and community here, too.

J is still my home, and hopefully always will be. It’s also a wonderful feeling to live in just one place again, instead of two. I love getting to wake up to J’s handsome face each morning, and tucking Simba into bed each night. We’re all blissfully back under one roof. And our little street has a nice, friendly feel, similar to my former culdesac. The houses are close together, and everyone seems to be outside at some point, offering a wave and hello. Simba has become acquainted with the other mutts of the street, and our neighbor we share a driveway with asked me yesterday if I could haul her trash can up today after it was emptied, so it wouldn’t blow away. There’s all sorts of neighborly-ness going on.

My heart still aches for my girls, but I do get to see Momma N this weekend. I didn’t move across the country, I’m just an hour away – we’ll have lunch next week when I’m in the ‘Couve for other things. Plus: SnapChat. Boom.

So despite still struggling with our housing situation, and anxiously awaiting the day we’ll have a place to call our own, I don’t lack for a home or a community. That makes me feel better, and gives me that sense of belonging I’ve craved. I no longer have a suitcase on standby for the weekend, and I feel much less nomadic. We live in a super rad town that I’m excited to get to know better. My hard-won friends are still just down the river, and in 36 days, J and I get to say I Do.

Life goes on. Thankfully, I have two awesome ladies that I got to share it with for a little while. Grad school would have been a very different experience were it not for them, and I’m so grateful to them for allowing me to adopt them for a little while.

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Being Grateful for Chaos

24 04 2015

There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. -Nelson Mandela

It all started January of 2014. We were crossing the threshold into a brand new year, and I took stock of my life. I had the necessities: good job, roof over my head, plenty of food, loyal dog, handsome man.

As good as things were, life was not quite where I needed it to be. Mostly, working remotely was no longer working well for me, and I decided it was time for a little change.

Sadly, I’ve never been good at “little” change. Instead of rearranging the place settings on my table, I grabbed the edge, really put my back into it, and flipped the whole damn table over.

table-flip of my life, chasing dreams

The table symbolizes my life.

After tons of research, nights of pondering my options, conversation after rambling conversation with J, and a notebook full of discarded ideas, I emerged with a game plan.

Even at the end of my twenties, soul searching to figure out what I want to be when I grow up, what I want to do with my life, is a scary, complicated, maddening task. How do we ever know where to find the answers to the big scary LIFE questions?? And once we make a decision, how on God’s green earth do we know it’s the right one?!

We don’t. We pick a dream and we chase it. We take the leap to pursue our passions. We can always adjust the course along the way, but the dream is the important compass that keeps us going.

Right? I’m pretty sure I read that on a pillow once. But this is what I’m doing. Dream chasing.

So, I talked to an adviser last spring, and almost 9 months later, requirements finally met, I mailed in my application for the Master’s in Teaching graduate program at Washington State University.

A slew of tests, sleepless nights, and freak-outs later, I finally received my acceptance letter — WOOOO! But the happy dance didn’t last long…too much to do! That letter came at the end of March, and the first day of class is May 11. My to-do list still stretches about 5 miles long and I wish I had a device to measure my emotional mood swings like a seismometer measures earth quakes.

In three short weeks, nothing will be the same as it is today. I will have moved out of my house with J to a new house in Vancouver, WA – a city I know almost nothing about. I’ll be living with two dudes I found on Craigslist instead of with my beau and my mutt. Each weekend, I’ll drive back to stay with J in a new house I’ve not yet even seen. My career at G5, where I’ve worked for 5 1/2 years will be over, and I’ll now be a part-time barista at a little local coffee shop. My first grad school classes will have begun.

What the hell have I done?

No, this is good, all these scary things are good. These massive life changes are all in pursuit of a main goal: to become an elementary teacher. See? That doesn’t sound so scary! All this stuff in the middle is just temporary, the stepping stones paving the path which I use to chase this dream. (Too bad a drunk, blind, inexperienced elf laid the stepping stones. Does the path really need to be this stressful?!)

Even though I know it’s temporary, I’m stressed about J and I’s impending geographic separation. He’s been my daily constant for 4 years – now I have to do without?? And what about my sweet little Simba, my furbaby, my constant companion? I only get to see him on weekends? So not fair! (Ok, not fair to me. But Simba will now become a Ranger Dog and get to hike with J all the time, instead of being cooped up in my room waiting for me to get home from class…)

And quitting my job – saying I was unprepared for that would be the understatement of the year. I thought I was ready, finally done with the place, done with the glass ceiling I’ve been smashed against for about 3 years now. Working remotely sounds awesome to those who don’t do it, but having no opportunities at all because you aren’t in the office – not awesome. But when the time came to break the news to my boss – the same boss I’ve worked under for 4 years now – I almost cried. Thank goodness the quality of Google Hangouts is not that great. My team is a tight-knit, well-oiled machine, and I have grown and learned so much with and from these guys, it’s almost impossible to think of moving on without them. Maybe they’ll all come to grad school with me?! I can only hope to find myself in a group with such talent, passion, and humble accomplishments sometime again.

Ok, now I’m going to cry again.

My friends and family have all been so encouraging and supportive – I really wouldn’t have made it this far without them. They have given me the courage to take the first steps, and then been there all along the way with advice, hugs, cards, Kleenex, high-fives, long phone conversations, and never-ending support. I wish I could find a bra that held me up as well as the amazing people I have in my life.

And J. My sweet J. I would never be here, hurtling myself head over heels after a dream I’ve hidden in the back of my heart for most of my life, if it weren’t for my J.  He reminds me why I’m doing all this, tells me it’ll all be worth it, and repeatedly encourages me with “You can do this”. (Even in the middle of the night, as I lie awake worrying.)

So yes, I am grateful for the chaos. I’m grateful for the brains and courage and ambition that have landed me in the delightful mess. Despite all I’ve made it through so far, I know this is only the beginning of the hard work, but I’ve made it past the first milestone, so I’m celebrating that. I did not settle for the life that was easy, but lacking in passion; good but not great.

Never settle for ordinary, friends, when we were created to be extraordinary.

 





I am not a tree

8 05 2014

Some might call me a “gypsy”, others prefer “nomad” – most stick with “crazy fool”. I don’t care, the fact remains: I LOVE MOVING.

If you’ve been around a while, you already know this. In the 3 1/2 years I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve moved 3 times! Well, I have now…

That’s right, I squeezed in another move. We found a house right before our awesome trip to the coast, signed the first set of papers as we headed out of town that weekend, and started packing like maniacs as soon as walked back in the door Sunday evening. Ahhh, the delightful scent of cardboard mixing with the aromas of packing tape and sharpie….

We didn’t go far this time. In fact, we’re still on the same road, sort of. Just 20 miles south. But we’re closer to “town”, as we country folk like to say – about 5 minutes into White Salmon, WA, 10 minutes to Hood River, OR. So awesome!!

The reasons behind this move were vastly different than the last 3 – no falling in love and closing the gap of a long distance relationship, no new jobs or promotions. Nope, I’m just a pansy and have hit my limit with being a hermit. My isolation has driven me close enough to the point of insanity that J agreed we should move closer to civilization. Yay!

This kind of move dredges up a whole different team of emotions than other kinds. We’re not off to brand new places full of brand new things – we’re generally in the same area. And most other aspects of our lives are staying the same…same work lives, same people we hang out with. I know some of this will change – but you get my drift.

I discovered that this new team of emotions was an interesting bunch. Nostalgia has shown itself to be the definitive team captain. I noticed Regret hanging out on the sidelines, trying to sneak in. Excitement and Stress are varsity starters…but Nostalgia is running the show.

It’s so easy to fall into his trap. “Aww, our old house was so big and roomy…man I miss our wood stove…I’m so sad to leave my towering Ponderosas…” And then the other side of the coin: “This new place is so small…we’re literally living in someone’s basement…why are there so many spiders? Where are we going to put our stuff?”

Yes, it’s true, our last house was pretty awesome and in a ridiculously gorgeous spot. But I was living the life of a hermit because we lived so far out. Thirty miles to the grocery store gets old fast. It would be different if I had a job I went to every day, where I could soak up human interaction like a little sponge. But I work from home, waving at neighbors from afar and slowly becoming more and more socially awkward. So we moved. And I have started countering all Nostalgia’s big moves. That house was too big, bigger than we needed, and intimidating to try to keep clean. The fire in the stove was great to watch, but the smoke made my eyes burn and left a delightful gray film on everything – the walls and windows and furniture. It also consumed about 4 cords of wood, all of which had to be cut, split and stacked. No wood stove might be nice….

And moving to a smaller place forced us to purge our crap. Neither of us are real pack rats, but when there’s space, there’s no motivation to get rid of anything. Our Goodwill pile is damn impressive!! We decided we might stash it all and have a big yard sale when we’re settled in.

Our new little basement is charming and cute and just big enough for us. The house is built on a slope so one side of our new digs is mostly windows, though the deck above us provides shade to keep us cool all summer. And the location – man oh man! We’re right in the valley of the White Salmon River, which you can hear below from our porch, and only about 2 miles up from the Columbia. The land around us is half orchard, half untamed, overgrown brush and forest. It’s insanely gorgeous and the orchard fruit stand is just at the end of our driveway – fresh produce all summer! And without those towering ponderosa trees shading the entire yard, I can garden again!!

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Not a bad view…

Possibly the best part of all is that we live in someone’s basement. That someone happens to rent out rooms upstairs, too. We moved into a house where other people also live – built in friends! So far, all our new housemates are ridiculously nice. One awesome woman is soon to be my new BFF – I just know it!

The pros definitely outweigh the “aw dang it”‘s that Nostalgia keeps trying to through my way. Our last place was great, sure – but so is this one. I have a sneaking suspicion that once we get the boxes unpacked and the cellphone boosters installed and my garden planted, this new house is going to surpass the old one.

A favorite quote of mine says, “If you don’t like where you are, change it. You are not a tree.” I think this applies to much more than geography, and our new house is just the first step for me not being a tree. But it’s a big step, and one that I think will help me greatly.

It might take a bit for us to get unpacked and organized, but who wants to visit first?!?

😀





BE MY FRIEND! (please?)

25 05 2013

Yall are going to be so proud of me! I’m being SOCIAL!!

Those who know me well were all pretty surprised when I moved to the middle of nowhere and switched to teleworking. That was two and a half years ago and I’m still at it! While most days the pros outweigh the cons, there is one little con that has the ability to get me down a bit: loneliness. I go days upon weeks without seeing another face besides JRock’s, especially in the winter.  Not that J doesn’t have a wonderful face that I’m quite fond of, but variety is the spice of life!!

This causes problems because I’m typically a very social person who thrives off human interaction. So when I finally do get to see people face-to-face, I freak out a little. Especially at first. I had finally started to be a normal person again, making friends with local girls and leaving the poor postman alone. Then we moved. Now I’m back to being lonely, not knowing another soul and having no one near me to make friends with (so I thought).

The toughest part was that we moved out here to Trout Lake in the middle of winter. Locals here tend to fly south for the winter if at all possible. Those that stay huddle up by the wood stove and hibernate (I should know, that’s what I did). Even though we live on the Forest Service compound with actual neighbors, the only thing that changed was I actually had to get dressed in the mornings so I could walk the pooch.

Spring has caused miraculous changes. Not only has nature come to life, so have the neighbors! We’re meeting (real) people, going to social functions, interacting with our fellow man – it’s fantastic. This last week, we REALLY out did ourselves.

Friday night we had dinner with J’s boss and his family. A couple other folks were in town and joined us. Then we hung out with several of those same people Saturday for some beverages, which turned into dinner and live music. Tuesday, we joined some local TL folks for volleyball down in the high school gym. Met some new people there (and am sporting some amazing bruises after 6 or so games of trying to keep up with high school girls…). And Wed, we went down to the Trout Lake Inn for a retirement party and met a ton MORE people!!

I really had a blast every single day. I realized, though, that I may not be…going about this in the right way. Is there a correct way to make friends? If there is, I might need some assistance.

My problem? I think I get a little over-excited. Not quite pushy, but very… insistent. I don’t ask people to be my friend, I just tell them it’s gonna happen.

“Hi! My name is Kalista. You seem pretty awesome. We have several things in common. Perfect: you’re my new friend! I’ll just need your phone number, address, email, mother’s maiden name, and social security number. Won’t this be FUN?!”

I got my hair cut on Saturday, and the girl I had my appointment with was amazing. I wanted her to be my new bestie. Forever. We chatted the whole time, while visions of us laughing together in matching sunglasses and capris with our dogs and boyfriends all having a picnic on the beach danced through my head. I was sad to go when she was done, and tipped her too much (although she did make me look like a supermodel). Can you bribe people to be friends with you?

But the wife of one of the guys J works with, who also happens to be a neighbor, is super nice and doesn’t seem to have been scared off. J and I plan to have their family over for dinner soon. And J’s boss is pretty awesome, also with a wonderful wife, and an invite will be going out to them as well. I’ve met two women with the Forest Service that I’m trying so hard not to terrify so we’ll all be best friends for ever and ever. I’m pretty sure it’ll happen. Summer is crazy for all the Forest Service folks, but I’m going to plan a bar-b-que or two and at least one game night. Maybe if I can show them how fun I can be despite the crazy, they’ll decide to be my friends anyway. Besides, bribing people with food is totally acceptable, I’m pretty sure.

I mean, look at this face – who WOULDN’T want to be my new best friend?!

Hi! You like nice!

Hi! You like nice!

Let's be best friends!

Let’s be best friends!

FOREVER!!

FOREVER!!





In with the new, Out with the old

1 01 2013

Well, dear friends, we have survived another year. Some of us may not feel so good about it this morning, but you and I have lived to see the dawning of 2013. Cheers to us! (Please stop yelling.)

For what it’s worth, I have to say this year is looking pretty good. It’s currently 11am in my part of the globe, I’m propped up on a pile of purple pillows, my coffee level is just low enough in the cup that the froggy at the bottom can be seen smiling up at me, and as soon as I get off my laptop and wiggle into my snow pants, I’ll be off to explore the cross-country ski trails at the base of Mt. Adams. No work, no worries, no obligations for an entire Tuesday. I’d say… so far so good!

In the spirit of the last week or so of no posts due to some stress-induced writer’s block, I’ve decided to give yall a reflective New Year’s post rather than wait to post about my ski misadventures. I typically prefer to regale my audience with the ridiculous tales of things that happen only to me in this wild ride we call life. To those currently unaware, I reside in my own universe the majority of the time, and there, this is my wildly famous and extremely popular adventure blog which the human race just can’t get enough of.

So, now that we all know the extent of my delusions, let’s look back over the last 12 months. That’s quite a long time, if you ask me, so this post won’t be too lengthy as I won’t be able to remember much spanning that vast expanse of time.

Ready, set, go:

  • I started my first knitting project – new hobby!
  • I successfully snowboarded on 2 or 3 different occassions without breaking any bones (I told you my memory was bad)
  • I planted my very first garden and reaped the glorious benefits of growing my own food
  • I witnessed the nuptials of 3 amazing couples, 2 with the honor of bridesmaid
  • I also survived 3 bachelorette parties (but just barely)
  • My blog turned 2, I turned 28, J and I celebrated 2 years, and my employer and I celebrated 3 years (though my CEO can’t remember if I still work for him)
  • I completed my first 3-day back-packing trip, pushing my limits and almost throwing myself off a mountain
  • I said a sad farewell to my apple orchard and moved south to the Columbia Gorge
  • The world was supposed to end (again) and we survived anyway
  • Best of all: J and I spent 4 whole weeks exploring the southern half of Peru and I discovered that I would, in fact, like to quit my job and travel constantly (interested sponsors/sugar-daddy’s please email me immediately)

Whew! I’ve been so busy! And I can’t even remember all the other things that surely must have happened! I suppose we could just go back through past posts and see, but none of us actually care enough for that kind of effort, now do we. Perfect, moving on –

Time for another year! Planning things out in advance is not my strong point; I’m better and deciding I want to do something and doing it right then. And I don’t like the idea of New Year’s Resolutions…so cliche. I’m not the type to commit myself to things I plan to change, habits I plan to break, pounds I plan to lose. But for the sake of being an adult (and to have something else to write about), I’m going to set some goals for 2013. We all need something to strive for, right? Then, next New Year’s Day, I can just let you know if I completed them or was an utter failure. What fun!

Here’s some goals off the top of my head:

  • Complete the knitting project started last year, and maybe start a second one
  • Learn to successfully connect my turns on my snowboard (I might have to hit the mountain more than 3 times this year)
  • Either plant a new garden or join the CSA (I might not be able to plant here) and learn to can
  • Continue to blog for another year, see the last birthday of my 20s, and keep J around for another year (he’s such a great snow shoveler)
  • Take a solo back-packing trip…and live to tell about it
  • Focus more on my writing and maybe even do something about it
  • Plan another trip to keep my travel spirit alive

That’s all I got. Too many goals become overwhelming and intimidating, making them less likely to be completed. This causes massive issues for me as I have two personality traits that wage war in these kinds of situations: my desperate need to cross things off the list and my inner procrastinator. Not a good combo….

So I’ll try my best. For now, I really need to get out and play in the snow – my skis await!!

Happy New Year, yall, cheers to a great year!!

cross country skiing mt adams

I can hear the trails calling my name!!





New Introductions

13 12 2012

Ah, moving. One of my favorite things. So much new!!

We’ve been home from Peru for exactly two weeks and two days now. That also means we’ve been in our new house for two weeks exactly. Exciting, yeah?

I’m proud to announce that due to J’s tireless determination and incredible ability to stay up past 10pm (unlike his fabulous roomie who really loves her beauty sleep), our house is almost completely unpacked. Not really put together or decorated, but the junk is out of the boxes and lying around waiting for us to find a place to set it so it can collect dust as it pleases. Last night, we took another giant step and picked up our wonderful new kitchen table I found on Craigslist. It’s in great shape, sturdy, and allows me to enjoy my meals from somewhere besides the floor.

The really important thing, however, is taking longer. Have you ever moved into a new house? Then you know what I mean.

Introductions.

Meeting new people can be tough. I’m pretty outgoing, but crowds of strangers is super intimidating. My humungous house is the same way!! I’m taking it slow, moving from one room to the next, personally saying hello.

It’s been good so far. The stove and I are quickly becoming fast friends. The burners are level and heat up so fast! The oven, like my big bro, has an odd odor to it, but cooks well. The stairs and I are working through our issues…a mediator might be needed to help us and catch me every time I start to fall.

So room by room, I’m becoming acquainted. I discovered a door in my closet that I believe leads to a secret tunnel down to the basement and out to some awesome secret location that’s most likely full of peanut butter cookies and rainbows. Or to a creepy crawlspace. I’m choosing to be friends with the door…closed. Spartacus is all buddy buddy with the dish drain I found under the sink, and the plants are happy as clams under the huge living room window. Only Babs the Bamboo seems to be taking a while to adjust.

There is one part of my lovely new house that I haven’t fully become acquainted with: the Ghost. No need to be surprised, of course he’s real. Our house is from the ’40s, at least. Tons of Rangers and their families have lived here over the years. And we have a full basement! Geriatric house + creepy crawl spaces + full basement = breeding grounds for the super natural.

J usually doesn’t believe my rants that venture into other realms, but he’s a believer in our “3rd roomie”.  The first week in the house, I kept closing the bathroom window. I’m talking several times a day. I though maybe J was having lingering stomach issues from Peru, and there’s no fan, until he asked me why I kept opening the window. What?! I told him I kept closing the window and we both giggled nervously as the goosebumps covered our skin.

I locked the window and haven’t had it open again. But we all know that means jack. The basement door closes on its own, the smoke detector in our bedroom goes off every time we turn the light on, and last night something crashed downstairs while we were getting ready for bed!! Still, I like to think we have a friendly ghost, not one out to get us. Just don’t think I’ll be watching any more of the Paranormal movies while living here.

Other than that, we’re settling in nicely and anxiously awaiting someone to come visit. Who’s first?!

😀





We’re home?

2 12 2012

Man, oh, man, I still can’t get over our jungle experience. Now, we have finished out our final week of the journey and are back on US soil. And it’s so weird! I’m having reverse culture shock! We landed in Seattle to a bunch of white people speaking English and never lifting their eyes from their electronic device of choice. So weird! Oh, right, I already said that…

So after the most amazing week ever ruling visiting the jungle, we had just one week remaining in Peru. The trip had already kind of peaked in my mind, and it took some brainstorming to map out the rest of our plans. We didn’t have quite enough time to get all the way to the salt flats in Boliva, or to Huarez and the huge Cordillera Blanca mountains. What we did have time for was Puno and Lake Titicaca. (I double dog dare you to say that without laughing.)

Off we went on the night bus, leaving behind my beloved Cusco. After an uncomfortable, sleepless night on the stupid bus, we arrived, checked into a hostel, and spent what might have been the laziest day on the trip thus far. We napped, we watched a movie, I read a book, we barely left the room. It was a much-needed break day.

The following day we went back to being sheep. We were herded onto a boat (called the Calypso – that’s good luck, right?!) and motored across the calm waters of the world’s highest navigable lake. Our stop was one of the floating islands of Uros where they showed us how the island was made, then tried to get us to buy their trinkets, their crafts, their boat ride. It was cool, I guess, but they only do it for the tourists now. The people don’t have to live there, they just do it for the money folks will pay to visit.

A 2.5 hour boat ride took us to the natural island of Tequile. The people here do kind of live in the traditional way, with the exception of a few shops selling Fanta and the restaurants. Their dress is especially impressive, their clothes produced by women spinning and men knitting. Different articles of clothing mean different things and are made for very specific purposes in very specific colors. Its such a big deal that their textiles are protected by UNESCO for their cultural significance. Cool, huh?

It was alright. We ate an expensive yet mediocre lunch then spent 3 hours on the boat back to Puno. All in all…it was just a big lake. The giant peaks of Boliva we could see on the other side – now those were impressive. But I guess at least we can say we went, we saw, we checked it off the list. We did eat at a fun restaurant in Puno that night, which also happened to be Thanksgiving night. We celebrated with some Peruvian folk dancing and cuy. That’s guinea pig, in case you were wondering. And no, it’s not that great. Alpaca is 10 times better.

The time had come to make our way back to Lima – no easy task! First, an overnight bus to Arequipa on a bus that had no heat, no blankets and definitely no snacks. J and I were huddled down in our jackets, staring longingly at the couple next to us under thick blankets they had brought. At one point I scraped frozen condensation from the window. Needless to say, neither of us slept much. We arrived in Arequipa insanely early and managed to get back to the hostel we had stayed at the first time through, despite the fact that we weren’t actually staying a night. They gave us a double bed which we immediately passed out in.

That afternoon we went to a venue with kids from the hostel, a place called “Mr Fish”. It was kinda weird, like a big club almost, with jammin music and beer and dancing…at 2 in the afternoon. But it was the happening place to be for the young well-to-do crowd, and we had a blast, rockin the afternoon away.

We jumped another bus from Arequipa to Lima, a nice bus this time. One with heat. And meals. But this trip was 14 bleeping hours – we needed the nice bus! And we arrived a couple of hot messes, hair sticking up, breathe rank enough to kill, legs numb from sitting so long. A brave taxi driver took us to a beautiful bed and breakfast in the Barranco district where a hot shower and nap brought us back to life. Listening to our stomachs, we walked to a little restaurant and soon realized we were in a different part of the country: the rich side. Right on the water, the houses were big, the shops fancy, the people light-skinned. We ate insanely delicious ceviche in a crammed dining room of a super popular joint called “Canta Rana”. Afterward, we walked the cliffs, breathed in the ocean air, strolled the tree-lined avenues. A lovely afternoon. We went back to the hostel for a little rest before dinner, but never made it back out. I passed out by about 7:30 and didn’t wake up until 8 the next morning. Musta been tired!

Our flight wasn’t until late late late, so we spent all that next day wandering Lima. We did some shopping, ate more good food, relaxed among the beautiful Peruvian people. As the sun started dipping down, we grabbed a taxi down to a park where they have big fountains that light up…or something. It’s supposed to be really cool. We never saw it because we picked the one day they aren’t open. We then proceeded to walk for like 2.5 or 3 hours all the way back. At least it had stopped raining!

We survived the harrowing cab ride to the airport, 2 doses of security, and 9 long hours in the air to finally land in San Francisco at 7am. Seattle greeted us around noon. We’re home. And it’s so WEIRD!

The fun part is that we don’t get to go “home”, per se. We don’t have a home. Our stuff is in storage, we moved out of our “home”. After a day in Seattle so I could work, we continued traveling on to Hood River, where we stayed with more kind friends. Finally finally, Thursday after work, I got to meet my new house. By the time J finished showing me around, I was completely smitten. I absolutely ADORE this house! The movers arrived bright and early Friday morning with all our crap, and we have spent the weekend drowning in packing paper as we attempt to sort things out and find a rightful place for everything.

I can’t believe our travels are over. I love Peru and it’s fabulous places and beautiful people. What adventures we had! I plan to re-do all my posts from the trip with the photos added…once I get around to messing with the photos. Hopefully soon. And our adventures here at home are just beginning! We have a whole new town to explore, a huge house to decorate, and new friends to make. After meeting some neighbors and coworkers of J’s, I’d say we’re off to a splendid start.

Who’s coming to visit?!

😀

Comments from J: Most memorable quote from the trip: “I’m gonna need a bigger shoe!!” (In reference to the giant scorpion he needed to kill behind my bed in the jungle…the night of my bday, no less.)








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