Wednesday, September 17, 2008

last days in fairbanks, interim in portland before the plunge across the pacific's waters

i know i know
im a slacker for not posting in a long time
especially with all that has happened!
i can't believe the last post was about a month ago...
so many things have changed since then, im not sure where to begin
i guess the best place is when ginny and i were leaving alaska
after our adventure at the chena hot springs and my last day of work at open arms, there was just one week of classes left - finals week
actually i dont really remember what that was like...
i took my test...
and i didn't study at all really...
actually, now that i think about it, i dont think i ever checked my score or final grade...
oh well, not to worry!
i dont remember the test at all, but i DO remember talking to pete after it was over
i suggested heading to the local bar that evening to celebrate
im pretty sure he said 'how about tomorrow night' and i said fine and went home
well, the next day while ginny and i were chatting with pastor K who lent us the pair of bikes we used all summer, i got a call from pete
he was SERIOUSLY hungover
i was somewhat shocked as he explained his predicament
apparently, he had told me that he DID want to meet that night (yesterday) and that he went to the bar and was waiting there by himself
he then promptly got drunk alone and when his wife picked him up, they picked up some more alcohol and he got drunker at home
so the next day, today, he was really tired and not feeling so hot
i felt sad to say the least - partly shame over pete having to drink alone, partly jealousy over missing out on the fun
so we agreed to meet for a more quiet evening that night
they picked up ginny and me and we got some beers and chinese food and just hung out at their cabin, several miles outside of fairbanks
it was better than a bar, by far, and that's my style!
their cabin was so AWESOME - i would totally dig living in one for a while
no running water, perhaps, difficulty showering, and outhouse-bathroom, and danger of bears, but the coziest feeling of home EVER
we loved it
other than that, ginny and i didnt do too much for our last few days in fairbanks
we actually started packing so much earlier than i've ever packed before
i didnt have to rush at all!
for a while, it was kinda touch and go as to whether we'd get our deposit back for the apartment, but harold, our landlord, forked over the cash in the end
and rightly so, cuz we cleaned every inch of that place, and i can say with CONFIDENCE that bathroom was way cleaner than when we moved in
anyway, it all worked out in the end
i remember i was rushing to finish up a painting before we had to go
i wanted to give it away to david and chisato as a parting gift and a thankyou
it's a pretty sweet painting, i must say; especially i liked how the colors turned out
i'll post a picture of it once i get the internet on my laptop
well, ginny and i made it out of fairbanks easily enough
luggage fees were moderately-annoying
and we were completely unprepared for the GREATNESS that awaited us in seattle, where we would be landing
i knew tim would be trying to pick us up
and i knew he was having a 24-hour going away party (for himself)
and i knew that that party was largely mobile, taking place primarily in a camper
and i knew we were arriving at around 1am
but even with this knowledge, the ensuing festivities took us on such a wild ride, people will be talking about it for generations to come
words can not describe the awesomeness of being picked up ON TIME at an airport curb-side by a MOTORHOME filled with partying wild-kids
we somehow managed to get the luggage on board and squeeze ourselves in
despite being HUGE, there were perhaps a dozen+ people crammed in there
some were asleep, some were playing some WICKED live music on an electric keyboard with unknown percusion, some were just laughing and drinking
a bunch of tim's friends whom i had hung out with before were there (and with whom i shared such memorable experiences just months before when i was heading out to fairbanks, such as seeing the new indie movie and the 'who's the wizest wizard?'-party
that evening we witnessed amazing displays of thunder and lightning, delicious and horrifying drinks (including this one liquor named 'stroh' which, when i drank a shot of it, did such terrible molestation to my throat, i felt like i had smoked a whole carton of cigarettes), and beautiful evidence of the wonderful bonds tim had made with his great friends in seattle, tacoma, etc
it was sad to see how hard it was for him to leave that place (for he was heading off to go to grad school the next day)
it made me realize how long he'd stayed around his college buddies - and realize how different my experiences were - living in different places all the time, saying goodbye to friends all the time, never staying in one lifestyle or home for long...
i wondered about the things i had gained by making such choices, and about the things i had lost...
well mom and dad picked us up in seattle and we headed home
ginny and i would stay there for almost 2 weeks before heading our separate ways
but many things happened that we couldnt have planned better
one unexpected surprise was meeting the reitmeiers!
the couple who were our (tim, rachel, and my) youth group leaders throughout high school (and middle school for tim and me)
truly a pair of such wonderful people
and their kids are equally important people in my life, specifically with scott and lisa i have spent two different 'growing-up' periods of my life
well hal and deni (mr & mrs reitmeier, sr) met us for coffee one morning, and when they heard that ginny and i would be in town for a while, invited us to come up to their home in sister, OR to spend a few days to relax
i quickly jumped at the offer and we took a bus out there 2 days later
sisters is far out in the mountains, in a desert-alpine region of the cascades
and the town is just this dinky little touristy place - only 2 main streets and some surrounding housing neighborhoods
after the always luxurious greyhound ride up, hiuyan and i met hal and deni for brunch and then we wandered around town for a while, stopping in a few shops, the cute little public library, and a quilting joint
we then went to hal and deni's house
totally luxurious and welcoming
we chilled the rest of the day, chatting with the reitmeiers, watching a little olympics, reading, etc
the next day we decided to go on a hike at a nearby trail
hal drove us there and hiuyan and i made our way along this pretty river which passed a fish hatchery and several places where the water poured right out of the ground into the river!
the weather was so pleasant - it sprinkled a little sometimes and was sunshiny sometimes - really magical
before getting picked up, we realized that the trail was closed due to fire risk, so our arranged meeting place would be inaccessible to hal
this left us quite in the proverbial 'pickle'
well, it took over an hour of walking back along the road before we could reach the hatchery again and give hal a call
we were TIRED
but everything was fine and we made it back alright to a nice dinner and some cards
that evening ginny and i went to see 'tropic thunder' at the local mini-theater
hilarious for me, confusion for ginny
we had to leave the next day, sadly
after getting some coffee and oatmeal, we waited at the bus stop for a 1/2 hour+
when the bus finally came, it passed us by without slowing (we were waving our arms, the driver saw us, no apparent reaction)
another 'pickle'
id rather not go into the details of the subsequent 'adventure' we had trying to get home to portland; suffice to say, we were able to take a dip in the swimming pool in sisters, lost $55 bucks to an extra ticket, had to take a bus to EUGENE and wait 3 hours+ for the next bus, witnessed a man getting arrested in a park in eugene likely for possession of copious amounts of drugs, and i got to sit next to a visiting monk from thailand on the way home with whom i shared stories and thoughts about buddhism in america (at one point he asked me if hiuyan was my son)
upon returning to portland, we had a party for rachel and dad's birthdays
i started driving like crazy so that i could take my driver's test and get my lisence in 3 days
when i did take the test, my driver was totally chill, not really even paying attention to my driving, mostly just chatting with me about language, culture, etc - probably cuz i looked older than a baby
passed with flying colors
that afternoon mom let me take the miada to take ginny out to lunch
it was a 'real date' - sort of a strange feeling
but the day was beautiful and so was hiuyan and it felt so nice to share a new experience (for us) together like that - the food was fantastic at Murrayhill cafe
the next day we drove up to seattle for my interview at the korean consulate
i took the first leg - an hour of driving at high speeds exhausted me - c'mon, im a newbie!
we located the consulate, my interview was a snap, and we had hours to kill until the visa was ready
so mom and i tried to find this fish and chips place we visited a few years ago when we went up to seattle to pick up my friends bobo and kay who were staying with our friend justin (all from hawaii)
we found it!
and then i thought of calling justin let him know and see how things were going
we were able to meet up that afternoon at the 'gas works' (see previous post) and hang out for a few hours
i was so glad to hear about the choices he was making - it sounded like he really was deciding what kind of things he wanted to do with himself, despite some other problems going on around him
such a super guy - so friendly and sincere - he wants to do social work and i think he's the perfect person for it
we then met up with jocelyn, tim's SUPER-ROCKIN' girl, her sister, and a couple of her friends from work
after dinner hiuyan and i just hung out at jocelyn's apartment and stayed up late talking
mom had already gone home, but ginny and i couldnt come to seattle without staying with jocelyn even if just for a day
i was so glad we had that chance to spend time together again before i had to leave
it was too short, but definitely a great time
when we got back to portland the next day by train (amtrak kicks greyhounds ASS any day) we had just a couple days to get ready to leave
but enough time still to meet rachel for lunch in portland at 'the bleu' (a RICH FEAST of excellent foods prepared by the culinary arts school students)
after that, on a whim, we decided it would be just splendid to round off the day with a trip to the beach
after several 'hrmmm...'s from mom, we got the green light and the four of us piled in dad's car with sarah, rachel and leland's beautiful, ferocious, quizzical dog
my first drive to the beach!
i loved it, and fell in love with the oregon coast again
the tide was so LOW, making the already SUPER WIDE oregon beach OUTLANDISHLY IMMENSE
i couldnt believe it
we jumped around in the waves for a while, then sat and watched the pelicans and seagulls fly back and forth
it was a priceless encounter with time standing still
then it was time to come back and face the world again
packing was... an adventure
especially with mom and dad wanting me to go through all my boxed CRAP from the old house whose lease was apparently up and was taking up valuable space in storage
many a trinket, many a memorabelia made its last appearance in my life and was chucked into the trash
nevertheless packing was again accomplished ON TIME - twice in a row - perhaps an unbeatable record for me
departure was sad, but not as sad as before
this time id be gone for a lot longer than ever before - at least a year
but i was going to some place familiar, some place that had already become a home to me once before, a place where i had friends and families waiting to welcome me - korea, of course
tears fell at the airport, but i wasn't bawling shamelessly like last time :)
hiuyan and i have done this before, and we had the christmas break to look forward to
still, we were both going to places where we'd encounter new experiences and challenges, and that was a little scary too
we had decided to not call each other right away
we knew that we would have to face our new challenges head on, in order to make our new lives meaningful and real for us
that meant we could be looking back
we just had to put our trust in each other and apply the gifts we'd given each other through our relationship to the new places we were going
so we boarded our planes
and said farewell...

***aimless journeys in korea will begin with the next post***
***we appreciate your patience and apologize for the lack of photos - these will appear in subsequent posts, once internet becomes available in our headquarters***

1 comment:

  1. i love you

    (it's ginny, not anonymous... that would've been scary)