April 30, 2015

Road Trip: Adventure Calls!

I'm not sure what happened to March. I blinked and it disappeared. I'm trying to hang on to April and find it slipping just as fast. Today, the story I want to tell starts in the year 1992. Well, it actually probably started in 1985 when my aunt who lived in Paris hooked me up as a pen pal with the daughter of one of her friends. I appointed myself as the official mail retriever in my home, checking the mailbox on my way home from school every day. Letters were my life.

The summer of 1992, my pen pal came to my house to visit. That fall, I went to France to see her. While in France, I attended a French high school, got terrible grades (even in English) and was able to do a little bit of sight seeing. I found my local church congregation and met a few American families there that I could talk with. My American friends at church went to an International School and spoke English all day...French was just a class to take. One American family with 6 children impressed me quite a bit. They put their kids into French schools and their kids became fluent in French. I wanted that for me. And I wanted that for my future family.

Harry and David Factory tour Spring Break 2015
Over the years and through my many travels, I remembered this family. One day my husband and I would find a job overseas and our family would integrate into another culture. The kids would speak another language with native proficiency and without accent.

A few years after Tymon and I got married, he got a job with Panasonic Avionics. As a worldwide company, they have job openings across the globe. Sometimes, I would log in to his employee account and search the job postings. I searched for jobs he was qualified to do and then I'd search those countries and cities for available housing and schools. It was a time suck but seemed more productive than watching TV in the evenings. Though none of the job postings resulted in overseas employment, over the years Tymon and I seriously discussed making it happen one day. 

Oregon Vortex
A couple of weeks ago, during Spring Break, we visited the Oregon Vortex. It's an odd place where the world collides within itself and molecules change size. What seems real in one place alters when you move a few feet over. In the upper photo above you will see Tymon and Hilary with a stick on their heads. Notice the angle and that Tymon is taller than Hilary, which in real life he is about 4 inches taller. In the lower photo they've switched places. The only change is that they are in different parts of the vortex. It now appears as though Tymon is maybe only an inch taller. Hilary grew a few inches in a matter of seconds.

It wasn't comfortable for me in the vortex. I found it fascinating while at the same time nausea was setting in. Apparently, when the vortex was discovered by miners over a hundred years ago their horses and other animals wouldn't go in the area with them. I believe it. I also wanted out. 

Santa Cruz Boardwalk, California
There's a part of me that loves living in the same city I grew up in. We are a part of a tight knit community where our roots run deep. Our lives intertwine with so many others. Snohomish will always be home to me.

Winchester Mystery House, Jelly Belly Factory, Oakland Temple
And yet within me, my dreams of yesteryear swirl around in a vortex, side by side with the life we have now. It's a little awkward. A little uncomfortable. And a lot exciting.

Golden Gate Park and Bridge
Tymon and a friend have been working for the last year plus on opening a business together.  There have been plans, set backs, more plans, some forward movement, a little disappointment, more forward movement and the time has come to take the leap of faith. I've been planning for an altered role in my driving school for just over a year now. We're really going to do this.

Stinky Sea Lions, San Francisco Cable Car, Lombard Street
We're moving to Sao Paulo. We visited the Brazilian consulate in San Francisco during spring break to finish our applications for visas. It took many months to get permission to even make that appointment. And there was always the possibility that it wouldn't happen. However, we got our visas in the mail this past Saturday. We're legal. Tymon and the boys have tickets to fly out in about 6 weeks. I will follow with the girls sometime near the end of summer after our driving school's busy season. 

Alcatraz - former US Federal prison.

I've been to Alcatraz a handful of times in my life. My father grew up in the Bay Area and when we visited my grandparents, we'd go sometimes. This visit was different. Ai Weiwei, a political prisoner of China worked with those on Alcatraz to display his art. Parts of the island were open that I've never seen before. The hospital, above the cafeteria, was new to me as well as the New Industries building. They are usually off limits to the public.

Part of the exhibit included the names and images of political prisoners around the globe as well as a brief description of their "wrongs". There were post cards and a big mail bin to collect them in. An interesting combination of art and activism. I felt conflicted as to whether or not I should send one of the prisoners a post card. What do I know about any of them? Nothing...except what the blurb said. There were many men listed. I wondered if any were women. I found a few near the back of the book. One, a Vietnamese blogger named Ta Phong Tan, spoke out against her government and its corruption. I sent her a note.

We met one of the original "Rosies" in Richmond, CA.

We visited my aunt in Berkeley and went with her to the Rosie the Riveter museum in Richmond, CA. During WWII, Richmond was building ships faster than anywhere else. Many women joined the workforce during those years. We met a woman named Mary Torres there. She worked at the same shipyard in Oakland that my grandfather did during the war. We listened to her story for about half an hour. Mary's courage and faith to travel across the country not knowing a soul and having nothing but a few dollars and sandwiches in her purse inspire me to take a similar leap. Only I'll have my family with me.

I imagine this fall my life will somewhat resemble the American mother I met in France. Similar yet different. In many ways, all my own. Truth be told, I'm excited that I get to choose these challenges.

Often our lives are packed full of complexities that don't seem compatible. Sort of like the vortex swirling around us. We stretch and grow in the face of adversity. Though I'm not fighting a corrupt government or inequalities in the workforce, different challenges will be be smacking me up side the head soon enough.

April 4, 2015

Top Three Easter Loves



The Easter Bunny comes to our house on Saturday before Easter. This year she looks a little bit like Rilary. We had a smaller gathering than usual. But the quality was top notch. Okay, it was pretty much the same tradition we've been doing for the past several years. We were grateful for the beautiful sunshine even though rain was in the forecast for the entire day.


Uncle Brett brought his bubble machine and wind blower. We may have had a few kids trying to bathe in it...or clean their bums. Whatever works.


I love the forest for egg hunts. The kids have to actually search for their treasures. Sometimes they are a little hard to reach. And sometimes we find some from the previous year.
 
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