Sara and I got back to the US on January 8th and then traveled around visiting my mother in California and Sara's brother and his wife and new daughter in Colorado. We finally made it back to Portland on January 22nd, and a few short days later, Sara was off again to Korea for another year.
A few highlights from the trip and travels:
- On the Seoul to Vancouver, Canada plane, Sara had checked her bag at the gate. (This is great way to get around baggage fees. Also, a bike box costs $50 to ship, but an extra suitcase costs $150. So, pack your clothes in a bike box.) When we got to Canada, we were waiting on the tarmac in the cold, dark, and rain, for Sara's suitcase. They finished unloading them all, and it wasn't there. We described it to a worker and he said that he had given it to an Asian man. We were about 500 feet out on the tarmac and there was about another 500 feet of walkway to go to get inside. Since we had been waiting so long, people were already getting inside the terminal. We bolt across the tarmac, down the walkway, and I start yelling at this guy who has Sara's suitcase. He was very apologetic, explaining that he thought it was his friend's suitcase. Since he was walking alone, I didn't think that was a very good excuse and yelled at him for a while and watched him closely in the baggage claim. Regardless, after an international plane ride, there is nothing more invigorating than chasing someone down and yelling at them.
- We had a great visit with my mom in California. She lives right near where there are a lot of earthquakes, so we helped with the ever-constant battle of straightening paintings. The earthquakes are the downside, but the upside is how beautiful it is there, between the redwoods and the Pacific. She has an amazing garden and even in the middle of winter, it was incredibly lush (especially compared to Seoul).
- It was my first time to Colorado, and I was impressed with the wide-open spaces and the mountains. We were in central Colorado and there was snow on the ground, but it hadn't snowed for weeks, so you could see all of the animal tracks - thousands of them. Sara and I babysat her for her niece, which was really one of the first times that I've spent a good portion of time with a baby (8 mo.) Not a problem!
Really it felt more like I was in an alternate dimension in Korea and popped back into the regular dimension here in the USA. A few stores have closed down, a few restaurants (and like a hundred food carts) have opened up, a year's worth of drama happened, but everything is more or less the same!
I'm back in my house, which Aurora took great care of. My days are spent with playing polo, figuring out transfer credits (U of O + PCC -> PSU, UW, or OSU) and starting to get my networks back in order. There are a lot of full-time jobs out there, but since I'd like to go to school part time and work part time, I'll be going back to contract work again.