Well, I've managed to get in a few minutes of time all alone. Mark is watching Czech TV, my parents are napping, and Julie took the kids to the pool. Seeing as how I'm allergic to chlorine, I only like to go swimming if it's REALLY hot or I'm in the mood. By the time they got out it was so late that paying just didn't seem worth it. It's about 80 degrees (hallelujah at last!) but according to my phone (which supposedly knows all since it's smart) it's going to be in the 90's next week, and I'd rather save my swimming time for days when I really need to beat the heat.
Last weekend I had the amazing chance to catch up with some of my old HK friends. There have been a few transplants to the Portland area, and our friend Ann, who I met up with in Prague shortly before heading stateside, was here on a business kind of trip, so I decided I couldn't miss out on the opportunity to see everyone. Nothing like a nice long road trip to help me mellow out and process life. I was pretty ready to arrive after 7 1/2 hours of driving, but for the most part, I just enjoyed having the time to watch the world fly by and to think about this period in my life, at least when I wasn't singing at the top of my lungs. It's so different traveling alone than it is when you have a passenger. Don't get me wrong, I totally love having the company, and would have been happy to take Mark with me, but he had work he needed to do in a nice quiet house, and so it was just me and the road this time around.
I actually stayed at Jessie's house, which was also lovely. Nice to catch up and see how much her little beauty is growing. Hard to believe she's two and a half already. They grow up so fast. I was also there on Sunday and got to celebrate Father's Day with their family. I didn't feel like I was letting my dad down too much since I'd been up to visit him just the weekend before. It was just nice to have a sort of family time on the day.
Anyhow, on Saturday I got to go and see some other transplants. It was so great to have a chance to be around other people dealing with crossing cultures. One of my friends is currently feeling a little stranded as his wife was detained in Canada and not allowed to continue back to where they're living in Portland. She's Canadian, and they're making them jump through all sorts of hoops in order for her to return to the US. Not fun. In the meantime, it's their two year old who has to deal with all the complications. So frustrating, but he's super cute and it was great to meet little Ethan who was born after I was back in the US.
It's always so surreal to run into people in different countries, out of context with how you originally knew them. I've now spent time with Ann on three continents. How crazy is that? Next time I'm probably going to have to visit her in Australia.
In the afternoon we spent some time looking around Saturday Market. There were various and sundry people wandering around down there. Lots of costumes, including people with tails or furry ears or even wings. Hmmm... But in the midst of the crazies we did find an amazing little Vietnamese restaurant that served some of the best bubble tea I've ever had. While most places provide flavoring in the form of a sugary artificially flavored syrup, this place clearly used real fruit. While it might have only been canned fruit, it was still positively delicious. Yeah for Bubble Tea!
We really made quite a day of it, just wandering around and exploring different things in Portland. We hung out at a mall for a while, and then went to a Mexican Restaurant for dinner. Sadly, my Love is not the biggest fan of Mexican food ever, so I was glad he didn't have to feel miserable as I enjoyed both the flavor, and the messy, gooey, drippy juice that ran down my hands. Okay, so maybe I don't really enjoy being a soggy mess, but you just can't eat tacos with a fork. Totally doesn't work.
Next stop on our list: Voodoo Doughnuts. Apparently this place is legendary. In truth, I'd never even heard of it. But they'd been talking about it all day, so I definitely wanted to give it a try.
The place really is pretty cool. There was a line that twisted through the store and was backed up out the door, despite the fact that it was after 11 PM. It's an all night store, and apparently is always crowded. Going slowly through the line gave us plenty of time to contemplate the bizarre doughnuts and the fascinating decorations.
If you want a large order for a party you can get them delivered in a coffin box. Seriously, how cool is that?
According to the signs on the wall, they even do weddings. Too bad I didn't know that a few months sooner.
After finally making it through the serpentine, we sat on this coffin bench
and enjoyed our Voodoo Dozen.
Thirteen doughnuts that were chosen for us. No worries, we didn't just sit there and eat all thirteen. We just split a few for sampling purposes before heading back to Brooke and Ephraim's place. It was a bit late and they convinced me to stay the night rather than risking an exhausted drive back to Salem.
Everything worked out for the best, and I just had a glorious weekend. Probably can't afford any travels like that again for a bit, but it was great to see old friends and just get out and move around a bit. Now time to enjoy more fun with the nieces.