Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What Fun a Decade Can Hold

Ten years ago to the day, Captain Awesome and I met for the first time. The story is here, if you are interested. I just can't get over what an amazing, adventurous, decade it has been! Here are some of the highlights:

*Camping trip through Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Being in Yellowstone is like visiting another planet--too cool for words. But I especially remember waking early one morning in the Tetons to a scary-sounding rustling outside the tent. Gordon thought it was a bear. It was a bunny. On the 13-hour drive home, we played a marathon cribbage tournament, which I totally won. : )

*Kayaking the Alberton Gorge (class III/IV) on my first weekend on the river. Easily one of the highlights of my life thus far, partly because it was so beautiful, partly because it was so scary, but mostly because I have never done anything so awesome in my entire life. Full story here.

*Our first morning in Osaka, Japan. Gordon woke up well-rested and ready to go explore so before breakfast he and I went out for a walk around the neighborhood where our hotel was located, not knowing what to expect. Two blocks away we found ourselves standing in front of one of the most beautiful castles I have ever seen! It was one of those moments when we were both like--"wow, is this really my life?!"

*A million memories around our parents' kitchen tables. When we go home, whether to Havillah or Eatonville, it is always a treat. Family is so important and what better way to celebrate it than by getting together every now and then to tell the same hilarious tall tales and laugh yourselves silly?! We have both been blessed with the best in-laws you could imagine.

*Sleeping in the bed of the old Ford pick-up in the middle of the desert in Escalante National Monument in Southern Utah. We were there with friends and had spent the day hiking up a slot canyon to a wonderful little waterfall. At night, we camped in the middle of nowhere. Laying in the truck and looking up at the bright, bright stars I felt gratitude to the universe like I had never felt before.

*Gordon talks in his sleep which would be annoying except that his dreams are--without fail--Hollywood blockbusters in which he is the star and has to save the day. Sometimes he is a ninja, sometimes he's fighting off the zombie horde, sometimes he's diffusing the nuke at just the last minute, or is a spy behind enemy lines or a rock star. So imagine my delight when he woke me very early one morning by shouting (out of a deep sleep): "I am NOT burying any more corpses for you!"

*In London last month, while drinking monastic beer in the cloisters of the Church of St. Bartholomew the Great, our waitress offered us free tickets to a burlesque show that her friends were dancing in that night. How could you say no to that? We were nervous about what to expect, especially as we walked the wild streets of Soho looking for the venue, but ended up loving the whole thing. Yes, there were nearly-naked women dancing and singing, but it was also so cheeky and hilarious and just completely unexpected that we about fell out of our chairs laughing and--in fact--giggled the whole way home on the London Underground.

*Hot-air ballooning at the Winthrop Balloon Round-up. We've been twice to see the festival and to float through the sky in a wicker basket attached to a balloon full of fire. This is something that is on so many folks' life lists, I'm always amazed that I've done it. Riding in the balloon is certainly great fun, but the beauty of the snow-capped mountains and quiet Methow valley are what really strike me.

*College and career. These two don't really make the list of most memorable moments, but it is true that in the last decade Gordon and I both graduated with Bachelor's degrees and have steady, lucrative, meaningful employment.

*Swimming on the backside of Raspberry Island at Isle Royale National Park. Isle Royale is one of the least-visited National Parks in America. It's an archipelago waaaay out in the middle of Lake Superior. The park contains over 200 islands and takes 6 hours by boat from the mainland of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. We lived and worked at Rock Harbor Lodge for the summer and had the most amazing adventures. Since there are no roads or wheeled vehicles at Isle Royal, we spent the entire time in about an 8 mile radius from our dorm-style room. Nevertheless, amazing hidden getaways were not in short supply. One of the nearest islands from Rock Harbor was Raspberry Island. The backside of the island faced the wide open wilderness of Lake Superior. In the summer sunlight with the sunshine glinting off black rocks and green waves, it was paradise.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Coincidence? I Wonder....

Have you ever noticed that the towers around the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul look just like the Saturn V rocket that transported our early astronauts to the moon?
I think something's fishy there....

*My London update is coming, I promise. I'm just letting the whole experience marinate a little bit. Right after travel, the details are too fresh in your mind and it's harder to find the larger themes and lessons of the trip. (Or anyway, that's the excuse I'm going with, so pipe down)