Our suitcases are packed, the house is clean, and in a very short while WenYu, YaYu, Brett and I will be heading out the door of our Portland Airbnb. Meiling returned to Eugene yesterday afternoon, but this morning we’ll take YaYu over to her friend’s house, and then the remaining three of us will head to the airport to drop off the rental car and check in for our flights. WenYu departs about 45 minutes ahead of us, on a non-stop back to Boston. We’re both flying the same airline though, so we’ll be able to hang out with WenYu until she boards.
We have had a wonderful month in Portland even though we arrived with bad colds and dental issues, almost everyone picked up a stomach bug for a while, and the weather was hard to take at times. We enjoyed extended quality time with the girls, had a marvelous Christmas, ate lots of tasty food, and reconnected with friends. Brett and I are already looking forward to being back here during the summer. We’re not sure if anyone will be joining us although WenYu said she will come to Portland if she can’t find work in Boston. YaYu is talking about spending the summer back on Kaua’i as she can make so much more money there. She would stay with a friend, and have to find a job there, so we’ll see if she can get it all worked out.
As always before any travel day, I have butterflies in my stomach from both anticipation and nerves. I’m so excited about visiting India, a long-time dream for me, but also worried again about the very long flight over, jet lag, and all the luggage wrangling (or our luggage getting lost). And, I dread saying goodbye to the YaYu and WenYu.
I wrote some of this yesterday, but this morning I am:
- Reading: I finished Ian Rankin’s House of Lies on Friday and I’ve picked up Barbara Kingsolver’s Unsheltered again. I started it when we were in Florence, but set it aside when I couldn’t concentrate.
- Listening to: Everyone is sort of moving around quietly this morning, eating breakfast or tucking last-minute items into their suitcases. There were some very strong winds (sounded like a freight train roaring past at times) and heavy rain last night but it’s very quiet outside this morning (although still gloomy).
- Watching: I watched several episodes of “Weeds” with YaYu this past week, and also watched most of the episodes from the new Marie Kondo show on Netflix about tidying. Other than being a bit younger than I thought, she is just how I imagined she would be – delightful! I especially love it when she hugs Americans because hugging is definitely something not done in Japan! She throws herself into it though.
- Cooking/baking: I baked up the last of some frozen almond and chocolate croissants we bought at Trader Joe’s for our breakfast this morning, but obviously no other cooking or baking will be happening today. It will be two weeks before I step into a kitchen again.
- Happy I accomplished this past week: Brett and I went to Made in Oregon at the mall and bought small gifts for our upcoming Airbnb hosts: each will receive a Portland tea towel, small jar of Oregon-made jam, and a small package of roasted hazelnuts. The store also sold small reusable tote bags for less than any paper gift bag we could have found (49¢ each) so that’s what the gifts will go into. Getting packed again was a big accomplishment after a month of pretty much not looking at or thinking about our suitcases. Both Brett and I took some things out of them this past month, but we each got a new piece of clothing for Christmas and I also bought three new (lightweight but warm) tops the other day at J. Jill so had to make room for those. We still have a lot of cold/cool weather still to come in India and when we get to Japan.
- Looking forward to next week: Being in India! By this time next week, if all goes well, we will have toured Delhi, seen the Taj Mahal at both sunset and sunrise, and will be in Jaipur. I am also very much looking forward to eating Indian food. I am not looking forward to the long flight over to India – we’ll be spending nearly 20 hours in the air (two flights), the longest stretch of flying in the entire adventure.
- Thinking of good things that happened: We had a great birthday celebration with the girls on Friday evening. We went out for pizza then came back to the house for cake and presents – we gave each of the girls some more cash (their favorite present these days). I also had wonderful reunions and catch-ups with three long-time friends this past week – I’m was so happy we were able to get together.
- Thinking of frugal things we did: We sent lots of leftover food back to Eugene with Meiling and ate the rest so nothing was thrown away. There was nothing left to eat this morning except for the croissants. I got everyone else’s miles transferred over to my Hawaiian miles account, and now have enough to at least get YaYu over to Kaua’i if she decides that’s what she wants to do this summer. I shopped the sale rack at J. Jill and received an additional 40% off the marked down sale prices on the tops I bought. The price for all three ended up being just slightly over the starting price for one of them (my motto with J. Jill is never, ever pay full price for anything – everything eventually goes on sale).
- Grateful for: I am so thankful for the time we have had with our daughters this past month. I’ve loved cooking, eating, shopping, and playing games with them, and also seeing them reconnect with their Portland friends. Best of all has been hearing them interact with each other every day – it’s been like listening in on a super fun slumber party. Brett and I have also appreciated their thoughts and input about what and where we should settle after we’ve finished traveling later this year.
- Bonus question: Do you like to play board games? The girls love them but I don’t care for games all that much. Other than Scrabble, Yahtzee, and a couple of others I’m not much of a game player because I can get too competitive. However, Meiling brought her set of Cards Against Humanity (“a party game for horrible people”) from Eugene this past week and we all played on New Year’s Eve. Oh. My. Goodness. It is a very risqué and un-PC game, and nothing I ever thought we could do with our daughters, but we all had so much fun and practically laughed our heads off the entire time (we tended to go with silly answers). In fact, we were having such a good time that we didn’t even notice when midnight rolled around and the new year started! Brett and I plan to buy our own set of cards when we get back to Portland next summer and then figure out who won’t be offended when we ask them to play (which would be pretty much all of our friends).
I hope everyone had a very good start to the new year, and had a good week. I’m not sure when I’ll get a chance to write again – we are arriving in Delhi a day ahead of our tour in hopes of getting a head start on combatting jet lag, and the tour will be keeping us busy every day after that. We are ready though!