September 27, 2010

Home sweet Home!

We're back from our long journey around the world!  Just kidding!  We went to Oregon and California, but we were gone for so long it felt like we circled the globe!  It feels so good to be home, to sleep in my own bed and eat my own food. 

Here are the highlights from our trip!
We started our travels with a long car ride to Oregon through the vast expanses of nowhere land Idaho.  Not a whole heck of a lot to report on Idaho other than to show you the pretty windmills on the horizon.  As we rolled father into Oregon the views of mountains and clouds got quite a bit more impressive.  We found the coolest place that looked like a little castle built out of lava rock!  See that?  There was a lava flow a bazillion years ago and it left behind fields and tunnels and mountains if black rock. 

Next it was off to see some of our favorite people in the whole wide world, the Taylors!!!  We crashed their place for 4 nights, talking too loud at dinner, learning silly new songs from Ted as he sang to the kids on the deck, watching Hunter smelling roses with Jeanine (Hunter really felt like he found his new best friend when Jeanine didn't seem to mind taking time to appreciate each flower right along side him), meeting  Nevin's girlfriend for the first time, and listening ignorantly to Shirine skyping in French with her Belgian boyfriend!  We walked the Owen Rose Garden, fed some ducks and geese, and hit several of our old favorite hangouts! 

Every moment with the Taylor family always feels like time at home, but with a few extra voices joining in on the banter.  On this visit, we had fewer serious late night discussions and more loud outbursts of silliness.  Perhaps it was because Nevin and Shirine were both there this time and constantly wrestling and dancing, listening to the most annoying, catchy pop songs along with Joe, and being their fabulous, energetic selves.  Staying over and seeing how that house not only weighs heavy with love, but with a sort of easy comfort as they negotiate their days was such a treat!  Feel like maybe I should have been taking notes!  We had such a great time!

We had a picnic at the park and invited old friends to drop in to say hi since we just didn't have time to make the rounds and see everyone.  There were of course several people whose numbers I had lost, who had moved away, and who I just couldn't get in touch with, but we saw so many of our dear friends that it was a marvelous afternoon!

Some of the coolest people we left back in Oregon are Bob and Jude!  Bob was a part of our lives when we lived in this Utopian little  microcosm of unlikely harmony that spanned culture, age, religion, and race.  Back during our first 3 years at Westmoreland, we lived among college families from all over the world (China, Uzbekistan, Congo, Nicaragua, Mexico, Turkey, Japan.  Should I go on?) who came together in some capacity practically every evening in the little grassy space between our apartments.  There was so much love that the group quickly became a new family.  We mothered each other's children, ate each other's food, learned bits of each others' languages and partook of each other's lives through stories and laughter that lasted well into the evenings.  Bob was at the hub of that family, with his patio being the most central and his apartment always pushing music into the neighborhood creating a certain intangible mood that was conducive to stepping outside your boundaries on a nightly basis until soon you realized the boundaries were gone.  Jude and Bob started dating a short time in and Jude quickly became another member of our newly created Westmoreland family tree. 

On our visit we met up with Bob and Jude at a favorite restaurant and had a lovely time catching up and reminiscing with misty eyes.  Gluttons for pain, we decided to pop back over to their place a day or so later for one last little visit.  I managed to pull out of the driveway without sobbing the second time around.  But their faces just hold such sweet memories for us of a simpler time when we felt almost a part of something greater than ourselves.  Part of some sort of successful, although short lived experiment of how perfectly families from all sorts of backgrounds could not just coexists peacefully, but could create a sort of wellspring of unending joy simply by doing so.  Okay...I ramble.  But those were some good times and Bob and Jude were the only ones left in town from that perfect little social experiment.  Their smiling faces just warm my heart!!!  I can't say enough wonderful things about those two!

A few other things I found to miss about Oregon while we were there were real, actual guilt free coffee, the fabulous green spaces around every corner, Sweet Life Bakery (which deserves a paragraph of its own, and I could easily type one, but I'll spare you.  If you've been there, you know.  If you haven't, I don't want to make you jealous!) and chipmunks and squirrels.  Yes, we have a few furry creatures here in Utah, but none so darn cute as these!

Well, that's leg one of three.  I won't drag on today!  Tune back in tomorrow for leg two of the trip and some amazing pictures from the Oregon and California coastlines!

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