The Great Alaskan Adventure – Chapter 2

Today we played Tourist..

I’m trying to remember my childhood. How we’d walk our dogs all around the Mendehall Glacier. I see the old grainy pictures of them in my mind, but the glacier today is not that place..

It is verdant green and lush. Even the water from the falls and the glacier seem a tint of green. At first, what hits you, is the smell of exhaust. There are some 5 buses when we arrive, and more coming and going. We take the standard photos. I squint, and I’m not sure if it’s because my contacts are dry, or if I’m trying to see the glacier. My heart breaks a little over how far back it’s melted over the years. But hey, “Global Warming is fake news,” right?

2019

There is about a mile walk out to the epic waterfall. We fall into the stream of traffic and are whisked off, like spawning salmon. And no matter how many waterfalls you’ve seen, this one still takes your breath away..

From a distance it seems standard. Meh.. But as you get closer, you hear it before you can see it. A distant, tickle of laughter in the air, followed by a cooling in temperature. And then when you break through the trees and are finally upon it, it towers above you like a God, laughing its great, crashing laughter. Your feet sink into the dry sand as you approach its base. Like a traveler reaching an oasis, you reach the fall. You are met with the cool, spray of water. And words escape you..

It is a very touristy thing to do. What was once a peaceful, leisurely place to go, now a place people from around the world flock to see. After all, perhaps one day, there wont be much to see anymore..

In keeping in the spirit, we go to the local fish hatchery. Not some place locals would go to for fun, but somewhere your second grade class might take you during Ocean Week. Inside, one giant cylander with warped glass the induces a sense of dizziness, is full of huge fish you’d never just see. Giant, lazy rock fish. Huge, spiney king crabs. Anemonies that could suck your face off. Barnacles the size of walnuts.. And of course, to one side is the touch tanks, where kids can poke starfish and sea cucumbers.. And for a good 10 minutes, I stared at a hermit crab as he contemplated moving to a new shell. I had my camera poised, ready to snap a shot of his naked body as he made the half a second change. But also felt a little bit like a peeper, looking thru the window of a stranger, and eventually left to reunite with my party..

And finally, dockside, the oddly ellusive, bronze whale sculpture. Nothing quite so awe inspiring while I was living here. Huge, with fountains and spraying water shooting up. Really, it was pretty fantastic (if a little oddly located..) Humpback Whales, such amazing and magestic creatures. They’ve always struck me as so Alaskan. The way Rhubarb feels Alaskan. Yes, you can grow and buy Rhubarb anywhere. But Rhubarb in Alaska is like palm trees in California..

…I’m not really sure where that analogy came from. It’s coming on 10PM on July 3rd (11PM down south time.) And I am contemplating the feasability of going to bed and skipping the festivities tonight at midnight. But, you see… it is a big thing here. Cars are already lining up along the main road, finishing boats are clogging the channel up, and with the fire warning pretty high up here and a possible water rationing soon, it is a really big deal that the city has even allowed fireworks at all tonight..

And so it is..

The Great Alaskan Adventure – Chapter 1.5

The midnight streets of downtown..

I still sometimes dream of Juneau. It’s always downtown Juneau though. I suppose there are the random dreams about the old houses, but usually it’s downtown. At night. I’m walking, and it’s empty, but all lit up. It’s almost like the scene at the beginning of Spirited Away, where there’s no people, but everything is open..

Maybe it has something to do with the night my brother and his friends were throwing a Christmas party. He was living downtown, in an apartment above one of the tourist shops. I honestly, don’t really recall the party, but I remember, as I was getting ready to go home, looking out the window over the downtown streets..

Snow covered the streets and buildings, cuz in Alaska, that’s what happens in the winter. All the shops were long since closed. But all up and down the streets, it seemed the entire high school senior class had decided to have a giant snowball fight..

Imagine streets, usually crowded with tourists all bouncing from shop to shop. Now suddenly empty. Bright, and beautifully blanketed in virgin, fluffy white. The streets aren’t large, but all along them, the largest, organized, bloodless war I’d ever seen..

I don’t really know why these two memories pop into my head… We used to joke that Juneau had 2 seasons, the Rainy Season, and Tourist Season. “Going Downtown,” mean’t you were taking your life into your own hands by jumping in with the non-locals..

I suppose I’m probably being dramatic. But I was always very small and easy to step on. I also, never knew what downtown was like after it all shut down for the night..

Now here I am, head hanging out a 9 story window, breathing in the fresh, sea air and embracing the silence. It is profound. It has taken me 3 decades to realize, underneath it all, Juneau is beautiful…

The Great Alaskan Adventure – Chapter 1

And here we are..

I remember the first time I’d spent an extended time away from here, Juneau, the town I grew up in. It was my first year away at college. I’d gone to Idaho. I went for the writing program. And had followed a boy. It was yellow. Fields and fields of yellow. Wide, open fields..

I came home my first summer. I landed in the small airport and was picked up my my parents. Unsurprisingly, it was a grey and drizzly day. I hit the ground running, we immediately drove to a friend’s house for dinner or some such gathering. I remember the sudden claustrophobia, fighting back tears in the back seat. Juneau is surrounded by mountains, like a giant, green fishbowl. And on overcast days, of which I had grown up with frequently, I had forgotten how thick and low the clouds sit. Right on top of the mountains. I felt immediately closed in..

I spent the summer with my dog, driving to the ends of each road.. then turning back, and heading home..

Juneau is essentially an island. Travel only happens via plane or boat. I had had a taste of freedom, and the small island was too small for me..

Flying back in today, I didn’t feel homesick, or welcomed. In fact, I really couldn’t see much at all. The wildfires up North had created a thick smog, Juneau’s beautiful mountains, smudged out of view by Climate Change.

And I’m not sure what I had expected, I walked out of the bathroom and down to baggage claim and I had no idea where I was. It definitely was no longer the airport of my childhood. Where was the giant, stuffed grizzly? And the standard cafe style restaurant we’d always eat breakfast at? I felt like a stranger in a strange land..

We drove down the familiar streets I used to stomp on. The bones felt the same. The street names were the same. I think I remember that house..

We passed by my two childhood homes. One was exactly the same. Same green shutters, same fence, same vent in the attic I had butchered to help vent my clubhouse… The other house looked dramatically different. The paint seemed dark, and since when did they need that fence?

It was all alot to take in. To slam your brain with memories. Memories of a childhood, you never really bothered to hang on to. It was just Juneau. It was the bosom that nurtured me while I grew. I was a fierce grizzly growing up, and an Eagle. I needed to fly.

I am sad by how weird it feels to be here. It’s like a fuzzy dream I’m trying to remember.. but I’m not remembering it quite right. I’m not supposed to be here in a rented car. I’m not supposed to be sleeping in a hotel on a couch. And it is definitely not supposed to be 80°! People laugh at me when I cry over 70° down south, and I justify my precious tears with the explanation that, “I grew up in Alaska!”

WHAT THE FUCKOCALYPSE?! Is no place sacred anymore?..

The Great Alaskan Adventure – Chapter 0.5

The light goes on at zero dark thirty and I moan. I’d forgotten how much hotels suck. It may be a fairly quiet hotel, no wooshing of the tram-line, and the rumble of passing jets, like the distant sounds of an eager neighbor wheeling their garbage can down the driveway… over and over…

The hotel room, for all its wonderful design, its light blocking curtains and its hip, raised sink… it is not designed for comfort and relaxation!

One light switch, that illuminates the entire world! A thermostat that has to be operated by the greatest bomb defuser in the nation. The bathroom door that is a little too oiled on its tracks and slams shut. The shower door that isn’t oiled enough and groans terribly when opened or closed. The toilet that acts like this is its first job, so eager to please, and almost seems to flush itself before you can even push the button with the most extrordinary WHOOOOOSH!!! The coffee maker, brewing away, until, like a washed up stage actor taking his dying breaths, puff… puff….. puuuff….. PUUUUUUUUFF! And don’t even get me started on the pillows, so puffy and inviting, until one’s head approaches, and they immediately deflate to sad pancake pillows…

I hadn’t been able to sleep anyway. I eventually tried thinking about sheep. Then began thinking about a story about sheep. Then couldn’t stop.

I put in my headphones and cued up a monotone voiced crime reporter podcast, and did, eventually, somehow, fall asleep…

The Great Alaskan Adventure – Prologue

The View From Here…

After a night waking up with some sort of strange full neck/throat muscle spasms, in which I could barely move my head or swallow (I took a sleep aide, and magically woke up semi-cured…), I journeyd down to town for a quad shot latte at my favorite coffee shop. Sadly, my barista boy was not working today. I watched as the patrons all seemed to know each other. This table jumping up to say hi to this table. That person walking in and saying hi to that table. Not me. I sit alone in the corner, but the sweet sounds of Edith Piaff and Pink Martini, and an old school English crime novel kept me company.

Afterwards, it was alot of hustle and bustle. The last minute sort of stuff you do before a trip away. My fur sister looked dejected, someone had said the word, “walk” and possibly the word, “beach?” hours ago… My big cat naps. It’s one of the many perks of being a cat, naps, whenever. I try to feed the small tortoise a fresh raspberry from down the way, envisioning the memes of the small tortoise, face covered in murdered raspberry gore. I have my camera at the ready, but his head just bobs up and down dubiously. So I take him outside in the sun. He opens his mouth, then bobs his head up and down dubiously..

Dinner of Safeway Chinese take-out. A total guilty pleasure (don’t judge me…). Dad chokes near to death, mom continues to hustle and bustle..

At some point, our chariot for the 70 some odd mile ride arrives. It’s gonna be long, smashed in the middle seat. I put my head phones in and the noise drowns out, like those movie scenes where the music turns up loud and all the outside noise goes away. I see lips moving, and hands bouncing up and down, occassionally a laugh breaks thru, but it’s just me..

Our hotel feels confused. It’s retro, with loud music, and at any moment you expect strobe lights to start flashing. Outside our window is a building under construction. We close the curtains. Though, it’s surprisingly quiet, for being right on the tram-line and close to the airport. It’s only one night though..

We get drinks at the bar. At the next table over is a small party of an older man, and a couple Jack the Lads. They are loud, excited. Apparently, of all the million destinations in the entire world, they are destined for the same, small town as us..

I spent 2 decades of my childhood growing up in Alaska, calling it home, not really knowing anything else. Apparently, 11 years ago, we up and emigrated to the lower 48. 11 years ago was the last time I set foot in the motherland..

Tomorrow, I board a plane to return..

———————————————————

PS. She totally made it to the beach..

Hashtag: Happy Mermaid Dog

Graduation Trip – done

If I ever had any doubts of my feelings towards babies, airplane rides confirm to me why I don’t like them…

The plane was small to begin with, the aisle barely large enough to walk down without turning sideways. Wailing baby infront of us, wailing baby somewhere behind us, and the stereo typical movie brat directly behind me kicking my seat.

I am exhausted. I have barely slept all weekend and the 2 hour plane ride was mean’t to be a chance for some sleep. But that didn’t seem would be the case with junior soccer star behind me.

And if I thought trying to fall asleep with the five nursing babies and toddler from hell was bad, I was not expecting the 20 minutes of violent, stomach dropping, head thrashing turbulence. Later spoken of as “the worst turbulence I’ve ever experienced,” by other passengers.

And it was bad. The last time I’d experienced turbulence like that, I was barely just a teenager. It was a band trip to another small city in Southeast Alaska, though I can’t recall exactly which. I remember the plane dropping violently, my stomach leaping into my throat, and grabbing onto my best friend. He laughed at me, always the rational one. But I was the one with the wild imagination. Years later, I would follow him to college. He stuck with band, I would simply flounder. Like a fish out of water. An Alaskan, finding herself in Idaho…

I feel the plane turning figure eights as the pilot tries to navigate the turbulence. Ironically, the brat behind me is silent. But each time I close my eyes, the plane jerks sideways knocking my head about, and I see William Shatner’s monkey on the wing. I see the cast of Lost, just trying to survive. I see snow capped mountains, with nothing around for miles…

We land safely, obviously.

I am awash with more relief than I realize. Not just to be back on solid ground, but because in a matter of hours, I’ll be back in my bed. I’ll be in my pajamas, surrounded by my pets, and no agenda. Just back home.

We stand at baggage claim, joking about their promise to provide discounts on your next flight if your bag arrives 20 minutes late. We watch our watches. 18… 19… 20… and then the conveyor belt stops… There is a moment of confusion, where are our bags?

…We received the discount on our next flight, and the promise that when our bags returned from their wayward trip to Portland, they would be delivered back to us at home… Pajamas and all…

It rained the whole 2 hour drive home. But some 10 hours after waking up that morning, we made it home. And some 108 hours after starting the most arduous graduation weekend, it ended…

Small consolation: Unpacking was easy…

Graduation Trip – day 3

To wait, or not to wait…

Today we got to sleep in. No graduation ceremonies to go to, no fireworks, just a leisurely day. Which was fine, cuz it rained…

And it was an oddly timed day. In that, we drove to a lovely breakfast place, The Broken Yolk (known for their Man vs, Food food challenge of a 12 egg veggie omlette, side of hashbrowns, and 2 biscuits in under an hour.) And there were people out the door waiting. We were told we’d have about a 30 minute wait, so we went outside to wait… and were seated 10 minutes later…

Where as, the wait for 4 coffees…

We went to the well talked up Urth Cafe. A place that touted its fair trade and heirloom product. Matcha Lattes, Boba Teas, and Italian Style Coffees. And some pretty delicious looking food. There was a line out the door. When we finally were granted admission we ordered our drinks. And 30 minutes later, we walked out with them.

The one time sensitive item of the day, the appointment to pick up the graduation cake. We got to the shop maybe 20 minutes past the hour. The shop was bustling with customers coming and going, with their custom made graduation cakes. But ours wasn’t ready yet..

The town of Orange seemed almost confused as what to do, with all the extra people around for graduation weekend. We popped into the soda fountain shop for a milkshake, and they seated us in a booth and then ignored us. When we finally got someone’s attention they were super apologetic and then we had about 4 people waiting on us. For a milkshake. One.

The biggest worry of the day was dinner. Sunday night, post graduation weekend dinner. Everywhere was going to be jammed. We’d popped into a little Italian place in the afternoon, wanting to put in a reservation, but they didn’t accept reservations. We’d have to try our luck at dinnertime like everyone else. It didn’t look promising, as the restaurant was hardly larger than a downtown clothing shop, and had few enough tables to count on 2 hands.

But we tried anyway, we weren’t in a hurry. There were people outside the restaurant when we walked up. We went to put our name down on the list… and they told us they had a table…

It was a strange sort of day. A day we had given ourselves to take our time and not rush, but the fates had other plans for us. Perhaps it was all so we could really enjoy ourselves. See and do everything we wanted. Or perhaps everything was just turned on its head this weekend. Either way, after the hustle and bustle of the last couple days, it was a nice change.

Slow down and enjoy your coffee. Come right in and eat some food. Spend more time with your family…

Graduation Trip – day 2

Are we done yet?

Another early morning. Another stupid, early morning. And it still wasn’t early enough. It was floor seating for graduation attendees, and for short people, that meant prime view of the backs of people’s heads.

Ceremony began with a video with students thanking their families, and then a brief run down of the rules. No food or drink, no standing and blocking people’s views, no going into the aisles to take pictures, etc. The music began, the graduates began their walk, and everyone jumped up and ran into the aisles to take pictures…

This is the part of the graduation that is the most important, and yet, the most boring. A total of 10 seconds from the moment they announce a student’s name (with the most epic, sports announcer voice ever!), to walking over to accept the diploma, get a picture taken with the dean, and vanish off stage. 10 seconds, and a hundred other students to go.

Needless to say, it was boring. The sun was beating down (between the clouds) and one woman ahead of us kept standing up. Not to take pictures, simply to stand. I might have yelled at her to, “sit the fuck down!” at some point. I had yet to have a cup of coffee…

It was stupid early…

At some point, we resorted to mid-ceremony selfie taking. At some point, we went over to the table with water coolers. At some point, we left and got coffee. When we had coffee in hand, some 20 minutes later, the epic, sports announcer was still announcing names…

It ended, eventually. More pictures were taken. And then it was lunch time.

Margaritas and molé, valet parking, and twelve dollar guacamole (that we did not get.) And a gigantic scoop of fried icecream.

Afterwards, the sun was finally shining in earnest, the jacaranda trees were blooming, and all of Southern California was headed to the beach. So we did too. It took us about 10 minutes to drive there, and about 10 minutes waiting behind cars sitting around blocking traffic to get that spot when that family has finished packing up and leaves…

But the sand was warm, and the sky was blue. It smelled like dead fish, but hey, it’s the beach. Families fishing off the pier, and it must have been good fishing, cuz a pod of porpoises were boppin’ about, and a lone sealion swam about near the pier.

Dinner was a casual affair. All the celebration and energy expended. But the restaurant we found, we discovered we quite liked. The Lazy Dog brewery that touted itself as dog friendly, even going so far as to have menu for dogs. The food was delicious, though no one could manage to eat very much.

Back to the hotel for a blessed early night. We all settled into bed, before the sounds of banging started. As much as I tried to ignore it, I could not and only grew more irritated with each bang and pop. Until it finally dawned on me. The Los Angeles Angels had won their game, and the stadium was letting off fireworks.

We went to the window and watched. And oddly enough, it was a pretty spectacular end to another long day.

Graduation Trip – day 1.5

The alarm went off at 5am. This was how the day started. Perhaps you’re thinking, that’s not so bad, plenty of folks rise with the sun. Except there was no sun. It was gray and rainy. And I’d not long finished a 5 hour drive up the day before. 324 miles with two cats on my lap.

I tried to roll over and ignore it, to find a huge dog taking over more than half of the otherside of the bed. I wasn’t going to fall back asleep anyhow. No matter how tightly I squeeze my eyes.

We left the house at 7. Reached the ferry terminal at 7:50. Docked in Seattle at about 8:30. And promptly hit Friday morning rush hour traffic… I closed my eyes, and when I opened them we were pulling into the long term parking near the Seattle-Tacoma Airport. I hopped out of the car just as 2 other cars pulled up spewing out a sleep deprived gaggle of girls. Loud girls. Who squeezed into the same shuttle as us to the airport, despite there being too few seats… We arrived at the airport at about 9:15. Literally ran thru security, and were ready for coffee by 9:30.

This was our chance for a breath. Coffee, and food, and some random but wonderful music.

By 11:00 we had squeezed onto the airport subway train, and were shooting off towards our gate.

Inside the ENTIRE Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and I look over to see (and hear) the gaggle of girls eating breakfast at a restaurant next to our gate. Thankfully, at 11:45 we began boarding.

12:20, we left Seattle.

1,165 miles.

At 3pm on the nose, we arrive in Orange County, CA. And promptly hit Friday afternoon rush hour traffic…

Hotel by 4:30. Quick change from easy travel wear, to semi-fancy wear. (And some rescue sandwich nomming.) And back out at 6…

The graduation was scheduled for 7pm. Nothing really ever happens on time, but it wasn’t too late in starting. It was cold, the sun went down and the wind was persistent. The Duffer Brothers, alumni of Chapman University waxed inspirational to the graduates. Telling them how amazing they’re all going to be… just not right now… Maybe in like a decade.

And at 9 there was this brilliant idea of champagne on the lawn. The sort of soft lawn, in the dark, save for the random spotlights that didn’t so much as illuminate, as shine directly into your eyes. But there were celebratory fireworks, and that’s what the whole thing was really about. Not the fireworks, or the selfies with the Duffer Brothers (much shorter than you’d think..), but the celebration.

I traveled 1,557 miles (there was a random 70 miles in there to get to the STIA) in 2 days, and have been awake for 18 hours straight. I endured wonderful singing, and obnoxious singing, saw 3 people leave items behind in their self absorbed haste (but then found them again, with some help), sat in a cramped plane with screaming babies and a yowling dog, slogged through rush hour traffic twice in 1 day, and listened to a biochemist give an inspirational speech about… I’m really not sure… but I did it for family.

Today, my cousin graduated from College, and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

(…she’s also apparently graduating again tomorrow… at 8am 😫)

Graduation Trip – day 1

-The God’s Eye View-

The airport is busy. Lines spilling out of the bathrooms busy. But we still manage to find a table, and drink some coffee. A woman is playing guitar and singing. Songs I know. I can’t recall their titles, but I know the tune of them. She puts her own deep, somber twist to them. I put some money in her can. She smiles at me while she sings, and I smile back.

We make our way to our gate. We take the underground subway to another building. It is far less crowded and we settle into the short wait. We hear some more singing. A sort of humming, opera moaning. A man with an epic mustache and a twinkle in his eyes is walking around the seats at the gate, singing while he also waits to board. “He better not be doing that all thru the flight…” I mutter to my father as the man does a fly by of us.

The plane is hot, and small, and I immediately take note of all the kids. Toddlers and babies. Baby in front of us. Baby behind and to the right of us. Toddlers across from us.. Its like my worst nightmare. Surrounded by kids in a small confined space.. We can’t take off soon enough.

The plane finally starts moving. Slowly. Out my window I see plane after plane take off. I realize we are in a circus parade of planes, waiting in line to take off. I watch maybe 10 planes in front of us shoot off before we finally turn the corner for our turn. As we do, I see some 10 more planes in line behind us, all different sizes and colours. The grass ripples as the last plane before us rumbles skyward. And then we do the same.

And the rumble of the engine isnt enough to drown out the wailing babies and screaming toddlers and somewhere… somewhere, a yowling dog…

I lose myself out the window. …around the wing, cuz we have a perfect view of the wing in all its glory. And I can almost imagine the creepy faced monkey in one of the William Shatner episodes of the Twilight Zone. But there is no monkey on this plane, to wreak havok and tear apart the wing.

We shoot towards the clouds, resting on top of the atmosphere, like île flottante, floating islands. They are whipped and wispy, like cotton candy for the Gods.

And then, once above them, we even out. The crying and wailing subsides, and it is here, 35,000 feet in the air, defying the laws of nature, that we see our world from a God’s eye view..

Letter to my Patient

I wrote a letter to a discharging patient of mine. It said not to come back. But not in the sense that I don’t want to see her, in the sense that I want her to do so well outside that she doesn’t need to come back. That I want her to stop hurting herself. If she needs attention, or to feel something, to find a passion, because a fire in her soul would warm her from the inside out and she would find herself glowing. I want her to eat, because a full belly is the key to a happy heart. And I want her to stop being afraid of people, because there will always be jerks in the world, but there will always be good people too.. But I didn’t give it to her. I never do. I try to keep a distance. But as the shift was getting closer to its end, she got quieter and more anxious. And when the next shift came in, I held open my arms and we hugged. And when she pulled away she was crying. The truth was, I didn’t need to give her the letter. In the days that we worked together, she had stopped hurting herself, and had started eating, and had found at least one good person..

IKAA

In 2015 the documentary Twinsters came out. About two Korean girls adopted to separate families, and by random chance found eachother via the internet. The chances and specific elements that caused them to find eachother, in two completely different countries, were so slim and a bit, almost fantastical. But it’s the fantastical that makes the movie so moving and heartwarming. One grew up in California and the other in France. And it’s a perfect showing of how one develops by both Nature AND Nurture.

Quite frankly, I am a fan of all adoption stories. (I even find adoption stories in the most unlikely places. My favorite examples are Superman, and Mowgli, of The Jungle Book.) But what stuck with me the most about this movie was towards the end, when they finally went back to Korea together to attend a triennial conference bringing together Korean Adoptees. As I have always sort of grappled with my own adoption, more so for some reason since turning 30, this struck me as possibly the perfect way to move forward and explore that side of my life.

This past Christmas my family decided to up and do something completely different for us. We decided to spend it in Palm Springs, California. Which ended up having it’s challenges and its rewards. But I think I was ready to go home at the end of it.

While my parents breezed through Pre-Check at the airport, I slowly made my way through General security. I caught sight of an Asian woman far in front of me, and perhaps due to some Asian radar we have, she seemed to catch sight of me.

After I was finally through, my parents and I got much needed coffees and sat down to wait for our flight. I looked up and the Asian woman was seated one table over from us. And she easily began talking with us.

Her husband arrived with their own coffees and eventually she chanced asking me if I was a Korean Adoptee (adoption clear as my parents are both white.) and I told her yes. It turned out she was Korean and her husband was a Korean Adoptee. It further turned out that they were both heads of an organization called the International Korean Adoptee Association, IKAA, and it hosts a gathering in Korea triannually.

Even more kismet was, they remembered a girl coming all the way from Juneau, Alaska, the town where I grew up. My parents and I named a few, and bingo, one of the girls I grew up with, attending our own annual adoption group gathering, was the girl they remembered.

When we parted ways (not actually parting too far, as we were all going to Seattle,) they gave us an information packet on the next gathering in Korea, happening this very summer, 2019.

Later, back at home, I remembered the movie Twinsters, and wondered which gathering they had attended, thinking there must be bunches out there. I looked into it and, to my surprise, found that it was an IKAA gathering.

If I had never believed in Fate, or in signs, how could I ever deny this?

Holiday Vacation Epilogue

The bilingual pooch we met at the airport. I had seen this dog going thru security while I was standing in line. After sitting down with our coffees, I looked up to see this dog again, with its two owners. An Asian woman and man. We struck up conversation and come to find out the three of us were all Korean. They were able to correctly deduce that I was adopted, as I was seated with my (white) parents. Then they told us that they were the founders and organizers of a group called the International Korean Adoptee Association, who get together for a conference in Seoul every three years. It’s something I’ve been thinking very strongly about doing. Attending an adoptee conference in Korea. We talked about how we are from Juneau, AK and that growing up, I was a part of a large group of Korean Adoptees. Come to find out they knew and had hosted one of the very girls from that group! They gave us information on the upcoming conference this coming summer. And then we were kicked out of the area we’d been drinking our coffee in. But it goes to show how small this world really is, and how open we can all really be.

Holiday Vacation Day fin (aka Day 9)

The longest trip home… You get in line to go thru security at the airport, weaving back and forth, all the while TSA checkers are remind you to take your electronics out of your bags, to take off your coats, remove your shoes, etc… You hear them run thru the schpeal 4 times before you get to the front. And even once you get there, people are asking if they need to take their electronics out of their bags, if they need to take off their coats, if they need to remove their shoes, etc… It’s next year by the time I get thru security, and mom already has coffees (they went thru the VIP pre check line…) We find some tables and chairs outside and drink our coffee. Until a woman comes and, not so kindly tells us to shove off as this is her Bar and NOT a part of the coffee shop… When we board the plane it’s about 11:15AM. I buckle my seatbelt and the plane turns. Just enough to put me directly in the sun, and the engine cuts. Sorry folks, air traffic is a mess and it’s going to be a bit before we are cleared to take off. The flight attendants pass thru with water, but I’ve passed out from boredom… and heat stroke. Our flight is only supposed to be 2.75 hours, but we’ve already been sitting on the plane for an hour before we get off the ground. Take off was like flying thru a storm, a couple folks letting out yelps and gasps. More importantly, the 3 or 4 infants onboard begin to scream. I pass out again. When we finally hit the ground its 330PM. We roll to our gate, everyone jumps up, and we stop. Sorry folks, there’s something wrong with our gate and they need to make a few adjustments before we can open the cabin doors. Mom and Dad are the last ones off. When we reach baggage claim our bags are all sitting in a line. Dad calls a shuttle for us and we wait outside for what feels like an hour. I stomp my feet to stay warm. The shuttle driver comments that we all look grumpy. We get to our car and dad says the wait for the ferry across the channel is 90 minutes, we plan to drive thru Tacoma and across the bridge. Mom notes it’s 500PM. The 1.75 hr drive home takes 2.5. We get home at 730PM. The longest trip home..

Holiday Vacation Day 6

So here’s a real story. Jeggings. They’re really actually the worst. You try them on at the store and they fit great, and you feel great, and look at that butt! So you buy them. I mean, that butt! The first day you wear them, you’re feelin great. Then halfway thru the day, you catch sight of yourself in the mirror, turn, and where the hell did your ass go?! Your jeggings have gone all saggy and your butt has vanished!
But more importantly… We were all dipping our feet in the hot tub one morning. I was wearing jeggings. And in an effort to not get the cuffs wet, I rolled them up. But because of how tight they were, I had to roll them up to just over my calves and under my knees. No big deal, feet in the tub, cuffs dry. Well, I didn’t expect the heat of the tub to expand my legs. I couldn’t get my pant legs back down! And after walking back into the house, I was actually afraid they were going to have to cut my legs off. I flopped onto the bed with one leg in the air while my mom wrestled with each pant leg for five minutes, til finally they were down! Uh, lesson learned, jeggings and hot tubs don’t mix…
It wasn’t until much later that I realized the damned jeggings had given me these stupid tan lines! Curse you, jeggings!