I am going to copy Ingrid’s idea and chronicle the highlights of 2011 for you. Sorry I haven’t been writing. There is no excuse.
Last January I was wrapping up my time in Japan. I spent two transformative years living near the beach in Kobe, Japan and teaching at a university. Today I was cleaning out my closet and found a silk blouse I made out of discarded kimono remnants. Seeing the muted orange and grey pattern made me remember how the silk would stick to my skin in the humidity. I would often race down the hill to jump in the ocean before work in the morning, just to have a moment of relief. I remember how my mom came to see me in the peak of the summer and we wandered through the narrow streets of Kyoto looking for the bundles of fabric tied up with pieces of string that were always sitting outside of the kimono shops. I’m selfishly relieved that no one else wondered what stories those pieces of kimono would tell us about the world they saw.
My goodbye parties were so touching that I almost didn’t leave.
I returned to Portland in February. Waking up in Ingrid and Brad’s basement felt like Christmas every day. I would wander upstairs to see all sorts of delightful people eating breakfast, and I knew that the next day I would wake up and they would still be there. I spent the month catching up with friends and walking kids to school. Or dressing up in pirate wear for my nephew’s third birthday party.
I discreetly celebrated my own birthday as well. Uncle Rick had an amazing cake made for Tuyen and myself, as we share a birthday.
I could finally move into my apartment on King’s Hill. I remember jumping up and down (literally) because I couldn’t touch the ceiling even if I tried.
I spent an absurd amount of time socializing in the spring. None of these people held it against me that I left.
I got mono.
The early summer in Portland tends to be a time of great disappointment. The weather teases with glimpses of sun followed shortly thereafter with flash floods. This June though, was magical. I tried to wear as little clothing as often as possible, which was made easier because I was an active part of a running club which shared my goals. One of the highlights in June was the annual Toga hash, where hundred of us dressed in home-made togas and ran through the streets of Portland, stopping only to dance in the streets and drink beer. It was a beautiful day.
I ran into my friend Kevin at the end of the day. He wasn’t participating in the festivities.
I spent July failing to get a job. I wasn’t too distressed by it though. I joined an indoor soccer club where I got in the way of my teammates. Sometimes I got in the way of my opponents. Our team was better looking than most of the other teams. We didn’t win.
The loss of my grandmother was quite poignant. Her passing seemed to have reignited the bond that the Parmeter family shares. Spending time at my grandmother’s house in her final days, I remember helping address my cousin’s wedding invitations. It is nice to know that I’ll spend my entire life with such lovely people as my family.
As I was headed to Coos Bay for a weekend of running and camping, I got a call about a job I had applied for months prior. They were finally ready to interview me.
Alas! I had a job writing training and professional development materials for the second largest privately held company in Oregon. The transition to working again was challenging, and working a desk job/corporate thing was new to me. I work with amazing people though, which is wonderful.
I’m actually only pretending to work in this picture.
October was a hard month. I’m glad it’s over.
I celebrated the first Thanksgiving with my family since 2008. I love holidays!
December was great. I was finally figuring out how to do my job, and continuing to develop my friendships. I took a quick jaunt over to Hawaii with a girlfriend. This is the only picture I took, and I have no idea who this guy is.
I’m excited about what 2012 holds. Sometimes I stop and think about what I was doing a year ago, and I can’t even believe where I’m at right now, and how I never could have predicted what I would be doing a year into the future. I’ll keep you updated.