Sunday, July 08, 2007

Along the Oregon Trail

I know, I’ve been awfully quiet lately. Truth is, I’ve been terribly busy since beginning my film critic duties full time over the summer. My normal schedule is work from 9 to 5, screenings from 6ish to 8ish after which I head home to write the review that same night because the next day is the same thing all over again. If it sounds hectic, it is — it’s also a whole lot of fun.

But that’s not the only reason I've been silent. Stephanie and I just got back from a vacation in Oregon where I was born and where most of my family still lives. I love the Pacific Northwest, the rain and the verdant landscape that the rain makes possible.

Our first stop was one over which I always salivate — the coast, specifically the area encompassing Seaside, Lincoln City, Canon Beach and Astoria. This visit we stayed in Cannon Beach, hiking on forrest trails left by Louis and Clark, and walking in the chilly surf. I adore these beaches and wouldn't trade them for California's or Florida's for anything. Stephanie isn’t crazy about seafood but I can never get enough of it. Every day at lunch I ordered and devoured a whole Dungeness crab.

Next, we headed to Portland. Portland is a vibrant, artistic, laissez-faire city perfumed with the scent of a million roses. We walked in awe through Powell’s Bookstore, the largest bookstore in the world; visited the Saturday market where we snacked on fresh blueberries while checking out the wares and Stephanie got a henna tattoo; and strolled through the Washington Park Rose Garden overlooking the city.

Our next trip was to Crater Lake, the remains of a mammoth volcano that erupted more than 7,000 years ago, imploded and left a gaping, circular, precipitation-fed lake with an island-cone. It was absolutely beautiful scenery combined with the bluest water I’ve ever seen. We also ensured the local wildlife was well fed.

Without a doubt, the most important part of the trip was seeing my family, from cousins, aunts and uncles, and stepsiblings to my wonderful grandparents. I utterly adore my grandparents. Former missionaries to Africa, they are heroes and plumbless inspirations to me. Stephanie and I listened to my grandfather read devotions while my grandmother read the corresponding Scripture verses in the African tongue of their youth; enjoyed hearing my grandmother play the piano and organ (she produced several records in year's past); and helped out in their garden, mowing, cutting back ivy, and planting flowers.

However, one of the primary objectives of the trip was to spend time with my new step-dad. We'd met him only once, when he and my mother were married two years ago and we hadn't seen them since. So we really wanted to get to know him better. The truth is, he is one of the kindest, gentlest and funniest people I've ever met and I am absolutely honored to have him in my family.

It was a splendid trip and we took in magnificent sights and spent wonderful days in the presence of families and friends. We're hoping to be back sometime early next year when my brother (who lives in Japan) drops by the States so we can finally meet my adorable niece, Aaliyah.

Until then, I promise to update more regularly...!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! some gorgeous shots!!
delicious to the eyes = )

and...very sweet and meaningful, what you wrote about your grandparents and step-father.

blessings (and big heart-smiles) to you~
Daria : )

12:24 AM  
Anonymous nate said...

Wow. That is the bluest water ever. Pacific NW is just not an area I'm familiar with, but I've got family in Seattle now, so I look forward to traveling there. Portland especially seems like my kind of town. I do like the sun a whole lot, but there seems to be adequate trade offs.
You got a beautiful family, too.

2:03 PM  
Blogger Brandon said...

It IS your kind of town, completely.

2:04 PM  

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