Sunday, May 13, 2018

Life Lately, Looking to Move

Last December, Brian and I took a trip to Oregon for my parents' wedding. They were just getting married after 40 years together. We flew into PDX and rented a car. Walking through that airport always gives me happy nostalgic feelings. It's the first airport I flew out of when leaving the country for the first time. It's the airport I always came home to between teaching contracts in Korea. A place where I have had to say goodbye and hello again so many times--it holds a lot of emotion for me.

We drove our rental car to Lincoln City where my parents were getting married in a rented house. The drive was a treat for us. We marveled at all of the green around us. I can only imagine the number of times that we exclaimed, "It's so green!" throughout the entire drive. We stopped for dinner shortly after leaving Portland. I was intent on going to Burgerville and having the best fast food burger and milkshake that you can only get in the Pacific Northwest. My burger was as delicious and peppery as I could hope for and the cherry chocolate milkshake did not disappoint.

After our lovely journey through the magical mist and greenery of the Oregon countryside, we arrived at the rental house after dark. From the minute we stepped in the door it was a happy and lively party that would last for approximately 36 hours. We spent some time hugging and catching up, and then everyone got to work in the kitchen to prepare for the next day. But it wasn't really work. We all helped out and took turns with the chopping, organizing, mixing, and cooking while chatting and hanging out. We spent the evening this way and continued the next morning. Brian and I went to Safeway to get a few things we all forgot and an extra box of wine. Being in Safeway in the Pacific Northwest is somehow one of the small things that holds some nostalgic magic for me. I also feel this way when I have a flashback to one of my local grocery stores in Korea--it's a place that is so mundane but so specific to that place and time.

I will write more about my parents' wedding in a future post with photos from the ocean. I'm bringing up the wedding now because it is one large part of why I want to move back to Washington. Being with my parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles for such a short time made me realize how much I missed being around family. There were some people that I hadn't seen or spoken to for at least six years. But we all took up like the time and space between us was nothing. We laughed, told stories, chatted, played games, and cooked together like no time had passed. I've had a few friends from the Pacific Northwest come to Denver and stop by for a visit. It was the same with them. It's great being able to go back to something like that, but I know that it might not always be that way. I want to go back to the PNW and rekindle these relationships. I want to live in a place where I am near enough to take a day trip to visit the people I most want to spend time with.

We have enjoyed living in Denver, but we are planning to move to Washington as soon as we can. This might be a year from now or it might be in a month or two. There are so many reasons why we want to leave, but it mainly comes down to personal preference. I like Denver and all that it has to offer, but it is not the place for me. Colorado has beautiful mountains, the most intense blue skies I've ever seen, and plenty of access to the outdoors. There is always something fun and interesting going on in Denver. There is definitely no lack in activities, places to spend a leisurely Sunday afternoon, restaurants, cafes, museums, and quirky neighborhoods. It's been great to live in a new place and discover a part of the US that I had never before experienced. I feel that we have taken full advantage of living here and we will be ready to go when it is time to leave.

I've been applying to jobs casually since sometime early this year. I've had a phone interview and a Skype interview. I've also had quite a few rejection letters, but some of them came with kind and encouraging words. There was an educational non-profit that said I was in the top 15 out of 120 applicants. This job was actually in Portland, Maine. Leave it to me to be deciding between the two completely opposite sides of the country! I applied to a few other jobs in Maine that didn't work out. Through the roller coaster of the job hunt, Brian and I have decided that we would like to focus on Washington. This way we can at least be within driving distance of one side of our family so that we don't have to fly to see both sides, in hopes that we can see them all more often. I think that I came close (enough) to getting a job in Olympia, and I have a few more applications out in that area.

In the end, we might just stay in Denver long enough to save to move to Washington before either of us has a job there. It's been nice applying for jobs while I have a job that I like here. Two years ago, I was applying to anything and everything just to get a start in Colorado. Now, I can look more carefully and apply for jobs that I am more interested in. It is hard not to be able to control and plan specifically how things will happen, but only time will tell where we will eventually end up. Letting go of control and being open to things working out in unexpected ways is hard for me to do, but it is also a very freeing and worthy exercise.

While we are still enjoying Denver and getting out into the city or nature as much as possible, I can't help but daydream about road trips to the beach, walking in misty forests, visiting family more than just once a year, and all of the other things that the Pacific Northwest holds for me. At the same time, I cannot believe that this year is almost halfway over. I think it has gone so fast because I have been busy with the job hunt and daydreams. For the remainder of this year, my goal is to be open to possibilities, but also to remain present in the moment.

What big changes do you have planned for this year? Have you ever had to let go of control and let life take its course? I hope that you're all enjoying your cities and the (hopefully) pleasant weather that spring brings!

(The photos in this post are from my walk to work from Capitol Hill to Downtown Denver.)

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