Thursday, September 21, 2006

With this ring I thee wed (again)...

So a bit of relationship lore: Brian proposed to me after a nice walk around Lake of the Isles, here in Minneapolis. (It was also April Fool's Day, but that's a whole other story). In a nice piece of absurdist theater, at the key moment I was so involved in an internal dialogue trying to figure out how to ask Brian about getting married that I actually didn't notice at first that he was going down on one knee and pulling out a ring. Classic.
It's uncanny the way that history repeats itself. One of the big to-do's today was heading to the bank to close out our safe deposit box and collect the documents and valuables we'd stored there. Included in the haul were our wedding rings, which we had not wanted to risk wearing on the trip. As soon as I saw them I was immediately full of plans: the 21st is the six year anniversary of our starting to date and I had visions of taking Brian out to our favorite neighborhood Italian place (Broders Pasta Bar....if you're ever in town we HIGHLY recommend it) to celebrate. Just as I was imagining us slipping the rings on each other's finger over a nice bottle of wine, I looked down to notice that Brian was again on bended knee, opening the ring box and asking me to marry him all over again. (all together now: awwwwwwww).

Actually, an interesting coda to the story was our discovering our unexpected attachment to our replacement/travel rings. It probably shouldn't have been surprising: we've actually worn the travel rings for more of our married lives, they came from our second home (Denmark), they're matching (unlike our 'real' rings), and they have shared adventures with us all over the world. After all that, we didn't want to say goodbye; we now are proudly wearing them on our right hands as a continual reminder of all we've shared and experienced over the last 15 months. And we're cool with that.

More from the frozen tundra as it occurs.


No, the house isn't sold yet. It's baby steps here at the blog, baby steps.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Vroom Vroom!

Oh...and chalk one up to Audi technology and the power of (relatively) new batteries. The main to-do for today was to to get my car back up and running. Unlike Brian's Subaru, which had enjoyed country living (complete with some mice houseguests) during our travels, my car had been quietly waiting under its dust cloth in the corner of Wade and Chelle's garage. (Thanks be for friends with large garages!).

Last May we had followed all the instructions for getting a car ready for storage: pumping up the tires, putting additive in the fuel, stuffing steel wool in the exhaust pipes, pulling the windshield wipers away from the windows, and disconnecting the baterry. Today was the day to put it all back together again. The plan was to have AAA come by to try and jump start the car. Speaking with the dealership and other car people, it sounded like there was a decent chance that after all this time the battery wouldn't hold a charge anymore and we'd have to have it towed to the dealership. We had everything put back together and were getting ready to call AAA when Wade suggested that we give the car a try first, just for kicks. Unbelievably it started right up again on the second try after almost 16 months of inactivity. Not bad. Not bad at all. Now we just have to figure out how to make our way over to the DMV without being pulled over for having expired license tags.....


Trip pic: Peering through an ice-cave on Franz Josef glacier

Monday, September 18, 2006

Dispatches from the (home) front

Checking in after a busy week back home. We'll try keeping things concise with a Top 5 list:

5) Walking for the Cure. We were happy to be in town this weekend for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. This allowed me to join my sister-in-law Sarah walking in memory of her Mom. I was suprised to find out that with almost 50,000 participants the Portland event is the biggest one on the west coast; bigger than Seattle, LA, San Francisco, etc. I believe it may be the 5th biggest one in the US. It certainly felt that big: While the 5K walk kicked off at 9 am, we weren't able to shuffle our way past the start line until 9:50! In fact, my Mom, who somehow found herself at the front of the pack for the start, finished the walk before Sarah, Elaine and I had even started. Mental note to self: next year get goodies afterwards and get to the front of the start line!

4) Rejoining the rat race. One of the things that we enjoyed during our travels was the fact that we were cellphone-free. Yes of course there were times when it was a hassle or when having one would have made travel logistics much more convenient, but there were fewer of those moments than you might think. And after having a job where the cell phone kept me on a tight leash, it was so nice to just walk away from all that. It actually took a while before I stopped feeling like I'd forgotten something and stopped reacting when I heard the familiar ringtone but once I hit that point I could feel my stress level drop.

So it was with a fair amount of reluctance that we went off cell-phone shopping last week. We realize that we have to have them: the relocation, the job search, and the lack of an actual permanent residence or land line pretty much makes it imperitive. But it still hurt. Even worse was the fact that the nearest Verizon store was in the Lloyd Center Mall. You know you've returned to the States when you have to make your way through the maze of an upscale shopping mall to do a business transaction. On the plus side, we did get to watch the young ice skaters twirling around and look back with a certain horrified nostalgia at the Tonya Harding era.

3) The job search. Ah...yes....that. Actually, we've been making a lot of progress with researching companies and making contacts. The tricky part has been the fact that we'll be out of town for the next 3 weeks or so. The last thing we wanted to do was to work hard to catch a company's interest, and then if they wanted to meet us, say that we'd be unavailable for weeks. So we're laying the ground work at the moment and then will try and ratchet things up as we prepare to return to town.

2) The relocation. Our house is now officially on the market in Minneapolis. We're just hoping that someone sees it and falls in love with its old-time charm and location as much as we did. Please tell anyone and everyone you know in the Twin Cities area to check it out. Personally I think the listing pics don't do it justice so just go see if for yourself!

1) What's next? We leave tomorrow for Minnesota. We'll do any fixing-up projects needed on the house, take care of all the administrative stuff you need to do when moving, pack up the house, and spend as much time as we can with our friends there. That's the one part that dims our excitement about the move back home to the northwest. We have some amazing friends in the Twin Cities and we're really, really going to miss them. Sometime in early/mid October we'll load up the UHaul and drive ourselves back home. Wherever home is...


Oh...and since pictures of us at the mall or hunched over our computers probably aren't that interesting, I decided to use these re-entry updates to showcase more of our favorite pictures from the trip. (This was Brian trying out the roadside snack delicacy of deep fried spiders in Cambodia)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Welcome to the Working Week...

Yesterday was officially day one of "work" for both of us. I got up early, went for a run (not a pleasant experience; 15 months of not running has me sore, very stiff and feeling like I'm 80) took a shower and proceeded to spent the next 10 hours running around like the proverbial rat searching for the cheese.

Big picture items to be done:
1) Get MN house on market and sell it before the snow hits.
2) Go back through our stuff in MN, then move it across the country to a TBD location.
3) Find a job, preferably one that allows us to actually afford a place in Portland.
4) Find a place to live in Portland. Currently we're living in the spare bedroom at my brother-in-law's place. Not a bad setup by any means but we're both already dreaming of having our own place. In the meantime we're enjoying the concept of having drawers to put things in.

What do these four items entail? A billion little things. That's what we've got to get working on. I realize after 15 months of super cool traveling complaining would be a bit much. That being said, it feels like a very daunting task we have ahead of us. As my friend Kelley used to say "Son, you need a stepladder and a sack lunch to take that on."

Still, we figure if we were able to navigate the buses and trains in China, we should be able to handle this. We'll just have to take it one step at a time. Now, where did I pack the stepladder?


Monday, September 11, 2006

Where do we go from here?

We set up this blog over 18 months ago both to serve as a journal for ourselves as well as hopefully something that would keep our friends and family entertained and abreast of our adventures abroad. Hopefully with 255 entries and 3,987 pictures it has done just that. Or at the very least given most of you an excuse to step away from your spreadsheets, phone calls, lesson plans, etc. on occasion.

However, now that we're back in the States, the question arises. Whither the blog? We considered ending it with the completion of the trip and our return to Portland. That just didn't seem fair though; despite our international travel being done for now our adventure is just beginning. It's a little less sexy now; there are jobs to be found, moves to be made, homes to find and most importantly parties to be planned. But as our adventures continues (and takes all sorts of twists and turns as more people are IN THE FUTURE added to the picture) so will our updating of the site. It may be a little less exotic but hopefully it will be as interesting.

We hope everyone has enjoyed the journey to date and we hope that you'll be with us as we reenter life in America and tackle what the road ahead has to offer.

Becca and Brian

Friday, September 08, 2006

We'd like to thank the academy...

Actually we'd like to thank all of our friends and family who've given us a home away from home during this trip. 14+ months on the road wouldn't have been possible without them opening their homes and providing hospitality and companionship beyond compare.

So to...

Chris, Katie, Lexi, Sammy, Lisa, Jesse, Mark, Jessica, Yves, Anne-Marie, Albert, Maud, Oscar, Igor, Eliot, Fan-Fan, Thomas, Isabelle, Steve, Catherine, Sara, Nicolas, Mogens, Grethe, Lotte, Nikolaj, Marie, Rasmus, Julie, Michael, Jannie, Karen, Andreas, Ron, Darrell, Lene, Cedric, Matis, France, Michel, Andrew, Rev John and the Cambodia Crew, Nate, Amanda, The Dolan Family, Pat, Meaghan, Kevin, Milyn, Izy, Cyrel, Warren, Aaron, Emily, Chris, Sara, Patrick, Annabelle, Matilda, Michael, Rita, Sarah, Catherine, Father Mikey, Phil, Margaret, Karla, Darren, Ryan, Michelle, Dave, Heidi and most importantly, both of our immediate and extended families -- thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

You all have helped make this journey a memorable one and we look forward to returning the hospitality somewhere down the line.


Becca & Brian

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Reentry Update...

Just a quick hello to those of you who think we've abandoned you.  We haven't.  Really, we promise.  And yes, we are going to be updating the site soon.  Just bear with us as we deal with the growing pains of being home.  More exciting stories to come...