This is the best of what we can take from 2020, that we reassess and rise like a phoenix from the dumpster fire of a year that forced change on all of us. I'll look forward to hearing where you decide is best!

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It's really powerful to make plans, isn't it? Even if the timeline is not immediate, it opens the door to optimistic thinking and crafting a future that looks like "I made this" and not like "this happened to me." My family and I had a recent move that was full of intention like this and after the fall and winter indoors, the interior looks and feels almost exactly as my heart hoped for. Now, I'm finding myself looking outdoors at melting snow piles and the days getting longer, dreaming of getting my hands in the dirt and crafting the gardens and a fire pit and the outdoor space in a way that's in alignment with my vision. Like you, I have a partner who shares that vision and it's a sustaining thing to make plans and anticipate the days when we can live out the potential of the ideas we're sharing now.

That said, I wonder what patch of coastline on which end of the earth will see your landing....may the waves welcome your arrival when the day comes!

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My whole life I bounced from nation to nation, climate to climate, but always with a homemade in Portland, Oregon, a place where you are exactly 90 mins away from what I still consider to be the most beautiful the ocean in the world, snow-capped mountains, or the high desert. This juxtaposition interlaced into the very fiber of my being in every way possible. Religiously, politically, romantically, professionally, I feel as though, I am everything, and therefore, nothing really, all at once. Nevertheless, have always known exactly what I am about, even if no one else does.

Growing up bicultural, you learn to love where you are, because if you don’t, the only other option is to hate, or to feel nothing at all.

The ocean is still my truest place of absolute peace, but not just any grand expanse of endless sea, I need the crashing waves to calm the crush in me. A deep part of all I love in the world lives in Southeast Asia, and yes, those beaches are renowned, and yes, the water is better for bathing, but nothing will ever welcome me home like the solitude of Arcadia, where I jumped into my father’s arms, or Rocky Creek State Park, where I was married.

It rained that day, so hard we couldn’t even set up the white chairs I always dreamt of lining up in those perfect straight rows to contrast the green cliffs. Instead, our friends had to huddle around us, or at least, that’s what I found out when we got the pictures developed. Yep, every single one was taken on film, it’s been 17 years this May. I was so happy that day, I hardly noticed the rain was still falling until I saw those droplets on the lens, and all my loved ones holding blankets over their heads. I was oblivious to everything expect life and love, the same way I always feel at the Oregon Coast.

Four years ago the same man I wrote my heart out to moved us to that high desert I mentioned earlier. In all my training as an international educator, I have never felt more stretched culturally.

Here I am, in the same state, speaking the same language, living amongst people who share some of the same blood, but this, this is more than a lack of rain, this is a drought of life. It’s like the air is consciously aware there isn’t enough lungs to fill. Yet still, there is so much to learn. I keep thinking I could write an anthropological comedy on the differences between Portland and the cowboys and Paiute Indians out here. (That is the tribe’s preferred title, as I have been directly told, they “don’t ‘hassle’ with name changes, but you can call whoever, whatever you please, as long as you leave”) of course, that was before they met the first speech pathologist hired in eight years. But still, they bet on us not lasting the year. Somehow, we’re still here. We managed to make a life where water comes in trickles, instead of crashing waves.

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