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Friday, August 19, 2016

a preview of what's to come

Fair warning: I have been awake for nearly two days in a row. This morning, our flight from Seattle to Taipei landed at 4am. In an attempt to beat jet lag, we decided not to nap even though we are both exhausted from the 12 hour flight and packing and unpacking. So in an attempt to stay awake, here I am blogging.

What I really want to show you is a little preview of everything you can expect in the next few weeks. We had an amazing summer and I cannot wait to share the highlights.


When my friend came to visit. We spent 10 days adventuring around Taiwan. You can expect to read about scooting to the end of the road in Sheipa National Park, exploring the northern coast of the island at Longdong and biking around the capital. We also definitely scooted to the tops of other mountains and visited quite a few temples.
After my friend left Taiwan, we did too. We flew back to the Pacific Northwest to spend five weeks at home. We had the most amazing time with our families and friends. I have so much to share about our time in the PNW.


Our spectacular road trip through the Olympic Mountains in Washington State. I will take you on a tour of Lake Crescent, Rialto Beach, the Hoh Rain Forest and La Push. We camped, hiked, ate s'mores, rock climbed and got sopping wet splashing around in the (freezing cold) water. It was awesome! This is one of my favorite things we did all summer. 
We also went on another road trip! We drove south to Oregon with Sean's family to camp on the Pacific Ocean at Nehalem Bay. This is a sentimental thing for us. We have been camping here since we were both 18 years old. While in Oregon, we hit up some amazing beaches that I cannot wait to show you and had so much fun playing with the dogs. 
I also spent some more time in Oregon when I took the train to Portland with my mom. We stayed right by the river front and walked all over the city. We explored Powells (a bookstore that takes up an entire city block) and the Japanese and rose gardens. We had a great time even though our train lost power on the way back to Washington! 
One of the best days I had was with my family at the Point Defiance Zoo. We went with my mom, brother, sister-in-law and niece. My favorite exhibit was the polar bears. They are so huge and beautiful, and I had so much fun photographing them swimming! These pictures make me want to be a National Geographic wildlife photographer, but I guess for now I will have to settle for taking pictures of polar bears at the zoo instead of the Arctic.
We also took the ferry to Seattle for the day so we could walk around Pike's Place Market, get delicious food at the Old Spaghetti Factory and browse funky shops. I can finally say that my attitude towards Seattle has changed. It has been four years since I worked there, and now I can let go of those terrible memories and just enjoy the city. 
One of the highlights of my summer was getting to spend time in my mother's new house. Every summer since we moved abroad, my mom lived in a different place when we visited. Now, her home is built and I am so excited this is the place we get to go to when visiting home. Just look at her neighborhood and her view! We had so much fun sitting around her fire pit. 

We also visited Port Townsend, a place we lived for three years. This town is so special to us. We walked by our old houses, hiked the trails and beaches, ate at our favorite restaurants and caught up with some dear friends. Port Townsend will always be our first home. 
And then there was everything else: family BBQs, catching up with old friends, learning to play disc gulf and Farkle and Pokemon Go, playing with family dogs, family bowling night, eating Mexican and Thai food, watching beautiful sunsets from the ferry or beach, strolling through the woods with friends, loving on my adorable niece Lillian. 

Going back home to Taiwan this year was the hardest it's ever been. Our time in the Pacific Northwest went by so fast, and when we go on the plane headed to Taipei, we knew we were leaving so many wonderful things behind.   
But at the same time, when our plane landed in Taoyuan, we felt like we were coming home. We have unpacked and grabbed some dumplings and hot and sour soup. Ivan, our driver for the last four years, came to get us and asked us about home and told us all about his wife and child. We are meeting up with a good friend for dinner tonight. The kids come back to school on the 29th. I am excited to meet the new teachers who came in early August. 

How beautiful it is to have two homes, even if they are so far away from each other and so different! 

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  1. oh man, boy do I ever feel the same way as you about having two homes! It's such a strange but wonderful feeling that can pull on the heartstrings. I was surprised that I was so happy to be back in my Czech home after visiting my Seattle/Anacortes home for a month... it really felt like my house (well, it is, haha). I can really relate about the Seattle feelings too (as I also worked there before my big adventure)... my feelings about the city are ever-changing.
    Welcome back - glad you had an amazing summer! and have to say you've given me some great camping trip ideas for back in WA next summer ;)

    1. You definitely have to go camping next summer! These places are to die for :)

  2. I'm glad you had an amazing summer! I'm looking forward to reading about your trips. And isn't having friends visit the absolute best!

    1. Thanks!!!

      It was such a blast. We miss her now that she's not here anymore.