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.
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!
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!