hello life

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so we had a wedding and a million amazing people come and see us and stay with us and now that’s over and life is back to normal and somehow my body thinks that means i should eat ALL THE THINGS which of course considering it’s quite cold and i didn’t eat much for the past few months it probably wouldn’t hurt to eat a bit more but this cold weather and being poor means that all i want to eat is homemade sweet potato chips with egg-free aioli and after eating that for dinner every night for the past week i think it is time to say ENOUGH. it’s really all mika’s fault anyway cause i make the fries for HER and then she ends up not eating them all and because we are poor i cant just throw them away, i must eat them ALL and then sometimes after i eat them all, mika decides that really she IS hungry and she asks me for ‘more?’ and so i have to chop up another one and wait another 40 minutes. yeah, we need to get out more. or at least try something new.

there was also that time that i made an instant vegan brownie in a mug and it was instantly wonderful but followed by instant regret. i may have done that twice in the past week. it’s just so instant. dammit.

mika was dreadfully sick for a few days there. i wasn’t nervous at all until my mum got me all worked up by reminding me that a bad cough is not just a symptom of a common flu but also a symptom of POSSIBLE DEATH and so we went to the doctor and dropped $350 on a quick checkup and some herbal tinctures (great word btw) and sure enough she is feeling much better today. thank god for those herbal tinctures.

she’s been unbearably awesome lately. i mean, obviously each day is an emotional rollercoaster, we laugh, we cry, we cuddle, we scream, we throw stuff, we draw on walls, but each night we come out on top and she kisses me and sings to me and reads me stories and puts her dolls to sleep and tells me about what we did that day and i feel so damn lucky that i get to be her mama.

sick babies falling asleep in my arms > than most anything else (except healthy babies falling asleep in my arms)

in other news, i bought some seeds and i planted a mini greenhouse. i finally just did it. so far i just have broccoli, leeks, bell peppers and basil, but i plan on adding some squash and tomatoes perhaps too. it is unbelievably exciting and i would suggest that anyone who feels like something might be missing in their life or who feels that there might be room to feel a little bit more excited about something, just go and plant some seeds. after planting them all, i went to bed with an inkling of doubt that the teeny tiny seeds i’d just planted would actually turn into vegetables. ‘it’s nature, silly’ my friend said, and yeah, i know it’s nature but nature is mind blowing and it doesn’t make it any easier to comprehend. i really still don’t even know how mika is here…i mean, i do, but woah. go nature!

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1. view from the super expensive trip up the space needle 2. checking out the view with uncle vinny 3. playing football with uncle vinny

4. walks with oma 5 & 6. views from my runs

7. driving with boys in portland 8. fun portland cafes 9. fun art

10. coffee with tess 11. delicious homecooked meals and black coffee 12. beautiful bath baby

13. delicious soup 14 & 15. portland sights

16. home in portland 17. playdoh dates 18. that time when we had a car for a month

19. how we roll 20. babies and puppies 21. home in portland 22. serious scrabble games 23. the best apple juice ever

Mika’s Oma and Grandpa have just left. I pretty much haven’t changed a diaper in a month. The sun is shining and it’s beautifully cold outside and I am feeling super excited for life. Woooohoo!

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A booth: Part 1

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Our dirty beautiful moustached friend Braden was at our wedding and he set up a pretty awesome photobooth in the library and whilst many most of the photos were way too amazing too inappropriate to post, some of them have made it through. The actual wedding photos won’t be up for a while, but here – look at how silly we are! More to come.

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1 week on kauai

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We almost didn’t come here because we dont so much like the idea of beach resorts, leis and coconuts. But the flights were the cheapest and shortest to escape the cold and rain in Seattle so without accommodation or itinerary we found ourselves on Hawaiin Airlines, 7 hours away from Kauai.

I guess i was still expecting it to be an over-the-top tourist destination so i was happily surprised to find the open air kauai airport speckled with roosters and chickens, and as run down as any small town mexican airport i’d ever seen. The signs pointed to taxi stands and car rentals amd there was no evidence of a public transport system.

The car rental booths were all shut except for one. For $60 a day we almost secured a small pickup until asked to present a matching credit card and driver’s license. Ivan’s license had expired and i dont own a credit card and after an hour or so of phone calls and persuasion we were still carless. Carless and homeless and i’m not sure if it was the comfort of the warm air, but neither of us appeared particularly stressed about the situation. I seem to have this peculiar trust in the universe and it seems to work out for me more often than not. So far, at least.

We decided that a place to sleep was probably more important than the freedom of our own vehicle and no doubt a lot easier to secure. Accommodation on kauai is NOT cheap. The island is scattered with expensive resorts and ever-so-slightly-less-expensive condos, which makes it even more impressive that the island doesn’t feel touristy. We managed to score a last minute deal on a resort nearby so we agreed we to spend a night there and find something better as soon as possible. Resort living feels fake and impersonal. We might as well be in fiji for all i could tell. But the air was warm and the place was fancy so we got our money’s worth of friendly service, hot tubs, swimming pools, cozy white towels and buffet breakfasts.

A 10 minute taxi ride to the local town of kapaa cost us $20. We ate vegan burritos and corn chips, spent $4 on a carton of organic soy milk from the grocery store and handed over the inevitable return fare as our driver dropped us back at the resort. We knew we couldnt keep this up and so we spent the good part of a day trying to make other arrangements.

After playing phone tag with a lady named Crystal and forking outrageous wireless internet fees to keep in touch with a lady named Ellie, our potentially dismal holiday took a beautiful turn for the best. We checked out of the resort and handed over $140 cash to Crystal in a super-market parking lot who handed us the keys to a white 4wd grand cherokee. So now I was in the driver’s seat, windows down (broken a.c), check engine light on (‘just ignore that’), old school hip hop on the stereo (what else?), Ivan sitting next to me and the whole of kauai to explore at our leisure. Nice work, Universe.

People on kauai are pleasant. Ivan had read something about them being rude and irritated, so maybe our low expectations gave them an advantage, but we had no bad experiences to speak of. A taxi driver boasted of the sense of community on the island: neighbours helping neighbours, local kids calling him ‘uncle’, low crime rates, regular church goers etc. But with a population of less than 100,000 and apparently around 30,000 visitors on the island at any given time (don’t quote me on that), it is easy to see how it feels more like a holiday beach town with seasonal communities than a solid year-round community. That’s just the vibe we got from being visitors for a week.

The first thing that we had to come to terms with was the weather. Warm, yes, but also windy, rainy, sunny, cloudy and kind of chilly. Huh? Yeah. So it’s a micro-climate which apparently means that when its pouring with rain you mustnt worry! In 5 minutes the sun will be out again. And if it feels particularly wet today, drive 20 minutes south and you will escape the rain for the day. I figured i needed to experience it to believe it, but even though ive experienced it i still dont really believe it. It’s weird, but it works. The weather really didnt bother us at all.

Based on this weather theory that the south is sunnier, the internet told us to stay in the south. So after many emails with Ellie, we finally confirmed our 3 night vacation rental in Poipu. It was a gorgeous little garden suite that suited us perfectly, but you know that when your host tells you that the best place for your morning coffee is the starbucks down the road, you’re in the wrong place.

The beach was nice but predictable, the climate was definitely drier, we saw less locals and it felt like a beach town designed for wealthy old people.

In the north we drank coffee at local roasteries and ate hippie but not overly outrageously priced organic food. People ate meals on the grass around the shops and kids ran around everywhere. The rain kinda sucked but it made everything feel more lush and the sun just that much more exciting. We surfed up north in Hanalei with a barely 20 year old guy who had grown up on the island and claimed to be a personal chef slash surfing instructor who wanted 5 kids one day.

I have funny feelings about being a tourist. When i visited new york for the first time i was by myself and had 3 days. I made friends with a couple of young guys and we spent our time walking the streets of manhatten and brooklyn trying not to ‘keep looking up’. If i can buy the postcard i generally dont have a desire to see it, give or take a few instances. Rocking up in a car or a bus to take pictures alongside hundreds of other people snapping the same thing seems immensly underwhelming in most cases. You can’t buy a postcard of the local culture or the smells or the tastes of a city. And while your snapping the same images you can buy on a postcard you’re typically missing most of the most interesting differences and new experiences.

So we began each day with no agenda except to see where the day would take us and it worked out every time. We ran barefoot through muddy trails to not-so-secret waterfalls. We jumped in canoes unguided down a river. We became regulars at our favourite taco place. We did early morning yoga with locals. We were strongly advised not to start on the canyon trail after 10am, (it was 1pm) but after my own assessment of the situation (the meanness of the woman advising us, our fitness levels, our desire for something a little bit more adventurous), we decided to go for it. This resulted in a very satisfying adreneline pumping death-defying 10 mile hike with the best views possible of the NaPali coast without a helicopter or kayak. Definitely worth it.

We raced sunset across clifftops and ran early morning along beach fronts. We shopped at KMart and used our discount card at the local grocer. We ate vegan except for the fresh ahi and a couple eggs and just once (after the canyon) we tried the must-have shave ice over mac-icecream. I’m heavier than i was at the start of the trip, but it was totally worth it.

We drank at a local bar and listened to local live music. We sat in local cafes for hours, people watching, reading and sketching tattoo ideas on napkins.

This morning we woke up at 8 to watch the football. (I dont even know myself anymore.) We had spent our last night in a resort near the airport and at breakfast we were sitting next a man named matt and his baby daughter who were from Seattle also.

At the beginning of our holiday i wondered if one week would be enough. At breakfast i felt my tummy bursting and craving a home-cooked meal. I felt the salt and humidity in my hair. I felt the slight sting of sun on my legs against the chair. I felt the anonymity and ambiguity of the resort. I made funny faces at Matt’s little baby sitting next to us and my heart leaped at the thought of seeing Mika again. One week was definitely enough. One week was perfect.

(Then we landed in Seattle airport in our flip-flops and shorts at 11pm and I quickly changed my mind. It’s too cold. We should have made arrangements for mum to send Mika to us in Hawaii).

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