we got out of the city for a night, mid-week. the big trees, the snow, the lake, the cozy cabin, the HUGENESS of it all – it’s the sort of stuff that makes me love this part of the world.
it’s snowing right now and i’ve decided that i never want to take snow for granted. maybe that means always living in places where snow is just a possibility rather than a sure thing. last night we were walking from a friend’s place downtown to get some dinner and snow was falling and beautifying everything it touched. and it is so beautiful to experience the squeals and the joy and the excitement it brings to a city that doesn’t really always expect it.
i deactivated my facebook account. which i didn’t think warranted a public announcement, but apparently some people think facebook is Real Life and so to ensure some that i haven’t committed suicide – i am STILL alive. And if you are wondering why i decided to leave the party, i feel like it could take an entire novel (that i’m never going to write) and really, the gist of it is that i don’t see the point anymore. maybe i’ll change my mind, that’s cool. just for right now, this works for me.
i went to New Zealand with mika for the whole month of january. it was hot. and wonderful. and all the things. here is a list of the things that made me really happy in NZ:
- my mum & dad (oma & opa to mika) and ALL the time they got to spend
- running a LOT & not needing to bundle up and then finishing each run with a jump in the ocean
- swimming in the ocean
- swimming lessons for mika (2 weeks EVERY day!)
- pub quiz with friends (this makes me really happy even though i don’t really contribute and usually end up wondering why i think i like pub quiz)
- long blacks
- teaching my first yoga class! (and loving it)
- watching jazz in a park
- watching an outdoor movie projected on a silo
- playing squash with my brother
- playing LOTS of banagrams and catan
- doing cryptic crosswords with my dad
- eating fish and chips on the beach
- going to the bay of islands for an incredible wedding
- a long road trip with my brother
- running an old favourite bush run with my brother
- being able to spend so much time with some of the people i love the most
- and mostly, the real reason the trip was even planned – to watch one of my best friends get married. and to spend so much time with both of them. and for them to spend so much time with mika (their goddaughter). here’s what you missed out on:
where am i again? another 18 hours, totally different from the last time (we both sorta just slept the whole way), and i’m back in seattle. no matter how many times i do it, plane travel still blows my mind. i can wake up in winter time in new zealand and then go to sleep in summer time in seattle. it’s crazy.
the whole trip was sorta crazy. after being sick for so much of it, we finally managed to cram a bunch of stuff into a couple days: i played squash with my brother, we picnicked with one of my best friends and her two kids, i caught up with a group of ladies and babies that i joined before mika was born (who are now ladies and toddlers with baby siblings!), i managed to have lunch and dinner and drinks with friends but still didn’t manage to see everyone.
and then maybe the best part of all – my brother and i did the drive out to the beach that we grew up near and we walked along the wild west coast of new zealand and i felt tiny and humbled and strong and free.
6 hours from Seattle to Honolulu and things were going swimmingly. We’d gotten up at 430am, rode the bus and the train to get to the airport for 645am. Mika was so easy to travel with and here we were in the outside garden at Honolulu airport and I was congratulating myself for such brilliant parenting whilst drafting a blogpost in my head along the lines of ‘how to not only survive being in transit with a 2 year old for 18 hours, but actually love it too’. Of course I should have been suspicious. As we all know by now, just as i’m convinced i’m the best parent in the world, life starts laughing at me.
Just to make it clear though, we did have a very enjoyable 6 hours on a plane and 3 hours in an airport, so a total of 9 hours in transit that were really quite wonderful. I would go into detail about the ‘airplane fun box’ i made for mika (a magidoodle, max’s mud, a woodkin’s dressup doll, tiny books, toy animals etc) but she just played with each one (to make me feel good i’m sure) then asked if i’d brought the ipad. Hmmf. But I wasn’t complaining: we managed 3 hours of quiet play, 1 hour of ipad, 2 hours of gorgeous sleep and then 3 hours of running around a garden. Which meant for me: 3 hours of watching mika play with fun new toys, 3 hours of crosswords and book, and 3 hours of stretching and chasing mika around a garden. WHAT MORE COULD I ASK FOR? 9 hours down, only 9 to go, I’M KILLING IT!
We’re the first to board the big plane in Honolulu, direct to Auckland. Mika runs ahead and finds our seat and i’m putting our bags overhead and she starts throwing up all over our seats. I swoop her up and run her to the toilet, but not before she throws up again in the isle and all down my legs. The flight attendants are on it in a flash, they divert boarding passengers to the other isle, replace our seat cushions and get to work disinfecting everything. Jesus. I clean mika up, calm her down (she’s crying and scared of all the commotion) and then change my own clothes.
I was hoping it was just a random one-time throw up thing, but this turned into the longest 9 hours of my life. Her tiny little body, lying in my lap, naked, sweating, heaving, sleeping, throwing up, and the wonderful attendants collecting our spew bags and bringing us fresh towels and blankets. The lovely doctor on board, who sat with us, eager to dispense advice, and my sudden realisation that our lack of health insurance in the states meant that i was essentially getting a $400 consultation FOR FREE and so hence making the most of it. The exhaustion i’d feel every time mika threw up, feeling the exhaustion of her tiny little body. Not being able to read or watch a movie or fall asleep because mika would throw up on herself and i wanted to catch it in time to sit her up. Counting down NINE hours and realising (painfully) that nine hours is longer than I spend with her one on one over the course of a regular day. Not being able to eat. Not being able to stretch out. Not being able to go to the toilet.
And then the feeling of relief when we landed and the lady at customs not batting an eyelid when she realised i’d only half filled out the immigration forms and when we got through the gate and saw mum and dad and vinny and brooke and they took my bags and we got home and mum bathed mika and i lay down, exhausted and relieved that i was with my parents and relieved that mika was smiling again and relieved that i was stretched out. Waking up and realising it was morning and mika wasn’t next to me or in her crib and opening the door to mum & dad’s room and seeing mika stretched out between them, on a towel with a spew bowl next to her. Seeing Red at brunch and feeling like i am home even though i know i couldn’t live here right now. Watching mika play with her grandparents and uncle and sleeping on grandpa’s lap. Putting on my running shoes and running through a city that i know so well, the air so cold and biting on my lungs compared with seattle right now, and wanting to leap and jump and punch the air for the feeling of gratefulness for space and air and life that one can only feel after sitting for so long with a sick baby on an airplane.
It’s been a trip. And i have to soak it all up because it’s all i can do to stop myself getting anxious about doing it all over again in 11 days.
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I met Noah in New York about 6 years ago. We spent three days together and then 3 years ago I spent 2 days with him in San Francisco and this weekend we spent 3 days together in Portland. So over the past 6 years we’ve spent 8 days together in 3 different cities. It’s so peculiar how I feel like I know him so well, even though I hardly know him at all. That’s a funny feeling right? It’s also crazy thinking that the first time we hung out, I was single. The second time, I was with Ivan. And now this last time, he got to meet beautiful Mika!
And we got to meet his beautiful girlfriend Frances and we slept in their beautiful home. We ate Morrocan and Thai and Mexican food. We played cribbage and lawn games and blew bubbles and drank beer and whisky. Portland does food very well, especially vegan food. We ate very early breakfasts here and here and here. I practiced yoga at this studio and this studio. We visited the rose gardens and Mika discovered at least 3 new Portland playgrounds as well as this cool kid-friendly cafe. We went crazy at Powell’s, which i never feel guilty about and now we need more bookcases.