I'm back in WA for 10 days, visiting my fiancee and spending much needed time together and deciding together where we should live. The original plan was to move to Vancouver, but we are actually considering staying in Longview, where he lives.
My main concern has been the transition from the suburbs of Los Angeles to a small place that would take a lot of adjustment and not provide much to do. We have done some research this week and, even Eric is looking at his city of residence in a new way.
We have visited the library (impressive--great kid section,) the local historical museum, Lake Sacajawea in the middle of town, and the houses around the "Old West Side", which are very cute and closest to the lake. There are also some nice, affordable houses outside of town near the Columbia. You know, we're just doing a lot of thinking and talking.
We're also having fun. On Thursday we drove up to Seattle and dropped off Eric's Vespa for some maintenance, and then went to visit his good friends, Steve and Kristie Porter. Here are 2 videos of Eric and Steve singing in the front yard. THIS is what they do when Eric is there for a visit. These 2 are like brothers from another mother and it is fun to watch them together:
Eric singing a song that he wrote a few years ago. I love watching him play guitar and sing!
Yesterday we drove up to Steve's dad's place in Winlock, a 5 acre spread with several sheds, an adorable log cabin house, a log gazebo, and a small river running past the property. It was "Egg Day" in Winlock, a local annual holiday, and several people came out for a little neighborhood parade, egg salad sandwiches, and a BBQ at Mr. Porter's place ("Porter's Patches") later in the evening. Eric, Steve, and the 3rd member of their little group--The Sweatbox Trio--name Kai, broke out their guitars at the end of the evening and played for everyone for about an hour. They did great. It doesn't get dark in the summer here until about 9:30pm, so it is possible to enjoy the sunlight late into the night.
Today Eric had to work the graveyard shift, but we had an outing before he had to leave. Finally, finally I got to ride on his Vespa!! We packed a lunch into the little trunk, donned our helmets and eye goggles, and rode about 5 miles out of town to a beach area along the banks of the Columbia River. There were boats, people fishing, people playing fetch with their dogs, and just a nice peaceful atmosphere.
It is certainly very different from home, where everything is always go, go, go, but it is a good different.
After we had lunch, Eric offered to school me in how to ride the Vespa. His is about 6 years old and is a model called an E4 that is now discontinued. He was right, learning to ride it is very, very easy. At first he sat behind me as a passenger, and then I got to ride it myself a few times around the parking lot. The parking lot near the river was pretty empty and a great place to practice. I have to say, it is one of the most fun things I have ever done. Riding that little scooter is exhilarating!
I don't think I got it past 20 mph, but I learned about braking and turns and acceleration and signaling. We are making plans to get me one in the new few months because then I can join Eric, Steve, and Kristie P when they go riding around Seattle. I don't want to be left out! Eric's is platinum, Steve's is black with a camel-colored seat, and Kristie's is a mossy green. I like white, so that will be my color. They are so fun and well-made and very inexpensive. What a great hobby!
Here is a video of me at the beginning of riding the Vespa alone. As time went on I got more confident:
Did I mention how fun it was?! It had the same thrill as skiing or riding a horse or going down a hill on your bike.
Anyway, I am having a great time and it is a much-needed vacation after an intense year at school and before packing up my house, 2 bridal showers, and a wedding.
Our other plans include visiting Vancouver again and looking at the neighborhoods and dinner with Eric's parents and my future in-laws. Nice people. Everyone has been so welcoming when I visit up here.
And the countdown? 41 more days until we are married. We can't wait!!