Portland, For a While

In Transit:

32. Finally going home. I went to Seoul from Hong Kong on a night flight. Slept on the plane a bit.

33. Incheon airport wins. It is seriously the best airport I've been in or even heard of. I was there for a 12 hour layover. They have a lounge for everyone that's almost as nice as the airline lounges that only special people get to use. The free lounge has a resting area, a TV where you can watch the news, free use of computers with online access, and free use of showers that are really fancy. Seriously the fanciest shower I had the whole time in Asia, including in fancy hotels. I think they wanted to encourage tourism in Korea and spent a lot on making the airport great. They also have cultural activities for foreigners to do, so I took advantage of that. I tried to take a nap, but I only was able to sleep for around an hour at a time. At least I got some rest before my ten hour flight.

34. On that flight, I did get some sleep. For some reason, they serve dinner at what would be 2am in the place we are going to... but it's dinner time in the place we left so it works. It was just frustrating because I wanted to sleep, not eat dinner. Asiana airlines is great... any airline other than American ones are decent from my experience.

35. I had a short flight from SF to Portland, and I slept the whole time.

US: October 2011

36. Back in a suburb of Portland, I slept in a real bed. yay. I wasn't sure how long I'd stay with my brother's family... but as I had no job or other place to live, it was convenient that I was able to stay there. I was planning to go back to Japan within a few months anyway, so if I got another place in Portland, it would also just be temporary. I felt like it might be good to stay in one place for at least a month though... my body was quite stressed from all the moving around. I ended up staying for around 6 weeks, but we did a road trip to visit family in California during that time. That included staying in a hotel one night each way and with my parents for almost a week.

37. A friend's rental property was vacant, so they let me stay in the little back room there for super cheap (to cover utilities) while the last tenant moved out and they cleaned and looked for a new tenant. It was just under a month but at least I was back in Portland to make it easier to get to work. I continued volunteering and sorting through things to give away.

38. I got a temporary job that provided housing and meals (plus a salary) for almost a month. yay. I was excited as it was working with Korean students again, and I loved the experience in Korea. Especially the part about just going to the cafeteria for meals and not having to think about feeding myself on top of working a lot. I had a three bedroom apartment to share with another coordinator for the camp. I moved in first so I took the master bedroom with an attached bath. That was fancy - the only time I've been in a master bedroom. After a week or so the coordinator I worked with left abruptly to take another job. One of the students had moved into the third bedroom because she was having some problems getting along with other students. The school hired another coordinator, but she was married and they put her & her husband into another apartment. The student's mom came to Portland and stayed with us in the apartment. Then one of the other students decided she was going to move into there with us for the last week. It worked out well. The work schedule was a little stressful and my coworkers barely slept which made me more stressed out. Even though I had been looking for one place to stay for the remainder of my time in Portland, by the time this position ended, I still didn't know where I would stay. I found out the kids sharing my apartment were staying two days longer than I expected, so I stayed as well. Then I explained to my boss (owner of the apartment building and school) that I didn't know where I was going to move to yet and she didn't seem too concerned. I tried craigslist but it didn't feel like a good option. No one I knew in town had space for me really. But everyone said I could sleep on their floor or couch for a few days. I really didn't want to move unless it was the last time before going to the airport. I had maybe 8 boxes total plus a bike, but I still needed to give away or store 80% of that once I knew where I was going to live & what I would need. A friend I hadn't seen for a couple years came into town for a weekend and I explained the situation. She said maybe her sisters had a room available. I didn't know her sisters lived in Portland & hadn't even thought of asking her. It was that easy. One of her sisters had a furnished room opening up in the next week in a huge 4 story house with a bunch of girls and a Christian couple who worked with international students. Perfect. Two blocks from free geek where I was volunteering. Super close to downtown and walkable to lots of things including my favorite co-op grocery store Peoples. I told my boss the room was available in a few days and she said go ahead and stay in the apartment until then. I was relieved. It was strange to have the big apartment to myself for almost a week and I missed my students that had become like my temporary family.

39. 1748: a community house. 9 bedrooms and 3 and a half baths. 4 stories including a finished basement. I liked the idea of just living with one person, not really wanting to invest time into meeting new people right before I leave the country... but at the same time, community and friends is what I needed. Also reconnecting me with a spirituality I had felt detached from for several years. It immediately felt comfortable and right to move there, where staying in a strange house I found on craigslist would have felt really uncomfortable to me. I was there for six weeks.

Next: And Back to Japan (and more pictures of that stripey comforter, I promise.)

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