Seventeen years ago my husband and I packed up our little one bedroom apartment into a U-Haul. Along with our cat and all our young dreams we drove 4 hours to a city where we had no home, no jobs, no friends. And we set up a new life.
But the city we left behind held onto a part of me. My family moved there when I was 10. And so many of my memories live there.
This past weekend my eldest son and I took a road trip to meet up with my dearest friend in our hometown. Before meeting up with her and her children, we explored.
We climbed the Astor Column.
We drove to Fort Stevens and explored Battery Russell.
I have so many memories at Fort Stevens. We spent many days there bike riding, swimming, fishing, walking the beach. My mom would take our dogs there and walk. I'd have my bike and go off and explore by myself, meeting up with her somehow without a cell phone.
I learned how to drive there too. In the empty parking lots first, then on the roads through the expansive park. I drove out there so much without my dad knowing that when he finally gave me a driving lesson he was surprised how "naturally talented" I was.
The first time I set eyes on the ocean was at a beach much like this one. And even though the world seems to have shrunk as I have aged, the ocean is still giant and expansive.
My son and I enjoyed the soft, warm sand between our toes.
The Peter Iredale
A story: My husband (before he was my husband) and I met one evening. We hung out, talked. The next day, we drove to the beach, climbed this lookout, and stared out at the ocean. Unable to know that we were looking into the rest of our lives, together. Fast forward 17 years when I stood on that very lookout with our 15 year old son.
Nine months after the lookout at the beach, we stepped out of the doors of this church as husband and wife. The church has been remodeled since then so it looks quite different. That single door used to be double doors. My sister, too was married at this church and has a great picture of she and her husband on those very steps eight years before our wedding day.
Regardless of what it looks like, this is the BEST Asian food. When we walked in for dinner I was shocked that it still looked and smelled the exact same as it used to. I ordered what I ordered every time we went there and it looked and tasted the exact same. Sesame chicken, pork chow mein, and fried rice. And it always comes with a little bowl of red sauce, hot mustard, and sesame seeds on the side. What a trip down memory lane!
This is my sweet friend. I can't even begin to describe the depth of our relationship. Of all the human beings I know there are few that reside as close to my heart as she does. And I rarely get to see her but when I do, we pick right back up where we left off.
Last time we left off she had four children. This is number 5. And I can't help but to love each and every one of them with my whole heart.
It was a great trip. A whirlwind of memories and nostalgia. I'm thankful for where I have been, where I come from, the places I've called home, all the places that have contributed to who I am.