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Entries in United States (4)

From The City by the Bay to a Desert Oasis

656867-1167920-thumbnail.jpgThere is no doubt we’ve experienced a level of appreciation for where we live during our first couple weeks home. The main thing we keep saying to each other is “gosh, everything in the states is so easy!” There's no hassle, or bargaining, or searching for things we need -- it's all there for you and of course available in excess!  For as many cities and countries as we experienced this past year, I still think that good ole’ San Francisco is tops. From our 4am walks to Coit Tower and the Marina (thanks to jet lag), to driving over the Golden Gate Bridge on a gorgeous sunny afternoon, to the vibrant hustle and bustle of downtown on Market Street, to discovering some of the new restaurants to hit our neighborhood, I just can’t get enough of this town.

656867-1167923-thumbnail.jpgHOWEVER, one week in SF was all we got for the time being since our home is rented out through the end of the year. Now we find ourselves in Scottsdale, AZ for the next 6 weeks. As different as this desert city is from the city by the bay, it is incredibly beautiful here. The sunsets are truly unique to anywhere else in the world, and on our evening walk yesterday I couldn’t stop commenting on how gorgeous it was.

656867-1167927-thumbnail.jpgJason predicted this would happen, we’d get home and be bored, and low and behold it’s true. I’m holding off on looking for a job until I get back to SF in early January, and this time of year things slow down for Jason. I must say having the day to day routine here I so craved while on the road doesn’t quite give us that excitement of travel. But, it is very nice relaxing and catching up with family! 

Holidays, Family, and Sentimental Stuff

656867-1201917-thumbnail.jpgThis time of year always seems to highlight the importance of the people we hold most dear in our lives. In particular, after 10 months of being away from all our family and friends, I think we have a renewed appreciation of how special it is to be able to share the holidays with family.

Thanksgiving was a beautiful affair at my brother and sister-in-laws home -- my parents, grandparents, uncle Art and cousin Max all joined in the 656867-1201920-thumbnail.jpgcelebration, along with Jason’s whole family. It was adorable to see my first cousin Max and my little niece Ari become fast friends (although Max had enough of her after about an hour!) Also, cooking alongside my mom in preparation for the meal was so much fun – it had been many, many years since we last had shared the same kitchen together, and truly was nice reconnecting over the open flame.

656867-1201923-thumbnail.jpgWe’ve now been in Scottsdale, AZ for officially one month. I honestly don’t know where the time has gone, since we really haven’t done much of anything while being here (a complete 180 from our time on the road). We have managed to spend some wonderful quality time with Ari, Jason taking her to a swimming class one evening (in the pool with her) and I’ve hit up a couple Friday morning music classes. As I sit here right now, Ari is actually taking one of her 3 hour marathon naps at our place (so is Jason), since I think our mall time earlier today wore them both out.

656867-1201925-thumbnail.jpgLast night we had a Hannukah party, which was not only a celebration of the festival of lights, but also a tribute to everything Dora. If you don’t have children or nieces and nephews this might mean nothing, but Dora the Explorer is taking over the world. When both I and Ari’s parent have bought the same Dora puppet 656867-1201928-thumbnail.jpgby coincidence, you know a product is doing well. Not to mention the Dora rug, Dora blanket, Dora outfit, and Dora washcloth that were all dawned upon our little angel last night. The energy and excitement of Hannukah that I felt as a little girl, was awash in Ari as she danced to the driedel song, ripped open everyone’s presents and gobbled down latkes, gelt, and Hannukah cookies all night long!

656867-1201930-thumbnail.jpgAs some might have noticed, we aren’t quite updating our website with the frequency as when we were on the road. Seeing as the content of our lives is a lot less climatic to the events of this year, it’s been difficult to muster it. BUT, I realize that often times it’s the simple things in life that are the most fulfilling -- the wonderful dinners with my grandparents, or movie night with Scott, or girls lunch with Amanda, and evening dinner with my in-laws, really are the things that are most important.

Adios Arizona

656867-1230654-thumbnail.jpgAnd so our 6 weeks in Arizona comes to an end. That’s right, six weeks in Arizona. Why six weeks in Arizona? Well my whole family (Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister-In-Law, Niece) are here. Also Joy’s maternal grandparents are here. Believe me, if it weren’t for that we would have been out in 3 days tops. I’m going to come right out and say it (as I often have in this blog) – I hate Arizona. Specifically Scottsdale, where we were staying. It’s a generic sea of strip malls and chain restaurants mixed with excesses of space and traffic. I’m constantly singing the theme song to Weeds over and over in my head.

656867-1230659-thumbnail.jpgWe stayed in a beautiful vacation condo that was walking distance from Kierland (think upper scale strip mall, with upper scale chain restaurants). We picked it in large part because of the amazing pool and outdoor grounds. Unfortunately for our entire stay it was too cold to use any of it. We did walk (a completely unheard of concept in Scottsdale) across the street a few times, but after awhile it just wasn’t worth the strange looks we would get. I think people felt bad for us thinking we were too poor to afford a car?

656867-1230666-thumbnail.jpgDespite our dislike for all things Scottsdale, the visit really was fantastical. We were able to spend true quality time with my family. We ate many Walker Style meals (dinners with huge portions starting at 5:00pm), did the occasional “Art Walk”, but most importantly spent time with my niece Ari. I took her to her swim lesson (actually getting in the pool with her), read her 656867-1230675-thumbnail.jpgcountless Dora stories, and watched her constantly miss her mouth in her 2-year-old attempt to eat. We even went to the ballet with Joy’s grandparents (thanks to my best friend from college Heather who is now the ballet’s marketing director). We finished off the stay with dinner with my business partner Samantha and her boyfriend (now live-in) Rob who came out from San Francisco to visit family of their own. Sorry for the “here’s what we did” style post, but there just wasn’t much world insight to share...

As an added bonus, however, we had the pleasure of driving our car back up to San Francisco.  My brother had been using it while we were away and we needed to get it home.  So we packed up all our stuff and drove it straight for 12 hours.  Got in late, spent the entire next day running errands - the day before Xmas no less, awesome day to be running around to Target, Sears, Home Depot, Sleep Train (bought a new Tempurpedic mattress!), etc.  And now, today woke up at 5am and hopped on a 5 hour flight to Maui.  The Wandering Walkers never rest!

Family Fun in the Sun. . .

656867-1248213-thumbnail.jpgOur annual family trip to Maui is no doubt a highlight of the year. For almost 30 years my family has been coming to Kapalua, a resort area in the western most part of Maui. Although the weather here is usually a little more windy and rainy then more central sunny Lahaina, (only about 20 minutes away) the secluded nature of this location is so amazing. Being that this is now Jason’s 8th year coming here with the family, it really feels like coming home for both of us each year we arrive here.

The crew this year includes my parents Judy and Steve, my brother Jake and his fiancé Aimee, my little brother Josh and his girlfriend Lauren, and my Aunt Nancy and Uncle Richie, and cousins Toby and Sofi. That basically means that a small intimate dinner with the gang is a reservation for 12!

656867-1248256-thumbnail.jpgWe all have so much fun hanging out in different groups together. Jason and Toby have become quite the little Wii playing clique spending afternoons indulging in Tiger Woods golf, the girls like to go for morning walks up and around Pineapple Hill, my dad, Jake, Josh, Jason and I are the tennis playing crowd usually spending at least 2-3 hours a day on the court, and of course 656867-1248263-thumbnail.jpgwhen it comes to meals we all take turns going out in groups. Two nights ago we had our annual “cousin’s night”, where we dined in Lahaina and followed the evening up with a round of dip and dots. NYE was also a blast as the older cousins indulged in sake bombs, and then followed the evening up with some intense Wii playing. I know, we really know how to party it up here!

656867-1248269-thumbnail.jpgToday sadly is our last day of being here this year. As Jason and I were taking a walk from the little Honolua store where we ate breakfast, the reality that our year on the road truly is coming to an end hit us both. We officially left our home on December 23rd, 2006 and will finally move back in on January 7th, 2008 – 380 days later! There is no doubt we feel a mix of emotions about this fact, ranging from relief, to utter sadness. BUT, we’re lucky enough to live in an amazing city as SF, where we have so many of our friends and family around us, as well the excitement and intrigue of this amazing place. So, get ready SF peops, the Wandering Walkers are returning.