We have just returned from our wonderful time in Oregon. Many of you know how much I love Oregon. How much I treasure my time there. How I long to be there. Every time I go, I leave a piece of my heart there. In fact, my heart lives there. Yes, it is a beautiful place. I love the Ocean, farmer's markets, wonderful hikes, concerts in the park, arts, splashing in fountains, wonderful fresh local food, ethnic food......The basil leaves from farmer's market were the size of my palm. I told myself, I'd eat fresh basil every day while in Portland. Although these are all wonderful reasons to love the place, they are merely superficial reasons.
22 years ago, I decided to participate in a home stay program that was offered through my high school. Spend 3 weeks in Portland, Oregon with a local family to experience the culture and to learn the language. I was to write a generic letter of introduction to my 'Dear Host Family' who would be chosen randomly without any input from me. That's how it all began. Who would have thought after 22 years, we still remain friends....actually family. They are my family. We treasure them. We are thankful for them. We love them dearly.
My heart soars every time we drive along the beautiful Columbia River towards Portland. I cry every time we say good-bye. This summer, we went to Oceanside and walked the beach looking for agates and sea shells. We hand harvested mussels to have for dinner with wonderful local veggies and wine. We explored the OMSI, Splashed in the fountains, visited farmer's markets. Met some new friends and visited with some old friends. Lime-aid stand for the girls. Visited with the neighbors' cat. Parks and food stands. Went to a County Fair and swam in the pool. Watched the wind surfers. Tried lots of new food. Hula hoops and berry picking. Ice cream cones. We read lots of books. We had no time to watch TV or be on the computer. We skipped down the street hand in hand. We took time to be together. To really listen and to invest in each other.
That's what I really love about my dear friends. They invest in us. They invest in our children. They are a wonderful example of what a family should be. My kids learned so many games, so many things about the nature. We took time to watch the spider spin her web. It's inspiring. Really. In my heart, I know that's how I want to be everyday. To take advantage of the every opportunity to be inspired and to learn together. Loving the world which is full of wonder. God knows I try, but some days, I am just simply tired. The mundane day to day tasks which need to be done. I am so thankful for people like David, Carolyn and Emily. I saw my kids come alive. Confident and inspired. Trying out new things without the fear of failure. Kids know when they are loved and valued. Thank you for being in our life. Thank you for the best time ever.
I want to hold on to this renewed heart. That is why I am writing this. This is for me. I want to remember this. Set aside my own agenda and selfishness and to invest. I am learning to take life slowly and savour it. Life is so amazing and I am glad to have the gift of family and friends who willingly come along for the ride.
“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder without any such gift from the fairies, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in”--Rachel Carson