The busy last three weeks
11.12.2014 - 05.01.2015 7 °C
Well, I've been back home in the US for almost 2 weeks now and it has been over 3 weeks since my last narrative blog entry. Time to fill everyone in on the project status when we left and how things are going back in the Northwest.
First, the project. Unfortunately we did not get to see as much get completed as hoped. That said, I was still happy with the overall progress on site, as we knew that the original schedule would be the best case scenario. The roof of the registration/waiting area is on, the front rafters of the main clinic are set, and the final beam was being prepped on our last day. Hopefully it is rather smooth sailing from that point. The Wednesday before we left we started placing roof sheets, and it started raining. More so pouring. Needless to say it was an adventurous drive back down the hill, sliding into the ditch a handful of time.
To make sure the weather and roads didn't have any impact on us making our flight, we spent the last weekend in Blantyre. This also let us do some last minute curio shopping and start our transition back to the US. On the 22nd we flew out off Blantyre. We had a 5 hour layover in Johannesburg before continuing on to London. It was the best plane sleep I have ever gotten. Six to seven hours right in the middle of the flight made the ride seem much shorter. We arrived at Heathrow just after 5am and took the tube into the city. We wandered around Hyde Park before finding some breakfast and finally spending our last hour or so lost in the department store/mall/museum/maze that is Harrods. The ride back to the airport was adventurous to say the least. We ended up in the wrong terminal, took a connector train, only to find out it wouldn't connect us to the right terminal, returned to the first terminal, took a bus, and arrived at our gate with 5 minutes to spare. Thankfully security was a breeze. After a small delay, we had an uneventful 9 hour flight back to Seattle. After just over 36 hours of travel, I was back in the beautiful Northwest. And yes, it was raining.
The quick summary of being home. My mom picked me up and we went straight to the Northlake Tav for my dad's company party. People seemed shocked that I would do such a thing after the much travelling. Three words, pizza and beer. The two weeks since have been a blur. The night I got back, I found out my grandpa, my mom's dad, was in the hospital. The next day was Christmas Eve, and that evening my other grandpa also had a brief stay at the hospital. Thankfully he was back at home for Christmas, which we spent at my grandparents. This year my grandma's brother, who lives in Japan, was able to visit with his wife, daughter, and two granddaughters. It had been ten years since his last visit so it was great to see all of them. Friday was spent catching up with friends. Saturday morning I went to my sister's new house to help with some remodel work. When I got there I found out that Grandpa Chub had passed away. Sunday was spent watching the Hawks and doing some more work at Keri's. Monday was spent back at Keri's before a quick trip to my aunt's and then a family dinner in Seattle, when I found out my cousin and his wife are expecting. Finally on Tuesday I spent the day at home, doing nothing. Since then I've celebrated NYE with a good group of fraternity brothers, hiked twice, watched a whole bunch of football, and caught up with more friends. Thankfully I still have another week before I start work to settle in and get fully unpacked. Actually, not thankfully, because I was supposed to be in Canada skiing. Oh well.
Losing my Grandpa still hasn't fully hit me. He was one of the most strong-willed people I have ever known and ever will know. He loved the outdoors. He hunted. His name came from fishing. I say his name, and not nickname, because I seldom heard him referred to as anything other than Chub. He worked harvest this past fall at 80. He loved the Seahawks from the beginning, long before it was cool. He said "Hey, kid" in a way only he could. He loved his animals. He loved his daughters. He loved his grandkids and great-grandchildren. And he was loved by them and many more. We shared an unspoken bond through football. At the end of a trip my mom and I took to see him in Arizona, he mentioned that we should have shot his pistol. This summer, when I wrote him for his birthday from Malawi, I said that hopefully next spring we could make that happen. It looks like it will have to happen in memory of him instead. Rest in peace Grandpa Chub. I love you and will always think of you whenever I watch the 'Hawks or spend time in the great outdoors.
By far, the most common question I have gotten is "How does it feel to be back?" With all that has been packed into the last two weeks, it still hasn't sunk in that I'm back for good. It's not just that I'm back in the States, it's that I start a career job next week for the first time in my life. Overall, I'm ready and excited, to a point. Sure I would love to just travel the world forever, and somehow I plan to find a way to do it here and there, but I spent a lot of time and energy, and money, earning two clean pieces of paper that say I learned something. It is time to see how much of it was practical.
Now the weather just needs to get better and dump a bunch of snow up in the mountains. Than it will definitely be good to be home.