Generally, I spent some kid time on a sunny summer day having fun. I needed a walk and a romp through some playgrounds to clear my head. We've been having a crazy week. Nothing spectacular, of course. But sometimes the little crazies can bond together to create an amalgam of wackiness that needs to be addressed. This week was filled with those little sticky blobs of wacky. (Sticky Blobs of Wacky, by the way, is a terrible name for a restaurant.) (Buffet the Appetite Slayer is a great name for a restaurant.)
After the busy morning, I've spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning, listening to music, and thinking about next steps.
This year is all about evaluating those next steps, and deciding where to go next as a family. In two key ways: we want to understand where we can live and settle down, and what our next steps are in terms of career. (Jaime and I, that is. The kids are busy being kids. Although Viri has career on his mind as much as we do, at this point.) (Arkaedi, however: "I'm just having fun!")
It looks like we're headed back to the NW next year. At this point I can't imagine anything else, and nothing here is really tempting in the long term. It was a fun experiment- good for us, especially me. I needed this time back east, back in a small town. But I've learned what I needed to learn, and I'm ready for the return journey. I wouldn't be a good hobbit without a There and Back Again story. And I am nothing if not a good hobbit.
The kids are too young to really have input into a decision like moving. But it's funny to see what they have to say. Both of them are excited to live somewhere with animals and zoos. They don't remember Seattle, really. They are the most important factor in the discussion, however. Soon they'll be too old to be comfortable uprooting and transplanting. They already have friends and connections here, relationships that make moving complex. J and I are more mobile. In part because our best friends are people we stay in touch with regardless, and in part because we chose a life of rambling the moment we moved to Japan in 2000. Maybe earlier- leaving our tight circle of friends in 1998 for college in Japan was a major step. We knew once we made that choice that our world would never be as small and cozy again. And we're okay with that.
There are some factors to consider that may shape the decision. We're always on the lookout for a new country to explore. Viri especially is excited to try Australia, and I'm never one to totally rule out A) foreign adventure or B) Viri's ideas. (Seriously, every day that boy is growing more powerful. "Join me, Arkaedi. Together we can overthrow the Papa and rule the galaxy as Pretty and Bubba!") But barring some wonderfully insane stroke of crazy, we'll be headed back to the NW. Either Portland or Seattle, or an outlying town near enough to one of those. Maybe even Olympia, if we're feeling nutty.