Although we did not mention returning home for the holidays on the blog page before we left from Virginia, we did in fact fly home to see our family and friends. Our plane tickets had been purchased by my parents four months in advanced. We chose not to announce it in our writings so we could fly home and surprise Ryan's parents and family for the holidays.
After our long stay in Chesapeake, VA we were driven in a van by our friend T.J. two hundred miles to Raleigh, NC in order to fly home from the Raleigh/Durham airport. The weather in the area had been cold and rainy for days and a ride all the way from Chesapeake was so nice. Thank you so much! We will miss you until the next time we get to see you. We arrived in Raleigh two days before our flight and stayed in a furnished rental owned by a woman named Nina Fargus. She has many wonderful rentals in the Chapel Hill area of town under the company name How Suite It Is. (Here is a link to her website). They are homey and have everything you need to have a comfortable stay, including fully supplied functional kitchens so you can do all your own cooking if you like. Our unit had beautiful hardwood floors, lots of windows, and was tucked back from the road on a quite street amongst the trees. Big thank yous to Nina for accommodating us before we flew home.
Our plane left on December 15th with a layover in Minneapolis/St Paul of two hours, then home to Portland at about midnight that day. We were so thrilled to come back at Christmas time. To see everyone after months on the road has been spectacular.We can't thank my parents enough for purchasing our tickets home. It was the best Christmas gift the two of us have received in years and means the world to us. Our first days back were spent surprising Ryan's family members who were unaware that we would be here and visiting with our friends. We had a great coming home celebration at a local bar in North Portland the second night we were back. On Christmas Eve the two of us spent time at both of our parents houses having dinner and opening gifts. This year my Grandmother, both my uncles, they're wives, and three of my cousins were all here for the holidays as well. At Ryan's families house his parents, brother, sister in law, sister, brother in law, nieces and nephew all opened presents and had dinner together.
On New Years Eve we spent more time partying with friends. Our good friends arranged a party at a hotel in outer NE Portland where we could all have a great time celebrating and sleep so no one had to worry about driving anywhere or cleaning up any messes in the morning. The hotel, called A Loft, also had a 24 hour pool that all of us swarmed upon shortly after we rang in the new year together. Everyone had a great time together and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning. Since New Years we also went to see our close friends Jake and Oni and their girls who live two hours away from Portland near the coast in Naselle, WA. During a more normal year we try to visit them every two to three months. Ryan and I borrowed a car from his parents and took our friends Andre and Kyle to visit too. It was another round of partying out there in there country. We stayed for a night and two days catching up, spending time with the girls, and enjoying the quiet country surroundings. Jake and Oni's house sits right next to the Naselle River and you can look at it through the windows of they're kitchen or walk down to the banks in the afternoons.
Our time was finally coming to an end in Portland and our return flight was close. A day before we were due to leave we decided to alter our plans concerning the continuation. At this point in the year we have exhausted all of our trip funds and were planing on returning to NC, then bike out of the winter weather to Flordia, (where it did get unusually cold this year) to find seasonal employment in order to fund the rest of the trip. Ryan and I decided to stay in Portland for the Winter instead and work here to earn more money, then leave in the early spring to go pick up our belongings from storage and continue on our way. We felt this way earning money would be easier having a place to live and car to borrow from Ryan's parents to get us to our jobs. The best part is having more time to spend with everyone on the weekends.
So, to bring you back up to date: Ryan and I are living on his parents sailing boat on the Columbia River that they so generously allowed us to use for a couple of months, along with they're second car. After our decision to stay we immediately began job searching on Jan 6th, the day after our cancelled flight and found jobs one week later. We were both willing to work any kind of job as long as it meant earning money to continue the journey. Even with the crappy job market out there we managed to find full time, regular employment at a meat packing facility. Yes. We pack meat in a big warehouse forty plus hours a week now. Wish us luck. More to come on the not so exciting exploits of meat packing.
Ryan and Allegra
My sister India, mom and dad.
Ernest and Caprice, my parents.
Ryan's nieces opening presents on Christmas afternoon.
Sammie, Oni's oldest daughter eating pumpkin pie in Naselle, WA.
Our friends partying together in Naselle.
Ryan and Jake share a "man" moment.
Kyle, me and Oni.
Jake and Andre having a laugh.
Kyle thoroughly enjoying himself.
Sammie working on a beading project.
Jessica Lynn, Jake and Oni's baby posing for a photo.
Me, Mary, Andre and Audie at a New Years Eve party our fiends put together.
Asia, Ryan and Mary right after midnight.
A new years dinner with friends at my parents house.
Relaxing on the boat.