My but Oregon is beautiful. I know that it mostly looks just like Washington, but I think there are some subtle differences—none of which I’m eloquent enough to define for you. Or maybe it’s just my home state pride coming through. I took about a gazillion pictures of waterfalls and trees and different things in various shades of green and was generally accused of being ‘arty’ by various family members, which begs the question—have they ever seen any actual art? Cause that thing I was doing? Where I turned the camera at an angle and then took the picture? That is not so much art as me being a jackass. But I digress. I took a lot of pictures and Oregon is beautiful enough that some of them came out well in spite of my total lack of skills. And if I could get my (work) computer to, well, work, I would be showing you those pictures now instead of just blathering on about them. Alas.
As for the family—they were so nice! Like, really nice. At one point I accidentally said ‘damn’ and I instantly felt terrible. No one said anything to me like ‘Stop that cursing you heathen’ or even batted an eye—that’s how nice these people were—but I felt bad anyway. You really learn something about yourself when you realize that you’re first instinct during a political discussion is to say something like “Giuliani is riding 9/11 like a cheap whore”, rather than something like, “I find Mr. Giuliani’s speeches lack originality”. I mean, until this weekend, I generally thought of myself as a well mannered individual. I suppose it would be more accurate to say I’m more like a well mannered sailor.
Overall though I had a really nice time. It’s interesting to suddenly be surrounded by an entire group of people who (like myself), would generally rather be reading than carrying on whatever current conversation they are involved in. It makes for an interesting dynamic at meal times. I talked a lot about the Peace Corps and cursed (in my head of course) the vague nature of the program for perhaps the thousandth time. “No, I don’t really have any idea of what my living conditions will be like” and “No, I’m not really sure what I’ll be doing—aside from, you know, helping and stuff”. But I have to say that it was very exciting to have something to talk about that I feel passionately about. It’s a relatively new experience for me, to not have to look down and mumble something about ‘sales assistant’ when people ask me what I do.
I also met this really awesome woman (a friend of my…cousin? My dad’s brother’s youngest son…yes, cousin, right?) who just got back from South Africa where she was the cinematographer for a documentary called Angels In the Dust, which ironically played here at the Seattle International Film Festival last month. Its about a woman who opened up an orphanage for AIDS orphans and also I think there is something involving elephants. Anyway, she was super cool and offered to send me a copy of the DVD. It was a totally random encounter and it totally made my day.
So to sum it all up, this weekend I: spent far to many hours in a car, spent the perfect amount of time looking at nature, swam, spiked a bottle of juice with tequila and then covertly drank said tequila in front of various people who do not drink tequila ever, read, played chess, got trounced at chess by a 13 year-old (chess champion of his class!), endured much mocking by people who clearly don’t know good music, realized that I’m no good at horseshoes, tried really hard not to say the word ‘shit’, met an awesome German lady, and was generally reminded that there are all kinds of people in this world and most of them are all right.
Oh, and we ate at Fuddruckers and I managed not to refer to it as RuddFuckers even once.