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Pictures from the hiking trip

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Here I am modeling my pack!

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My most loveliest boyfriend of amazing.

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The woods!

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Sunglasses pic!

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An awesome type of tree that was growing all through the cow fields. Large parts of the ridge stretch of the hike were through rolling fields like this one.

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The stream where our campsite was situated. You can tell there was once a bridge here, but I’m not sure how extensively the area used to be settled before the land was all repossessed by the state.

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Beautiful azaleas.

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So This One Time

One time, I didn’t post on here for days and days right before I’m about to leave.

So what’s been happening? Well, to begin with…

1) I went on my hike. It was 10.5 miles total, a hike in the area of Rocky Knob. Let me just say that the hike itself was absolutely gorgeous. It also gave me a new idea of how horrid it is going to be to carry my whole life on my back, but that is a bit beside the point.

We started our voyage at the top of a ridge and hiked down the mountainside into a deep gorge, which was the home of a swift flowing stream. Following the stream in the gathering dusk was a truly relaxing experience, pack or no pack. The campground for this particular trail is right next to said stream, so we set up camp (in the dark, we timed it wrong) and proceeded to pass out. It was just as gorgeous in the morning, but this time we had to go back up the mountain, which was a little more intimidating. I’ll be honest, I wimped out part of the way up. My phenomenal and amazing lover took some of the weight out of my pack and helped me recover from my faintness by force-feeding me bananas and trailmix, so it was all good. The whole hike took about 22 hours, counting sleeping time and such, and it was a truly lovely 22 hours if I do say so myself. I’ll put up a few pics after I finish this post.

2) I moved out of my apartment.  The real reason I haven’t posted anything on here at all for days has been because I have been in the process of putting my entire life into boxes. This is, as can be imagined, a pretty intense task. It’s the first time I’ve attempted to move from such a large living space, and I had accumulated a LOT of stuff. I don’t even know where I actually ended up packing half of it, but it has all been successfully transferred to my friend Gregory’s basement. Thank goodness for Gregory.

Packing up my house took place over a period of about five days total. It was miserable. And hot. And miserable. But damnit, it’s done! Now all that remains is cleaning. Also, I broke my pack in transit. I did this by closing a buckle in the trunk of my car, therefore shattering a piece of said buckle. Optimally done it was not. But Osprey being the awesome people they are, they are sending me a new buckle. If for no other reason that this particular experience, I’m feeling pretty jazzed about buying future gear from them. Here’s to hoping it comes in time.

3) Lastly, I made a reservation for the hotel I’m staying in right after I get off the plane, on the theory I will need to rest and have some down time. It’s only a ten minute shuttle ride from the airport and is pretty cheap considering that it has a private bath and stuff. I’ve found in my searching for hotels that having a private bath is apparently a big deal in a lot of Japanese hotels. Or maybe I’ve just been looking more in hostels because I’m cheap. I’m sure I will be able to attest to that more thoroughly at a future date.

I also sat down and plotted out how to get from the airport to the hotel, and then how to get from the hotel back to the airport and THEN how to get from the airport to my friend Victoria’s house, where I’ll be staying the first week. She lives in Saitama, and the closest major train station to her is like a two hour walk away, so I will be taking a tiny local train to a nearer stop, which will only be about five minutes from her house. After that I really don’t know where I will be going because according to Google Maps her apartment doesn’t exist. Whatever. We’ll work something out hopefully. Or else I’ll be walking around town being like “LEOPALACE?” “LEOPALACE SUMIMASEN” like a crazy foreigner.

So, that’s my update in one giant post. Pictures to follow!

Over and out, amigos!

Hostel Research, Rain and Waterproof Sandals?

Okay, to begin let my just say that I fail to see how sandals can ever be waterproof. That said I’m excited about these shoes.

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I’m on lunch break in my car because it is raining a good amount. Hopefully it will not rain this much in Japan, if only because I would like some decent pictures. I don’t mind a good shower but it has literally rained all day which is a whole other thing.

I spent Friday coming up with a semi-final plan for my Japan trip. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. Hadn’t she done that already? What has she been doing? I assure you I ask myself the same questions every day. Honestly I’m never quite sure what I’ve been doing. Such is life.

Anyways the list is mostly solid, minus some emailing to different hostels and ryokans, so I will be providing that to you shortly. It’s crazy how few days are left. Is anyone else getting excited??

Return List

Yesterday, they named my replacement at work and I moved the first load of things out of my apartment.

It’s really here, guys. I’m going to Japan. I’m leaving my lovely city behind, the city I love so much, abandoning my beloved apartment and my beautiful man and my job and journeying forth. Less than thirty days stand between me and departure.

But there’s still so much I want to do.

There’s so much that I want to do here. I realized this yesterday, about the same time I realized that, not including this weekend, I have only four weekends left between me and departure. I want to see all my friends, visit my family, and snuggle my boy for a week, no interruptions. But I can’t do any of that. There’s no time. I have to keep cleaning and packing and just doing things.

In less than a month I will be in Japan, which I have been waiting for so long, and right now I can only think about what I’m leaving.

So I am making a list, right here, of things that I want to do when I get back.

  • I want to see FoamHenge. Everyone I know has been to FoamHenge. They say it’s fabulous. I’m really just fascinated with the concept of a life-size replica of StoneHenge made out of foam. You know you want it, too.
  • I want to go to BobbiJo’s with my boy.Despite the name, Bobbi Jo’s is actually a pretty good Mediterranean restaurant. My friend KW swears by it. I’ve wanted to take him for a long time, because he loves Mediterranean food so much.
  • I want to visit my loves. Recently I got a letter from my best friend from college, in which she apologized for not keeping in touch. But you know what it made me realize? I haven’t really tried either. I want to plan to visit all of my favorite people who I haven’t seen for months, some of them for longer. I don’t know how I’ll do it, but I want to.
  • I want to publish something. This is not something localized to Roanoke necessarily. That said, my friend Gregory is an artist and graphic designer, and we have been talking about putting together a book, maybe even hand-binding it which would be amazing. I’m sure we could sell it on Etsy or Amazon or at Appalachian Press, but it’s not even really about that. It’s about the fact that the project would be just plain fun. In addition to that, I’m playing with self-publishing a novella or collection of short stories as an ebook.
  • I want to learn a dance with my lover. My boy has promised me that, in deference to my love of dance, he would learn one with me. Like waltz or swing or something. I’m so excited for it, but there just hasn’t been time yet.
  • I want to make a book about my travels.I made a photo album when I went to Spain, but it only has a few photographs in it and they aren’t organized well. Hopefully I can do better with Japan.

I’m sure the list is going to continue. I’m more than sure. But for now, it’s a start.

This journey is just starting, but it’s not forever. I’ll come home in July, when it’s green and hot, and swim in the rivers and soak up the sunshine and practice archery and wander the market and everything else that I love about the mountains.

Orange is Much More Lovely

I have decided that blue is not a bright enough color to capture my excitement. Therefore, I have changed my blog to orange.

My weekend, or end of the weekend, with Johana the Future Roommate and Dog the Demon-Eyed was, by all accounts, a success, though it left me a little frazzled. Johana the Future Roommate likes to talk a great deal and it has been some time since I socialized with anyone who carried on such extensive conversations merely for the pleasure of it. Not really my style. I tend to be more verbose on paper, and only speak when I have something to say. But part of the reason that I think Future Roommate and I will work is because she is so much more extroverted.

I walked Dog the Demon-Eyed down to the neighbor’s house on Sunday, and everyone assured me that he seemed a very calm and collected dog-sort. Dog and I seem to get along. We’ve found several apartments that will allow Dog residence, which has been the sticker in our apartment hunt. Now I just hope those several apartments will allow us to move in on July 1st. Otherwise I will be paying a month’s rent without living there, which would be lame. Maybe I could get away with only paying the rent and not the utilities for that month?

I’ve been playing phone tag with a few of my potential landlords/ladies, which is annoying. I work from 8:30 to 5 at the earliest (5:35 and counting today) and usually when I get off work all I want to do is something enjoyable, like reading a book, riding my bike, or at least cleaning my apartment so I don’t have to deal with a stinky kitchen. Instead I must continue making phone calls. I tell myself that I am willing to endure, but I would rather be digging post holes in all honesty.

I complain a lot for someone going to Japan. I’m so happy.

Return Plans

It may surprise you to know that life doesn’t stop with Japan.

I know it’s something I’ve been trying to convince myself of. I need some sort of plan for when I return but I don’t know what the plan is. It has caused me no small amount of stress. Trying to come up with a job for July has been difficult if not impossible, not only because I’m essentially applying for a job two months in advance but because I don’t actually have time to really hit the ground running with my search. Add to that my fear that they’ll want my to interview while actually in Japan and you can understand my concerns.

In the interim I need a place to live besides my boyfriend’s bed. This is a work in progress as well.

My potential future roommate told me she would be coming down to apartment hunt today, which is good since I feel like having a lock on a place would make me feel more comfortable. So this afternoon we should be journeying about with pen and paper and a weather eye out for rent signs. Here’s to hoping we find something promising!

A Visit, Shoes, Weddings

As of today, I have thirty days at work, and 33 days before I take to the skies and land on the opposite side of the planet.

It’s funny to think about, going to the opposite side of the planet. Originally, it would have taken months, years maybe, to get to Japan, if you made it there at all. Now, it will take me 24 hours. Most of that time I will hopefully be asleep.

Go figure.

So, as expected, I’m freaking out because I have a month to move out of my apartment, break in my pack and my walking shoes, and attend my cousin’s wedding. In the interim, my mother keeps trying to insist on taking me to the airport. Since I already told my boyfriend he was taking me, as I’ve told her about ten times, that’s not going to work out. She even went so far as to suggest that she could get a motel room for all of us. One room, mind. I told her that would be awkward and I wasn’t comfortable with sleeping in the bed with him right next to her. Obviously.  My mother can get sort of ridiculous.

In any case, once that was finally resolved, my mother became obsessed with visiting. So, today, we had lunch with my grandmother on their way to the doctor’s office.

I live in a fairly rural area, so if you want any sort of specialized medical care you have to come to my city. My parents live about an hour away by way of the interstate, and my grandmother a bit further away than that. She is coming to see the neuro-optomologist, assuming I spelled that correctly. Anyways, we had a lunch that consisted of me telling my mother to calm down several times as she tried to give me orders about how to take care of things, her telling me that she was coming up for the entirety of Memorial Day weekend apparently to move me out, and my grandmother cross-examining me about why I thought it was a good idea to live out of a backpack for a month. They also both forced me to eat about twice as much as I wanted to eat. These are the reasons that I don’t go home as often as I probably should, but each journey becomes a trial in endurance of my own personality beneath the onslaught of so many freely offered opinions.

Still, I love my family, and next weekend I will be on my way to the country to watch my cousin married and celebrate Mother’s Day. Which means this weekend I really need to accomplish something besides reading five books and sleeping a lot.