Monday, July 20, 2009

Shifting sands and the essential question

Not the physical terrain, but our lives feel like shifting sand to me now. Tonight we are back at Birch Bay State Park, after being at Larrabee State Park for the weekend, and Thursday we are going east to Silver Lake County Park, closer to the Mt. Baker wilderness.

We are doing a remarkable job of living together in this trailer (a modern studio apartment on wheels), taking turns for who stands up since we can’t both be moving around at once, heating up water on the stove whenever we need to wash dishes or ourselves, being careful not to run the battery down when we are camping in a site without utilities, and fitting everything we wear and eat into the overhead cabinets or storing them under the bed or kitchen seats.

You can see the limits of this situation when we are trying to apply for jobs. I brought along an outfit to use for job interviews, but we don’t have an iron or ironing board, let alone electricity. We don’t have Internet access in the campground, so we have been imposing on our Bellingham friends, Kay and Leslie, for wireless access, or going to the public libraries. We each made a file of important papers to bring with us on this part of the trip, so stuffed in with our bird books, road atlases and Scrabble game is my file with transcripts, birth certificate, health insurance papers, a file called “Books to Read”, and a folder called “Job prospects.”

This week, I did apply for a job and the process required writing and printing a cover letter (did it in the Ferndale library), getting three letters of recommendation (emailing my Eastern Standard Time references at 2:15 p.m. when I know they have gone home for the day), sending Lynne out to the camper to find my transcripts and my good clothes. I have another application (at Western Washington University) to finish this week. Lynne applied for a per diem home health nursing job until her nurse practitioner license gets processed. Meanwhile, we are out of range from the cell tower at Larrabee and we found we could pirate the wireless internet at the little camp store/ Laundromat that is just outside the Birch Bay State Park entrance.

I vacillate between the fun of being on vacation and the realization that we have to stop being on vacation. I think we would rather walk down to the beach each night to watch the sun go down than deal with home inspections and looking for work. We are facing an important question: are we beach bums at heart?

We have made it to the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship for two Sundays now, and we both are happy with what we find there. Last Sunday, we missed because of the Pride parade and celebration, the highlight of which was the Rainbow City Band, a GLBT marching band from Seattle, complete with flag wavers, who performed and danced Michael Jackson tunes. This event was our first exposure to the at large gay community with all its variations, from drag queens and leather dudes (I’d include a back view of that crowd but this is a family blog) to young tattooed student types, roller bladers and nondescript middle aged women and men like us. We stayed long enough to hear the mayor of Bellingham speak, and watched a little local entertainment. This week, we also went to a Tai Chi inspired exercise class at BUF and we both loved it. I also jumped into Lake Padden after we had taken Winnie for a walk and had a wonderful long swim in the lake, my first swim in this time zone.

I am missing all of you and at times I’m feeling a little lonely. We chat it up with everyone we come in contact with, (dog owners on the beach, the people around us at church, the customers waiting for fish sandwiches at the Farmer’s Market…) It isn’t hard because most people are open and friendly. Still, we have the hard work of establishing friendships ahead of us, and I know that it just takes time. I appreciate your emails more than ever, and hope that you know how much your friendship means to us. (We did get an exciting phone call that Julie may fly out to visit this fall and David and Ross have promised the same.)

Love to you all.


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