Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The first month away from the Carolinas

I am not going to lie....so far, travel PT is amazing.  But being away from the Carolinas so far has been difficult (mostly for me, Kate).  Call it culture shock.  A different environment.  Fish out of water.  Call it whatever, but things here are different.

For the first 2 weeks at work, 90% of my patients and coworkers thought I was from AUSTRALIA of all places.  Talk about feeling out of place.  I felt like I was somewhere that no Southerner had ever been before! My response? "NO. I'm American."

Not all things that are different are bad.  I have learned that though yes, home is quite different from here, we do share some common ground.  Here is an elementary school compare/contrast list for you.

- It is GREEN here in the north west.  I mean really really green.  It is beautiful.
- People are laid back, and they are genuinely really nice.  We were surprised how easy it has been to strike up conversations with so many strangers here.
-Praise God, it is not humid here one bit.
- The mountains are huge.
- The snow is significant. Like 4-5' deep at high altitudes.
- People love to ride bikes everywhere, and people in cars don't get angry at them! Everyone shares the road! (Imagine that).
- A pot luck at work during the 2nd week was full of healthy foods...nothing fried or "casseroled" (so not quite as good!)
- If you happen to slip up and say "bless (his/her) heart," people will crack up.
- A Southern drawl is exotic.

That being said, we have been having a GREAT time in this foreign land, especially on the weekends.  When you work hard, it is only right to play hard, and we have done more in this first month in Oregon than we did the entire past year combined!  Let me hit the highlights for you.

(1) We have been snowboarding!  Josh found us a Groupon for a place called Mount Hood Meadows.  So we hit the slopes....Josh for his second time, and me for the first time.  I (humbly) thought I was going to be awesome at it.  I was so wrong.  At the end of the day, I estimated that I fell on my face approximately 32 times....on the bunny slope.  I'm talking flipping, flopping, bruises in places I did not even know I hit, FALLING.  It was god-aweful.  Below is a picture for you.  I look like I am having fun, but you can only see my eyes. I was traumatized.  Josh, on the other hand, had a grand time, though he fell quite a few times as well.  The only time I made it off the bunny slope (to an intermediate slope....terrible idea), I fell in the first 20' and thought I broke my wrist.  I walked down the next 200', then had the (second) terrible idea to "ride" down the rest of the way on my butt. Long story short, the slope was super steep, I quickly went from 0 to 70 mph, put my feet down to attempt to stop, and the snowboard (rented snowboard, mind you) flew out from under me, down the next slope, out of site, and then off into a really deep gully.  Bless Josh's heart....he saw it, chased it, and hiked down into the ditch to get it for me.  Such a good man!

Snowboarding at Mt. Hood Meadows.
(2)  We have been SNOWSHOEING!  This - much unlike snowboarding - is absolutely amazing.  In true Southern form, I have been living under the impression for much of my life that snow is dangerous.  Unless you want to sink, fall, fishtail, or die, you stay inside with your bread and milk and wait it out. However, we went on a guided tour this past weekend trekking through the stuff outside of Bend, OR, and had THE BEST time.  We drove with our tour guide and another family about 30 min away from the city, strapped on our rental shoes, and went out across 4' deep snow into a forrest full of hemlocks and fir trees.  The sun just glistened off of the fresh, untouched powder and all was quiet.  Talk about peaceful!  I would snowshoe every day if I could.
About to head out on the hike!

The best view of the afternoon: Broken Top Mountain, by the Three Sisters.
 (3)  We have been hiking!  From lookout points above the Coast, to deep in the forrest in search of waterfalls, we have truly enjoyed getting off the beaten path.  My favorite place so far has been Smith Rock State Park.  Smith Rock is the number one place in the United States for rock climbing, and when we went on Easter, climbers were out in full force.
Cascade Head Trail
Smith Rock State Park
Silver Falls State Park

 For those of you following our adventures thus far, know that we are living it up as best we can.  We miss home though.  So if you are with your friends and family, be thankful.  In one way or another, we are all very much blessed.