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The chronicles of two Portlanders in Singapore

The sun was once again visible as we closed in on the Pacific Coast of California.  The in-flight map was not working, so by best guess we were halfway between Hawaii and San Francisco.  The old man sitting next to me was fast asleep and slightly leaning over into my seat.  I had just woken up after a roughly five-hour nap, a success in my mind as I was due to land at three in the afternoon local time.  I had slept through the “night” such as it was, and my strategy for defeating jet lag seemed sound.  I was due to have dinner with my family at Marin Joe’s, a favorite of ours complete with martinis and fine Italian food.  With a few drinks, a healthy dinner, maybe a beer or two afterwords while watching basketball in Petaluma, I figured I would sleep soundly and adjust with little difficulty.

Well, I was wrong.

I woke at 3am.  The cold of Northern California permeated the house.  I once wrote that the microwave and stove rarely agreed on the time, only that it was way too early – or too late – for me to be awake.  Well, the microwave and stove were in complete agreement; I had no business being awake.  I thought back to the times I had sat in my parents’ kitchen writing late in the morning, the familiar bringing a weary, jet lagged smile to my face.

Oh, I had plans.  I planned on going for a run at Shollenberger Park early in the morning.  I had thought, as I watched the time tick past 5:45 that I might go around seven in the morning.  But before, I figured, I could get a bit more sleep…

It was nine am.  My dad was knocking on the bedroom door.  So much for plans.

Thanksgiving came and went with the regular feast of turkey, potatoes, pie and so much wine.  Wednesday, my first full day in the Bay, was spent helping both with the food preparations and my father-in-law with shopping for clothes for his visit to Singapore.  Thursday was a blur of food, though I was happy enough to work my magic on the smoker once again to make smoked turkey legs.  Friday was a day of recovery from our feasting.  My time with Bev seemed all too short as she left Saturday morning bound back to Singapore.  Sunday, today, was spent mostly in bed, as jet lag and a lack of sleep finally caught up to me.

And here we are, dear readers.

I haven’t written in a week.  The last time I sat down and wrote I was on a plane to Hong Kong, where I spent an hour working on the story I’ve been writing.  Before then, it was literally a week ago, in my local coffee shop, giddy with anticipation of being here.  And so it goes, now I get the experience of writing from the flip side, sitting in my parents’ house in California, watching Sunday Night Football, drinking wine instead of coffee, about to have dinner instead of eggs and bacon.

Adjustments abound.

So what’s it like being back after eight months of overseas living?

Well it’s hard to put into words.  You live in a place for eighteen years, you live around the same area for ten more, the familiarity becomes automatic.  Driving back from the airport, through San Francisco, there wasn’t a second’s confusion, but rather the old habit of familiar roads.  Driving as well posed no issue, a few mis-hits of the wipers not withstanding, though a left turn from a one-way street did create a half-moment where I thought I might have to take the turn tight.

Okay enough of this driving and food crap.  Let’s have some real talk about weather and beer.

Last night, I met up with some friends downtown for a beer or two which of course turned into a few more.  Before I did so, I went down to the local pizza place with my parents, where I gladly picked up the pitcher1jug of good local2ish, thanks Heineken beer and a glass of wine for my mom.  Not knowing how much I would have to pay, I pulled out two twenty dollar bills when the barman said, “Nineteen seventy-five.”

Oh baby, I’m home.

After the beer and pizza3thanks, Obama, I took a walk down to the bar where I was meeting up with my friends.  I was wearing a sweatshirt and a jacket over it – the only cold weather clothes I think I possess at this moment – and reveled in the ability to walk a kilometer without breaking into a sweat.

This would prove to be the warmest part of the night – we walked down to have a “final final” in the old speakeasy in literal freezing temperatures, an even 0 degrees Celsius.  The total bill for the night, paying for about twelve beers total and a glass of wine was around forty US dollars.

A departure from the norm, for sure.

This next week will be one of trying to consume as much as I can of the Bay Area and a trip to Portland.  Meeting with friends, family, whoever is available.  Now, if I can only get over this stupid jet lag.

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