Week 30 – Crater Lake

#206 Surprise Tokyo Trip

24 July 2016 // Tokyo, Japan

This doesn’t always happen to me, but some days I wake up and unexpectedly finish the day in Japan.

For unknown reasons, my connecting flight between Narita and San Francisco was cancelled, along with all other flights between Japan and the US for the rest of the day.

I wound up needing to take an extra day off (I know, there are far worse sacrifices that people have made) and got to spend the night in a pretty fun Tokyo hotel for the evening. The results of this mishap turned out to be hotel fun, an unexpectedly amazing and cheap meal, and a pretty good day of Pokéhunting.

#207 Lunch with Chika

25 July 2016 // Tokyo, Japan

I landed at my Narita layover to find that my flight to San Francisco had been cancelled, along with pretty much every flight to the United States. What to do?

First, I treated my free hotel stay like it was Home Alone 2, complete with complimentary bathrobes!

Then I tried to see which of my friends in Japan I might be able to meet. It was a bit of a puzzle navigating the Tokyo railway, but I made it to the city in time to eat lunch with my friend Chika who I haven’t seen in two years. Not bad for a cancelled flight.

#208 Homegoing

26 July 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

“The need to call this thing “good” and this thing “bad,” this thing “white” and this thing “black,” was an impulse that Effia did not understand. In her village, everything was everything. Everything bore the weight of everything else.”

– Yaa Gyasi

I finished the book Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi on the plane and the timing of me reading this book could not have been better. The novel follows two branches of a family tree across several generations. Each chapter explores a moment of another family member, and subtly reveals how pain and heartache and sins and strengths and resilience were passed down the line for years and years.

This book is important. So important. Not only was it really well written, but its themes were so important to both personal experiences and current events. One line of the family is brought from Asanteland into the United States via the slave trade while the other remains in modern-day Ghana. While the novel was fiction, the events that interfered and oppressed many of the characters on both sides were so unjust they’d make you angry. At the same time, the delicate strands of relationships, often estranged ones, that connected people to each other were undeniably beautiful.

This wasn’t a perfect book, but its mild flaws are totally forgivable in light of its importance. Midway through, I began to tire of the formula it had followed for 200 pages. Then I hit the chapter about “Yaw.” It was the one I connected with best, and the last chapters were especially beautiful and powerful.

I value knowing where you came from, but for many minorities and other cultures, that can be a painful knowledge. And a beautiful one at the same time.

#209 Laudato Si

27 July 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

The universe unfolds in God, who fills it completely. Hence, there is a mystical meaning to be found in a leaf, in a mountain trail, in a dewdrop, in a poor person’s face. The ideal is not only to pass from the exterior to the interior to discover the action of God in the soul, but also to discover God in all things. Saint Bonaventure teaches us that “contemplation deepens the more we feel the working of God’s grace within our hearts, and the better we learn to encounter God in creatures outside ourselves.”

–Pope Francis

I’ll be honest, I’m quite partial to Pope Francis and I’ve been hoping to read his encyclical on climate change for quite some time.

I’ve never read an encyclical from any Pope before, so I don’t know how it compares to other writings that precede it, but I do think it explained the rationale for a spiritual motivation to care for the earth really well and to step beyond throwaway culture and the worship of exclusively technological solutions.

#210 Sauerkraut

28 July 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

Still trying to get my yearlong cooking project back on track… I’ve got some fairly simple summer recipes for drinks and appetizers coming up though, so I think we’re getting there!

Tonight I tried to make some sauerkraut. Cabbage and onion and a surprise ingredient– beer! I guess the yeast helps with the curing of the dish.

Special guest beer appearance by a McMennamin’s Wheat!

#211 Toy Story in the Park

29 July 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

Deanna and I spent our evening in the park trying to watch a movie under the stars… or we tried to at least.

Beignet couldn’t really handle all the stimulation.

But we also did get some Five Guys… and we made it as far as Sid’s first appearance.

#212 Crater Lake

30 July 2016 // Crater Lake, Oregon

Checked off another wonder of Oregon… and the one that I’ve been trying to visit for over five years. Crater Lake.

When I studied in Argentina during college, I remember my roommate told me that Crater Lake was the most beautiful place he’s ever been. He lived in Washington, so I figured his standards were pretty high. And all the pictures and everything I saw since seemed to confirm. That Blue.

I was surprised to find that Crater Lake was a national park seemingly more meant for a day visit. Driving the rim was gorgeous and pretty easy, and Deanna, Beignet, and I had a great time. We also got to explore some of Roseburg on our way back and now we have so many more places we’d want to eat.