Subsitence

Meat and egg and cheese, wrapped in a shiny package, warmed and sold and consumed while hurtling through the sky at hundreds of miles per hour. Already on this trip we have achieved a hyper-awareness of food and its sources, because we are hunting and gathering our way around the globe in a very sophisticated yet primal manner.  With very little option to store food, we must find it as we need it, and inexpensively at that. It’s strange enough to be often surrounded by food we can no longer afford; it now strikes me as utterly absurd that a steaming sandwich can be found in the sky.  Luckily we had the free option to bring our own.

After the sandwiches come the electronics.  Count em’; between four people and myself we see 3 cell phones, 1 laptop, and 4 tablets:

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A week into the trip I’m sad to just now be starting to journal.  I fear that the honest emotion and thoughts experienced while perched on the precipice have already become tainted by time and memory.  I remember a whirlwind of action: of sorting and packing and farewells and using up of Groupons and eating rather terrible meals because that’s all that remained in our cupboards.  The actions seemed perfectly reasonable, but the trip somehow still surreal.

I recall how strange it seemed when our makeshift apartment was empty, save for the two piles of gear that wouldn’t have the luxury of time required to be properly packed.  I recall an unexpected sadness when I watched my Subaru drive off to storage, and an oddness when it was Vern and Yvonne depositing us at the inelegant Toledo train station.  It was all reasonable, but totally foreign.

The soft start to our trip has been ideal (and necessary) but has felt like cheating.  We have the challenges of living out of our backpacks, but with the luxury of real beds, familiar faces, and public (and even private!) transportation of which we can make sense.  And food.  We can glut on a heap of free deliciousness at least once a day thanks to the generosity of our friends, our favorite to date the Chinese New Year feast worthy of delaying a flight to Anchorage (a thank you to blizzard Nemo for keeping us trapped in heaven a few days longer).

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“Happy” is cauliflower soup and fresh salad and cheese and bring-your-own-wine accompanied by jovial friends and rapture-inducing live Gypsy Jazz:

Gypsy Jazz

“Happy” is a 10 course banquet of exquisite, succulent, authentic Chinese dishes prepared by the most delightful parents I’ve ever met and THEN witnessing them sing the Jasmine Flower Song with, of all people, Celine Dion (and, reportedly, the entire nation of China, though I’m skeptical about the TV reception in some rural villages. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1DFQkAsAmI if you’re really curious).

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“Happy” is exactly what we are daily doing.  There is a simplicity to our lives now that allows for a true appreciation of the moment.  And, for moments less than ideal, the understanding that it could be far, far worse.  And will be.

But not yet.

 

Surprise moment of the day:  a gift of Alaskan Amber in flight thanks to our marvelous, Gold Status seatmate Mike, a thoroughly fascinating Prudhoe Bay valve technician who must endure work in the cold without a beer in his system.