Archive for October, 2009

Summer Travels: Back in the USA

Following the China adventure, the California family said their goodbyes and dispersed: Ted stayed in Shanghai for work, Mom and E headed home to LA, and I flew to Norfolk, VA to meet the Ohio family who had road-tripped down. Together, my step-mom, 16 year old brother Justin (behind the wheel with his brand spanking new license), and Jason, Serina, and Spencer, my 11 year old triplet siblings, made our way down to the Outer Banks in North Carolina for a week of beach fun with family friends. Notable things include frisbeeing in thunderstorms, boogie boarding with dolphins, whooping my brother in Rummy, and successfully completing the “5 Gallons of Milk in 2 Days” challenge.

Next, we drove up to Williamsport, MD to visit our uncles, aunt, and grandpa. We received a tour of the family farms, had a delicious Olive Garden dinner, and a momentous brunch and tour of Uncle Rob and Jerry’s manson.

To Uncle Doug and Aunt Lynn - I'm still on the hunt for train postcards. To Jerry - Comment away, and replies shall quic-... eventually follow.

Next, back to Mason, OH for a week of family bonding. There, I bought American-sized shoes, went on a blind date set up by my step-mom’s friend (a self-proclaimed yenta), took advantage of the newly-finished basement, complete with big-screen TV and Rock Band, but careful to avoid the couch where the triplets videotaped my brother and then-girlfriend’s make-out session, and generally enjoyed time with the family and, of course, home-cooked meals.

Following Ohio, I road-tripped down the East Coast visiting friends and family. First stop was Pittsburgh, PA to see my grandpa and great-aunt. Pop pop, from whom I definitely inherited my frugality, carved me a ham sandwich from a 10 lb. ham he bought at the store, because “it was cheaper per pound than the 2 lb. one.” Next stop was Washington DC, where many of my friends moved after graduation. I got a personal tour of the Mall by Molly, ate giant burgers with MIke, Will, and Bob, and discussed apartment paint aesthetics with Carrie and Brenan. After DC was Charlottesville, VA, where I wandered around UVa, my alma mater, feeling old and young at the same time. There I reunited with Edward and Keith, and the three of us rolled through the night to Atlantic Beach, NC, arriving around 2 AM to surprise everyone at Papa’s Palace, our friend Janny’s family beach house. Since our first year in college, we have gathered annually at Papa’s for a week of beach and beer. Since this was our first year after graduation, with everyone scattered far and wide, it was unclear whether our reunion of sea and shots would remain. Amazingly, everyone returned, making me think even our great-grandchildren will continue the tradition of brine and booze. Big events of Papa’s Palace 2009 included the inventions of The Sneak Beer and a drinking game involving cucumbers, swords, Quetzals, and DRANK. I also made a trip down to Wrightsville Beach for intense Apple to Apple action with Diana and the Van Vleet siblings. Finished my East Coast circuit back in Ohio, had my final delicious home-cooked meal, and flew back to Japan. Whew!

Although I didn’t take many pictures while I was back home, I risked running off the road while fumbling for my camera to snap these, which I know Ted will appreciate.

Fins to the left!

Fins to the right!

And a couple headed to the Land of the Rising Sun.

And those are my summer travels!

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Correction: Through the Eyes of E…and Only E

During my last Skype session with the family, Elizabeth made it very clear that she was the sole author of the China journal. She wrote in the third person because she’s professional like that.