When my college friends told me that they are coming to Oregon for our 2017 Reunion. I thought they were teasing. Who wants to come to Oregon and what can they do in Oregon (as my Oregonian friends said)? As far as I know, there have not been tourist itineraries (other than wine tasting and sport-driven excursions) established and Oregon Tourist Bureau provides no help. Other than beautiful scenery, what else this rugged state can offer? I felt like given a photography project to create something interesting from a plain subject (no extensive history, no splendid architecture and no renown restaurants etc. tourist attractions). Besides, most of my friends are world travelers and what would interest them among everything they have seen?It is challenging, but the challenge is where the fun sprouted from.
My husband and I mapped out the itinerary and calculated the driving distance using Google Map before the preliminary itinerary was established. Then we began to explore the places in the itinerary, check out the restaurants I researched or recommended by our friends, and we made our ways to various hiking spots at the coast. If not for the organization of this reunion, I would not think to try these restaurants and so glad that we did. We have hiked in many places, but coastal trails are still quite new to us. This reunion brought us the opportunities to access various trails and explore many amazing views otherwise we would not even know of. The preparation period is long and there are endless details to be worked on, continuously, However, I have not known Oregon as much as I do now.
We have total 32 people in the group, 13 husbands including MD’s (three of them), Chemist, Professor, High Tech engineers, Business developers and humanity specialist. Almost all my classmates have obtained their master degrees here in the States and their husbands, many Ph.D.’s with their unique talent. It’s inspiring to be around this elite group of people who are not only extraordinary intelligent, they are humble, profound and thoughtful. Besides, they are not the stereo Asian book-worm type that you may have in mind, they are active, fun and energetic.
The fitness level of this group of people is impressive, and I know most of them are not gym goers. There are thousand years of Chinese health maintenance tips and secrets available to utilize and the results are far superior to what you can get from a trainer at the gym. I was inspired to try Ba-Duan-Jin (a very effective Chinese qigong) in one of our reunions and I have practiced since. It is so simple and yet so effective.
Hanging out with my friends reminds me of my unique cultural background, and make me appreciate more for being part of it.
Going to places in Oregon, long distance drive is inevitable. Bus time can be lengthy and tedious, but I don’t recall that I ever felt tedious and dozed it off. We sang our Oldies and Goodies to remember our good old days. We had the experts in all fields take well-beings Q&A’s, we talked plain jokes and approached various subjects as inspired. Our tour guide certainly did not talk much, and nobody was hypnotized. All I saw are the sunshine and smiling faces. What the aging has done is only the seasoned humor, patience and wisdom. The comradery in youth and the harmonious accord are carried on to this day. Youth friendship is invaluable.
I planned a bake-your-own-pizza night and cook-your-own dinner while we stayed at a beach rental house with 14 rooms on three levels. Hot pizzas were freshly baked out of the three ovens at the house, yummy. The dinner preparation on the second night turned out to be a blast. We whipped a delicious dinner in about 45 minutes with more-than-enough help we had between men and women. Our chef team cooked the salmon as our main dish. The helpers chopped garlic, made the salad, sliced bread, fetched utensils and shoveled tablewares from one floor to the other…
I have had the same salmon and cooked it the same way for years, but I have not felt they tasted so good as what I had that night. How often in our lifetime that we can enjoy a good meal with our old youth friends, a whole group of them. It’s the people, the chit-chat, the giggle and the nostalgia that orchestrated the whole concert.
Originally we had a beach party night planned, but the wind was blowing so hard that the camp fire idea became in-executable. Without that cozy flame, the sunset was a bit shy creating that ambiance that I’d envisioned. No beach party? Fine, I knew then our entertainment team was up to something else… and before I slowly figured it out, I saw the furniture being moved to be close to the walls and a large space was created on the mid floor. Music was on, and the first dance parties were on the floor. A line dance crew launched the opening of our indoor party.
The radiance of the golden sunset shone through the windows that outlined the silhouette of the dancers. The designs were continually transformed through the movement of the dancers, and they looked very appealing to me. I planned to take lots of reunion pictures, but I ended up with very limited images. I seemed often occupied doing something else. These pictures are my favorite though the exposure quality is not there.
I have posted some landscape pictures (don’t intend to repeat in this blog), but this one with layers of mountains particularly in black and white reminds me of Chinese brush paintings…
The reunion came to an end after seven days of excursion. Friends are very considerate to repeatedly express their sincere appreciation and assure me how much they have enjoyed the trip. I am relieved to finally turn in a finished project and realize that Oregon does have something to offer besides being praised as ‘Photographer’s Heaven’. I am grateful that I was given this opportunity to serve and offer what I know as a local resident. I am content knowing my friends had a good time and truly enjoyed Oregon. However, it is even better if we had a more professional and responsible tour guide and we did not miss several important spots in my plan… Remember? I am a perfectionist. Let go? I will see to it, maybe some day.