The ones of people that regularly read this blog likely are aware that I have a film camera to take most photos these days. That isn’t saying a lot really, I don’t actually take that many photos nor is my heart quite in it the same way it was back in university days. That said, I wanted to post a few random photos from the past few years as I just recently FINALLY was able to go through and scan my film photos from our time living in the UK.
The photos from Japan I actually have had on Flickr for about a year now – there was a photo store in the mall in Koryo ( エコール マミ ) called Kitamura and I was able to cheaply get all of my film developed there. When I moved to York, I had a few last rolls of film from Japan to develop and there was York Camera Mart that was great. Unfortunately because of covid, I wasn’t able to developed most of the film I shot in the York so ended up developing the rest of it in San Jose when I moved out to California (where we live now – Oakland!).
Anyway, here are some photos.
This photo is super high resolution. The full image is something like 150 “megapixels”, and is made of 6 or 7 scans put together. The photos is perhaps not that great, and it’s not some sort of great technical achievement or anything, but it is pretty cool printed out in a very large format.
I don’t get really really sad all that often, but last night and today I’ve been pretty bummed out. Last night, Sunday May 10th, Boris gave an update about measures and next steps being taken in the UK to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The tl;dr; for me is that the country is not opening up (much) again anytime in the near future. My family, who was planning to come for almost an entire month in June, will almost certainly not be coming (this already seemed fairly unlikely, but I was holding out up). Lindsay and I will more than likely not visit another restaurant, museum, coffee shop, library, or pub while living in this wonderful country. We won’t visit Ireland or Northern Ireland. People we are just really starting to get to know and form friendships with we likely won’t see again before we leave.
For the month of December Lindsay and I decided to take advantage of the long break Lindsay had from school between classes and the semi-flexible work schedule I have by spending (most of) the month “backpacking.” We actually JUST arrived home last night around 8:30PM.
I’d say the theme of this trip was “work a lot.” Honestly this isn’t a complaint or a problem, in a way this was a “bucket list” item for me – doing the “romantic” backpacker thing all while working a reasonably stressful and high-intensity full time job. In ways it’s a dream, because I could, in theory, continue to travel indefinitely like we did in December throughout Europe and live out of backpacks and hostels, seeing the world all while maintaining an income. I now at least have some idea of what that would feel like (as opposed to long term travel WITHOUT jobs, which of course is something we have a lot more experience with).
edit: After writing most of this blog post, I realized that I didn’t provide much context about why we’re moving to the UK. Long story short, while in Japan Lindsay decided that it was about time to get a masters degree. After months of researching different graduate programs, Lindsay narrowed it down to a program in Vermont at Marlboro College in Vermont, and the University of York in York, England. The University of York ended up feeling like a better fit for what Lindsay was looking for, so we decided that was the next place for us to move after Japan.
Back to the States
Moving home from Japan ended up being a fairly tiring endeavour, but we did it in two full days (a bit more really as we left on Saturday in Japan and had the benefit of gaining a number of hours on the way back to the States).
The past several YEARS of updates have often been written out of necessity (wanting to capture / record memories so we can look back and remember some details about the things we’ve done) more than because I had a strong urge to say something, and they’ve been long, and most importantly they’ve been very untimely.
But today, I wanted to do something slightly different and post an update as something is happening. As soon as I post this blog post, I will shut my laptop, go into the laundry area, unplug the SoftBank Hikari router and NTT fiber modem, put them in a pre-addressed box I have sitting next to me, walk to 15 minutes down the street to the post office, and send them back to their respective companies. Soon after that, the water company will come to our apartment and shut off the water. Then Lindsay will be coming home from her LAST day teaching English in Japan, saying her last goodbyes to teachers and friends at school. We’ll spend most of the rest of the evening finishing packing and cleaning. We’ll then sleep our very last night in our apartment in 広陵町, Japan, and tomorrow (likely after a morning trip to the local onsen and a final walk together through the rice fields behind our apartment) we’ll head to the Kansai International Airport (KIX) to start the long trip home.
About ten months ago Lindsay and I moved to Japan. Specifically a small(ish) town in the Kansai region, in Nara prefecture. The town name is Koryo, and has a population of roughly 35k. The town is roughly 30 minutes by train from Osaka, and around 45 minutes to Nara city. The other major-ish city that is nearby is Kashihara which is around 15 minutes to the East.
After we left Reykjavik, Lindsay and I spent about two weeks driving the “ring road” around Iceland. It was awesome, and really really beautiful. Rather than write another long book of a blog post about this time, I put together the little video above. Sorry, I know it’s pretty long, and you’ll tell I had to heavily rely on the only so-so software stabilization so there are a few wobbly bits of the video. Overall though the video shows a good chunk of the highlights from the trip / the main things.
There are some things that are not really captured in the video that I’d like to talk more about, but I told myself I’d post something before an entire year passes, so for now just a list of things:
For car camping, I actually sort of like the cozy camping that happens in a lot of the campgrounds we were in
The video is really pretty garbage but we took so many videos of driving / roads because the landscapes really are very insanely beautiful / awesome, and the video doesn’t capture it
Hot springs at campgrounds and Lindsay being told she talks funny by a really angry and aggressive and drunk local
Just how amazing the Skogar to Thorsmork (Skógar to Þórsmörk) hike was.
How many times I attempted to get photos of sheep but failed 100% of the time
How much better some of the photos we took are than the video, but I didn’t want to post photos in the videos
I didn’t show the photo of Lindsay’s amazing birthday dinner I cooked her after the hike (night of Skogar to Thorsmork). That day was one for the record books IMO
How when we left Iceland I was ready to get home, but since we’ve been gone I’ve realized how special and amazing it really is.
I think I’d go back to Iceland some day and re-do this exact trip, but maybe with a month or so of time, more reading, more hanging out in small towns, etc.
Lindsay and I decided this past year to spend a summer somewhere new / interesting, and after some debate and consideration, we decided on Iceland.
The decision to spend (ha?) the summer in Iceland was, as is often the case with us, decided in large part (and semi-ironically) based on cost. In particular the cost of the flight through Wow Air. This is a fairly well known “deal” at this point but basically Wow Air had ~$300ish dollar flights out of Toronto direct to Reykjavik. Lindsay and I had been talking about going to Iceland for a while, and when we saw the cheap-ish tickets within our reach we did a quick search on AirBnB to make sure that an apartment was somewhat affordable (we found a few single rooms for ~900-1000 for a month… which ended up all being “fake”, but more on that later) and just YOLOed and bought the ticket.
Well it’s been awhile since I’ve updated the ol’ blog. Over a year Over TWO years. So I’ll recap the past events, starting at the previous blog post:
We ate the ramen for dinner, and had some leftovers that we took to Lindsay’s house. The leftovers were perhaps more disappointing then the original meal. I have yet to attempt ramen again since this last attempt but recently have begun the search for bones to give it another shot.
Lindsay and I went apartment hunting and ended up finding a great apartment in Chicago. The apartment itself was perhaps a bit odd at times, and certainly rough around the edges (exposed insulation in areas, partially pained ceiling, walls that crumble when you touch them).
We moved to Chicago, Lindsay got a job at a great middle school, and I decided to start back at ID working remotely. We met a bunch of great new friends, including friends through a cooking community, and some very wonderful people we share the house / apartment with.
We decided to go to Austin, TX for a month during the summer (that’s where we are currently at – that’s where we were at when I started this blog post… which is sad, because that was the summer, and now it’s winter that’s where we were over a year ago. We’ve since moved to a different apartment in Chicago, and it’s now the end of the NEXT summer from when I started this blog post!!).
We ended up with rat issues in our apartment on Palmer St… we dealt with them for quite a few months, but eventually decided we should move. The rats were in the walls, and I would wake up often times in the middle of the night and pound on the walls to get them to be quiet. Also, the rats ate some of our clothing INSIDE of our bedroom, so at some point the rats were getting inside the apartment itself.
We ended up moving to a new wonderful apartment in the Avondale neighborhood of Chicago
That’s the basic life update for our own memories, but I’d like to spend a tiny bit more time writing about our time in Austin as it was a wonderful summer and I feel like it would be sad to not capture some of the memories from the trip for the future. Already many details are going to be lost, but I’m going to just take a stab at it, as they say. And by “they” I mean.
Well, a small break from the past year of travel style blog posts.
While traveling through Japan, Lindsay and I really fell in love with Ramen and decided that on the top of the “things to do when we’re home” bucket list we’d put “make real-ass ramen.” I want to take a second to point out that this was very much a team effort, though I may have spent a bit more time reading/researching/asking questions about what recipe to follow, which steps to follow, etc. But the point is, this was a team activity, even if I don’t write it up as such.