Happy New Year all! We hope everyone had a great end to 2018 and are looking forward to an even brighter 2019.
Kendall and I have been in northern Vietnam for about a week enjoying the (much much) colder weather and new scenery. We spent our first day in busy and bustling Hanoi where we wandered the holiday themed streets, received slightly questionable $2 haircuts, and had our first taste of authentic Vietnamese food (so much delicious Pho). We opted for a cozy night in and decorated our hostel bunk with holiday decor complete with hot cocoa and a Christmas movie. It was a nice change of pace and set the holiday mood.
Deciding we have had enough of big cities and eager to see my friend Scott from Peace Corps, we traveled to a much smaller city on the coast called Hai Phòng. Some of you may know this area as it was an important strategic port during the Vietnam War. It is interesting to note here some generational differences I’ve observed, particularly when talking about Vietnam to family and friends back home. For generations preceding my own, the name Vietnam may conjure images and memories of a long and gruesome war, and a nation-dividing one at that. But for my own generation, this memory is often secondary, thinking instead primarily of good food, cheap travel and beautiful scenery. It is sometimes difficult to reconcile these two almost opposing generational viewpoints, but I can only hope that as time moves forward the memories of brutality fade and we are left remembering lessons learned and a sense of unity.
Our first week in Vietnam has been an adventure to say the least. After meeting up with Scott we rented a motorbike and have been exploring Hai Phòng and a neighboring island called Cat Ba. Our motorbike skills have greatly improved in the last week but I think I still prefer my trusty pedal bike, which I’m sure my mom will be glad to hear. Scott has been living in Vietnam for over a year teaching English and has been a great guide for us on the trip. He recommended we all bike out to the beautiful Cat Ba island where we climbed up the highest “mountain” (875 feet above sea level), explored a massive cave, went rock climbing, and rang in the new year at a homestay in a small village. It has been a most relaxing week and a great way to welcome 2019.
As we say hello to a new year, I always enjoy looking back on the last 12 months to remember all we were lucky enough to experience. The year was a full one to say the least! Some of our favorite highlights include hiking the 93 mile Wonderland trail, Kendall visiting Gardnerville for the first time, seeing Dave Matthews Band 5 times (yes 5), climbing Mount Saint Helens, enjoying many a brews with good friends, watching the Mariners have another typical season, celebrating several weddings, reveling in another Husky Apple Cup victory, and of course setting out on our world travels. It’s been quite the year indeed!
I’m not one who much enjoys New Years resolutions as I think any time of year is a good time to make goals and lifestyles changes, but today Kendall and I talked about what we’d like 2019 to look like. In hopes that making these thoughts and ideas public will keep the fire under our feet lit, here are a few goals we have for the coming year:
⁃ Climb a 5.10 rated rock climb outside, be a reliable lead climber and climb a multi pitch route
⁃ Reduce screen time and read more books
⁃ Hike around another PNW volcano and finish the next section of the Pacific Crest Trail
⁃ Only use public transportation or a bike in the city
⁃ Return to a weight lifting routine
⁃ Get into grad school
⁃ Be more intentional about strengthening community back in Seattle
⁃ Find a job that allows for mental challenge as well as outdoor time
⁃ Set a personal best time in the 10k
⁃ Explore a creative hobby
⁃ Grow more of my own food
Wishing everyone a very happy New Year!
Until next time,
T & K