We have many goals for this trip – getting away from our day-to-day lives for a little perspective, exposing Greta to the incredible variety of places, people and possible lives in this country, eating great barbecue, etc. But a really important one is the chance to reconnect with old friends whom we often haven’t seen in many years, and to see what their lives are like now.
Josh and Laura were grad students at the UO early in this millennium, when Josh was in my housing thesis studio. After graduation they returned to their native Minnesota, and they now live in a lively neighborhood in St. Paul. Laura works for Target as an in-house architect, and Josh combines a wide range of activities in his work, collaborating with other architects on projects, producing extraordinary woodcuts, or doing his own design/build work, at both the architectural and furniture scales (at Crows Nest Design).. They live in a cool old house in a state of constant renovation that will be familiar to most architects.
We’d never met their two great kids – Ike and Thea – before, but had followed their lives from the beginning on Facebook, which was remarkably effective – they didn’t feel like strangers when we arrived. Greta had a wonderful time with them (after being cooped up alone in a little trailer with her dad for a week and a half) – Greta and Ike talked a lot about their writing and reviewed each other’s work, and Greta lost chess games to Thea.
We’re planning on a lot of driveway-camping on this trip, but on this small urban lot, they don’t have a driveway. So Josh asked the adjacent college students for the use of their spot on the alley, and given my cat allergies, I slept in the trailer in my first foray into urban camping, while Greta slept in the house, happily cuddling up with the cats.
A great visit in a great city (or two), and many thanks to all the Capistrants for being such wonderful friends and hosts!