Thursday, July 7, 2011

Oregon--Day 1 & 2

We left around 4:30 PM on Friday to drive to Oregon. We were planning to drive to Boise or a little past that and then stop at a hotel for the night, then get up and finish the drive early Saturday morning. But Alfredo (who nearly always drives...we both prefer it that way) felt good and decided to just keep going. He did great until about an hour from his cousin's house in Madras, Oregon... but the last hour was brutal. We didn't arrive until after 4 AM. (So Alfredo only got about 4 hours of sleep that night. Poor guy. But he never did complain.) Oh, forgot to mention the "excitement" on the way... we pulled in for a stop in Twin Falls. Both Gabby and Ella had been complaining that they didn't feel good and we figured we'd take a break, walk around, and grab something to eat. Well, right as we parked, Gabby began throwing up...all over her clothes and her carseat. Clothes, no big deal... but car seat... GROSS! That clean up duty was not fun... Ella climbed out of the van and then promptly threw up... but at least she made it out of the van.

Anyway, we spent the night at Alfredo's cousin's (Suri's) house in Madras. Madras is a small farming town. Alfredo's cousin was so generous. She and her family live in a tiny 2 bedroom apartment...very tiny. Alfredo's aunt came with us so that she can visit her daughter Suri...(And his uncle rode on a bus from CA to meet us in Madras.) So Suri gave our family one bedroom and gave her mom and dad the other bedroom and they slept on the floor and couch. They really have so little but welcomed us into their home and fed us and were so kind to us. It was such a good reminder to me of how blessed I am. Our house is not huge and at times I wish for newer carpet, a garage or other things. But we have what we need plus a lot more. We are probably wealthier than 2/3 of the people who live on Earth...and yet often those with little are as good or better at giving to others, counting their blessings and recognizing what is truly important. I want to be better at feeling grateful for all that I have...and I will try to be more generous with what I have been given. I have noticed that those of hispanic cultures are often so very giving. You rarely go to their home without them offering you food and/or drinks. When we go to stay with Alfredo's family (or even friends)...they give up their bed for you to sleep on. Their hospitality far exceeds that of most Americans. Alfredo used to think I was rude when people came over...not that I tried to be but it doesn't come naturally to me to offer food and drinks to people just stopping by... but I've learned to be better and he's learned that is just a difference between hispanic and American culture. Now if I fail to offer drinks or food, he offers for me. :)

Anyway, back to Oregon. On Saturday, we went to the park, took naps, played with Suri's children, Iverson and Owen. Then that evening we drove to a huge park about 1/2 hour away to have a barbecue with an old friend of Suri's and Alfredo's. The kids ran and played and had a great time, we had a delicious barbecue and Alfredo was able to enjoy a nice visit with family and friends.

I had never been to Oregon before, and so I was surprised that so much of western Oregon was farmland... it looked a lot like Idaho. Not green like I had pictured it. The girls, particularly Gabby, really enjoyed seeing so many cows and horses and even some pigs and sheep and goats. Suri's husband, Roberto, works on a farm and we drove to the farm to take him lunch. Alfredo mooed at a cow that gave us all some pretty dirty looks. :) From the farm, you could see 3 tall, beautiful mountains (volcanoes we think?). One was Mount Hood...the others we're not sure about, but what a beautiful view!