Between stops on this research trip, I planned a few days in Portland, Oregon. My extended family is from Portland, and I used to visit every few years. Growing up, I always believed I’d wind up living in Oregon. Still for me, there is a sense of coming home when I go to the Pacific Northwest. My body relaxes into belonging.
On this visit, I stayed at my great-aunt and uncle’s house on the hillside. I love this house — its energy and views and the way it admits daylight. I wish I reserved the word love for places like this one.
I’ve learned on this research trip how important these few days of reflection can be. For the most part, my research has been conducted on this trip at a pretty relentless pace. In between Seattle and Japan, these few days in my great-uncle’s study overlooking the trees gave me an opportunity to gather my thoughts, to process information and impressions.
It felt right to do so in this space that belonged to my great-aunt and uncle, who had their own connections to both Japan and Seattle. In the sunlit quiet of their living room, I looked through their 1930s jazz records, poured tea from their Japanese teapot. It felt good to be connected with them across time through these shared spaces.