On starting up the blog again, moving to the east side and eating donuts…

We sold our house in three days. To say I was in a tiny bit of shock is something of an understatement. We knew that the market in Portland was “hot” but after our experience selling our house in Virginia – over two years and counting! – I was very much sitting in the pessimistic camp. A quick and painless sale necessitated the finding of a temporary home. We’d made the commitment to the girls that they could finish out the school year before we hit the cRoad for our last big travel adventure. Thanks to Craig’s List we found a renovated apartment in a gracious old home in the Richmond neighborhood on the east side of Portland.

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At home amongst the trees and flowers on the east side…

We Westies were not unfamiliar with life across the river. There’s much to love about crossing one of the twelve bridges that span the Willamette, and give Portland one of its nicknames – Bridgetown. More often than not, our bridge crossings were motivated by food. There is no denying that Portland is a food lover’s paradise and the east side is where it’s all happening. We follow a Portland eating guide which routinely publishes a list of what they deem “essential” Portland restaurants. A quick glance at the April list highlights eight restaurants in the west and thirty on the east side. So a move to the east has put us right in the center of foodie heaven.

One of the foodie trends that Portland is known for is donuts. There are many places to find donuts in Portland – even vegan ones. Probably the two key players in the donut game here are Voodoo and Blue Star. Voodoo donuts are quirky, fun and even a little risqué – fancy a cock-n-balls donut? They are a big hit with tourists and you’ll often see people in line at the airport clutching the distinctive pink and black Voodoo box. Gourmet is the word most often used to describe Blue Star donuts and they are the donut of choice for the Croads.  Fortuitously, our move has put us within walking distance of our doughnut fix.

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Olive is particularly happy about this turn of events…

Last Friday was national donut day – yes, that is a thing – so what could we do but wander down the road and honor the Salvation Army “lassies” who served donuts to soldiers during World War One.

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Spot the attempt at stylish food photography…
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That’s a test tube of cointreau in the creme brulee donut on the right…
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Olive wishes every day was donut day…

And that is where I will leave it, for my first post in close to two years!! Nice to know I haven’t forgotten how this blogging business works…until next time…

 

 

Hello…my name is Christina Croad and I used to write a blog!

So it’s been over two months since I was last here. Two months in which I have really struggled. And for some reason I always shy away from the one thing that often helps me in hard times – writing. If I’m completely honest too I do fall into the trap of wanting to portray a very shiny happy image of life here. Many people articulate that they wish they could have a similar opportunity or words to the effect of how lucky we are to have the opportunity to live overseas, so I always feel like I’m moaning if I’m not Pollyanna all the time!

Just in case you'd forgotten what I look like - at Lost River for Richard's birthday in January.
Just in case you’d forgotten what I look like – at Lost River for Richard’s birthday in January.

I completely underestimated how much I’d been looking forward to going back to New Zealand at Christmastime, how good it was to be in the company of my family and friends who have known me for a long time, how nice it was to just physically be in my home country. Coming back to Winchester was a huge jolt and the terrible winter we’ve had did not help one bit. I can officially say I am totally over snow! My daughters on the other hand have found a new calling…

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In the midst of it all I started my next paper, which has been going well, and I have started a very small job. I’m working at a local preschool with 2 to 3 year olds. It’s only four hours per day, four days per week so it fits in very well with the girls and my study. I’m not sure whether it will continue once we get to the end of the school year in June but I wanted to give it a go. Because of all the snow days I’ve only worked for two days but so far so good 🙂

Richard heads off to Belgium this afternoon, back next Thursday in time for us to catch Sting and Paul Simon in concert in DC. One of those experiences which we could have only had by being here so I will finish with that positive note!

Take care everyone. Hope you are all well and big happy birthday to Molly and James – thinking of you lots and sending lots of birthday wishes xxx

Missing

I received an email earlier this week from a dear friend in New Zealand. I’m sure she won’t mind me revealing these details – the subject line read “Where are you?” and the first six words of the message read “Dear Chrissy, I’m missing your blogs”.

It’s been about four weeks since I’ve written and yes I’ve been busy with the girls being home from school but I’ve also been struggling a bit…I’ve been “missing”.  Missing my family; missing New Zealand; missing Antwerp; missing my friends in New Zealand and Belgium; and missing who I was before I became a parent.

At times like this I tend to retreat from the keyboard, perhaps not wanting to shatter the illusion of the super exciting expat life. Don’t get me wrong. there are so many wonderful things about this life we are living but there are also times when, simply put, it sucks!

My friend’s lovely email was a good reminder of what is to me the best thing about writing the blog – how it keeps me connected to all those people that I miss. I get a great deal out of writing these posts, but the email reminded me that my readers get something out of it too.

So unfortunately I don’t have a post all about our week at the beach in South Carolina…but if you click on the link to my Flickr photos you will find lots of pics – all with captions.

And here’s a sneak peek at my new project about which I promise to write more soon…

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Take care everyone. Sending lots of love xxx

Gatecrasher

Ok todays unofficial guest blogger – actually crashing Chrissy’s blog – is her husband!
I figured seeing as she had such a generous PDA ( public display of affection) come my birthday, it was only fair that I should post on her birthday.
I can happily report that we have just had a fabulous weekend, which I expect Chrissy will have blogged on by the time I get this up.,and indeed I will leave it to Chrissy to describe the Weekend , though the highlight was indeed her getting underway as a skier and now owning more ski pants than I do!

What I hope to do here is confirm what many of you know, many others will have suspected and others like me will have felt it almost from the first meeting.

There’s something about Chrissy.

Fortunately, not exactly from when we first met, but more particularly from when we first met and something was possible we recognized in each other an amazing and implausible possibility, which 8 years later we continue to bring to life. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I thought Chrissy was beautiful when we first met and without a doubt I can confirm she is.

In my 1st draft I had a very long list of attributes, I then decided I didn’t need to illuminate anyone. Her family, her friends and her casual acquaintances will all know and understand what I mean.

What I have learnt most from Chrissy is that it is not sufficient to understand someone, you must both understand and accept.

If you think you understand and yet don’t accept the person as they are, you only invite constant disappointment – the picture in your mind never matches the reality before you,and each becomes disillusioned with the other.

To accept someone you do understand is to embrace all that they are and be there when they feel a little less and be there also when they want to be a little more. To accept that their imperfections makes them who they are as much as their ‘perfections’. To enjoy the constantly evolving picture. To be patient, to always see the light and not simply let it flicker but to always believe and encourage that it burns warmly within.

I assure you all I am a constant work in progress and Chrissy has been there for me always. We accept each other fully for who we are – I couldn’t ask for more.

So here is to Chrissy, a great big happy birthday and a special wish.

May all your dreams come true, as they will – everything is possible, and you’ve shown that, may your glow continue to warm you and those around you.

Edie and Olive love you completely…and more than anything I love it when you smile

Richard