Hello everyone! Well, it’s been a long time – we’ve finished our year long bicycle tour and have been back in the United States, living in Seattle, for a year and a half now. Time flies. Erck.org is basically going to go into official retirement, but I’m starting a new blog at http://seattlefarmette.wordpress.com to follow us through a more hum drum type of lifestyle, so if you still want to see what we’re doing even though it no longer involves bicycles, come on over!
We’ve enjoyed the process of getting acclimated and settled into a more “normal” lifestyle, for the most part. Here’s a brief update of what we’ve been doing over the past 18 months, including a sneak preview to our biggest news:
Living in Seattle, WA
We decided to return to the city we lived in before the trip. When we left Seattle back in November 2006 we thought we might never return. We were considering a move to Austin TX, Minneapolis MN, Raleigh NC, Fargo ND, etc, etc. When we re-entered the US in November 2007 we still hadn’t decided on where to live! We spent a few weeks with each of our families while we explored our job opportunities and tried to figure out what we should do. In the end, the pull of an established group of friends, plus an interesting job opportunity for Sarah, pulled us back to Seattle. We do love it here, but we’re still not sure if we want to stay here forever…
I am working for a small Business Intelligence company called Piraeus Data as their Director of Business Development . The company was started by two of my friends & colleagues from Microsoft. In fact, one of them (Sean) even met up with James & I during our visit to Croatia! I started talking to them about potential work when we arrived back in the US, and finally decided that the opportunity to help build a small consulting company would be an interesting experience and a great fit for me.
James is working as a Software Developer, but he decided not to go back to Microsoft. He’s currently working for a small company called Articulate. There’s one interesting twist – the entire company works from home offices, spread out across the country!
We have been renting a house with a backyard & garden in the West Seattle neighborhood of Seattle for the past year. We’ve had a lot of fun painting the house, planting the garden, and various other domestic chores. It’s good to feel settled after a year on the road. We were sickened by the amount of money we had to spend during the first year buying basic things to fill our house with: Couch, Bed, Dresser, Pots & Pans, Dishes, etc, etc. Somehow James convinced me to splurge and buy a giant flat screen TV (which I totally regret doing). On the other hand, I convinced James to buy a fancy new off-white couch that’s not very comfortable, which he regrets now (and I only sort of do). Luckily we were able to get the majority of our things from craigslist & by scrounging through neighbors’ curbside garbage piles.
Here’s our backyard & garden – one of the very best parts about living in a house!!
Right after moving into our new house with a big backyard, we got a puppy! We have been wanting to do this for a long time and are finally in a situation where it makes sense. We have a house, a yard, and James works from home. One of our ongoing conversations during our bicycle tour was what kind of dog we should get. We went back and forth, naming breeds and vetoing each others, until we named a breed we agreed on. James wanted Doberman, Sarah wanted Boxer, James wanted German Shepherd, Sarah wanted French Bulldog…we reached a compromise at Great Dane! When it came time to actually go dog shopping, we actually decided to go to the Humane Society first to look for a puppy. We didn’t have much luck – Seattle area dogs tended to be a mish mash of breeds we didn’t really want to own as our first dog: Pit Bull, Border Collie, etc. So then we decided to actually put the Great Dane plan into action, began researching breeders, and ended up with our new baby – Greta!
Jamie & Greta:
Sarah & Greta on the couch:
Greta at 18 months:
Another thing we decided to do with our new backyard was to get chickens! We couldn’t believe it when we heard that in the city of Seattle people can keep up to three chickens in their backyards. We spent last summer building a chicken coop from scratch (what an endeavor), and then got our three newest pets in the fall of 2008. Agnes, Dora, and Betsy have been endlessly entertaining. We let them free range in our backyard, feed them fruit and vegetable scraps, and they supply us with fertilizer and three eggs each day.
Sarah with new chicken Agnes & newly built coop behind us:
Most of our friends and family can’t believe we actually got chickens for our backyard. I think after cycling through Asia & Eastern Europe and seeing how common it was for people to keep free range chickens the idea became much less shocking and foreign to us, and we started to see it as a fun little side project with free entertainment (chickens are so funny!) and free food (eggs!)
This is the biggest news of all! We’re going to have a baby boy, due on October 7th 2009. We can’t quite wrap our heads around it. October is going to be a busy month for us: James’s birthday, our wedding anniversary, and now the baby’s birthday.
Here I am at seven months:
I’m feeling great so far – no morning sickness, a brief period of cravings for hamburgers (which I have never liked before now!), and a baby that is starting to kick like crazy. He seems to wake up at 10pm every night and go nuts…we’re getting worried that we’re going to have a night owl on our hands. Now that we feel like we have something exciting happening in our lives we’re going to try to get back into the swing of this blog. Stay tuned!