Wish they all could be…

…California girls. You know the song by The Beach Boys…it was playing as Aaron picked me up at the airport. So sweet, but now I can’t get it out of my head.

The move to San Francisco was hectic, yet amazing at the same time. It began with a wedding in Washington and ended with a wedding in California. My college roommate, Jessica, was married at Deception Pass in August. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and surprisingly warm.

Then my one way flight to San Francisco. Hello fog.

Followed by a trip to Santa Barbara for my friend Ileana’s wedding. A great introduction to California living.

And now we’re settling into life in San Francisco. I’m enjoying making new friends, eating my way across the city, and exploring the many beautiful parks in the Bay Area.

Much more to come in California…

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Day Hike at Palouse Falls

The Palouse Falls is a hidden gem in the middle of farm country. You’d never know it was there unless looking for it. The Missoula Floods carved the falls and other geographical features in Washington. During the last ice age a glacier blocked a river in Montana and when the ice receded the water flooded across Idaho and Washington at a force that’s hard to imagine. It happened over and over, cutting huge swaths in the land. That’s why there are random large boulders in the middle of barren land in the eastern part of the state.

On the drive to Palouse Falls Aaron and I made a detour to see the wind farm he helped develop when he worked at Puget Sound Energy.  It’s impressive.

Panama Trip

Life has finally slowed down enough that I can write about my recent trip to Panama. In a word, it was AMAZING! My fiance, Aaron, and I went on the 12-day backpacking trip in honor of his big 3-0.

The country is beautiful, the people are friendly and there’s nothing like travel to re-energize your soul. The pictures really speak for themselves. During the trip we met some lovely Canadian and Irish backpackers, which was fortunate because in making friends we also picked up a Spanish translator. My Spanish leaves a bit to be desired, sorry Ms. Hoffer.

 We stayed in hostels, stopping in Panama City, David, Boquete, Bocas del Toro, and Santa Catalina. It rained on the Caribbean side of the country so we chased the sun back to the Pacific side. And let me tell you…our rented Toyota Yaris survived a beating.

While in Panama we witnessed some serious protests. The indigenous people of the Chiriqui Province blocked the highway with rocks and trees over a dispute of land rights. The issue of development in Panama is interesting. Their protests almost shut down half of the country because fuel for generators couldn’t be delivered. Even when I’m on vacation I come across stories to be told.

If you have the opportunity go see Panama now, resorts are developing along the coastlines and it won’t be long until it’s a completely different looking country.

Q&A with High School Students

I had a blast today helping a group of Spokane Valley high school students brainstorm for their class project. Ms. Hearrean’s math class is investigating the decision by city council to make the main road through the City of Spokane Valley into a one-way street. Known as the Appleway/Sprague couplet. The expensive project has upset many business owners who say they’ve been hurt financially by the change. We did an open discussion format where the students asked question about how to stay unbiased and where they should start.

What a great moment for reflection, for me, as a journalist. It reminded me how passionate I am about teaching. I feel a sense of duty to inform the public so they can make rational and educated decisions. Research both sides of the argument and present it fairly. I told them if people can’t tell who’s side I’m on then I’ve done my job right. They seemed to appreciate the perspective and suggestions. For me, it just felt awesome to help jump start their project and it gave me an opportunity to remind myself why I do, what I do.

They had some other interesting questions, too. “Does your press pass get you into places for free?” Just the courthouse really…it looks cool, but doesn’t get me any perks. And they asked if local reporters are competitive with each other. I said, “Yes, just like anchorman without the brawl.” They laughed and invited me back to sit on the project review panel. I’m incredibly excited to see what they come up with in their investigation.