Nanako's Visit

Trip Start Feb 28, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Utah
Friday, September 18, 2009

   I was so happy when Nanako decided that she was going to come visit.  We met in 1998 when she moved into the dorm at COCC- and we became friends quickly and decided that we were going to live together the next year.  During the 98-99 school year we were roommates in the CUTEST house on the west side of Bend, OR near downtown.  Anyway, that was my last year in Bend, then I transfered to UM in Missoula and she was in Bend one more year then went back to Japan.  When I was going to school in Tokyo we saw each other quite a bit (she lived just about an hour outside the city) and we even saw each other a few times when I was teaching English near Kyoto.  But this was the first time that we'd hung out in the US since Bend- it was so much fun!!!
  Nanako flew into Salt Lake City on the night of the 18th- Silas and I both worked that day and then drove up to meet her.  We checked into our semi-ghetto motel near downtown, then went to the airport to pick her up.  On the drive up to SLC I had been having Silas practice his self introduction in Japanese.  Here's the English translation... 'It's nice to meet you, my name is Silas.  I always have room for hot dogs.' (He already knew most of it, but we were adding a little more to it) I was begging him to say it to Nanako when we met her at the airport.  I really wasn't sure if he was going to do it or not.  I knew Nanako would love it and I kept telling him that, but he kept saying that he was too embarrassed. 
  Well, when Nanako got there and we were standing at baggage claim waiting for her suticase he said it!  She laughed SO hard, she thought it was really funny and I was really proud of Silas for saying it!
  When we got back to the hotel we were all exhausted, but also excited!  Nanako broke out some of the Japanese snacks she had brought for us... I was SO, SO happy to have all my old favorite Japanese treats!
  The next day the plan was to drive back to Monticello with a stop in Moab to go to Arches National Park so we got an early start.  I don't really like the landscape between SLC and Moab very much, but it was fall and the leaves were starting to change, so it was actually much prettier than usual.  Nanako was really enjoying it, and as we got closer and closer to Moab she seemed to get more excited.  We went to Arches and Nanko loved it.  It was a really nice time of day- we got through most of it and then were able to watch the sunset from one of the overlooks- it was really nice.  After that we went to Pasta Jay's for some delicious pizza (Jay's Roman Orgy- our favorite!) and pasta before heading home to Monticello.  
  On Friday we did a big loop from Monticello to Hovenweep then down to Monument Valley.  Watching the sun set at Monument Valley was definitely the high point of the day- the sun was setting behind us and we were watching the colors of the sky changing with lightning behind the rock formations- I never knew Nanako was so into nature, but she was loving getting to watch the lightning and sunsets and stars.  SE Utah is definitely a good place for all those things.  Shopping...not so much.  But luckily she was prepared for that- I really made a point of telling her ahead of time that, 'We live in the middle of nowhere!'
  After sunset at Monument Valley we headed back to Monticello with a dinner stop at the San Juan River Kitchen in Bluff- delicious as always- LOVE that place!
  On Saturday we decided to go to Canyonlands and camp for the night.  We headed up there (we were going to the Island in the Sky area near Moab) in the afternoon and again watched the sunset from the overlooks.  The campground was full, so we wer thinking that we would head back to Moab and try some of the BLM campgrounds along the Colorado River, but on the way back, just after leaving the park, we saw another BLM campground and found a site so we stayed there.  We made a fire and got dinner going and just sat around the fire and chatted.  We had also brought smores fixings- I think I was the one who introduced Nanako to this American tradition back when we were in Bend.  Delicious!! 
  After we finished eating the wind really started to pick up and we could see lightning in the distance, so we decided it was time to turn in for the night.  Nanako slept in the back of the car and Silas and I were in the tent, but we had walkie-talkies that we talked on a little bit until we fell asleep. 
  The next morning Nanako and I got up in time to watch the sunrise and Silas got up soon after.  We made some coffee, but decided that we would just head back to Moab for breakfast.  Nanako and I always liked going to coffee shops together, so I really wanted to take her to one of my favorite places in Moab- Eklecticafe.  We had a nice breakfast there, shopped in Moab a little, and then headed back to Monticello.
  On Monday Silas had to go back to work, but Nanako and I did laundry (found out she LOVES doing laundry at laundromats!?!) and then went to the Needles district of Canyonlands which is near Monticello.  We were just trying to take it easy because we were planning on leaving early the next morning for SLC.  
  Nanako and I left at about 7AM and got to our motel (same semi-ghetto place) at about noon.  We had lots of shopping planned, so we got right to it.  Actually, we had already made a stop at Target before we got to the hotel and Nanako was already wondering how she was going to fit everything in her suitcase!  Part of the reason I chose that motel was because it was really close to an outdoor shopping mall that had all the places Nanako wanted to go; Victoria's Secret, Bath and Body Works, and...some other palce that I can't remember now.
  We shopped...ate...shopped some more...ate some more, then headed back to the motel.  Nanako's flight was leaving at like 6AM, so we were going to the airport at like 4AM so we tried to go to bed early. 
  It was sad to say goodbye to Nanako, but I'm SO happy she was able to come visit!  It was really nice to get to see her again, and I was really happy that she was finally getting to meet Silas. 
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