By the way, I’m moving to Japan


News staff writer

June 24, 2006

A recent listing in the Hood River News classifieds read, “Hood River/Tsuruta Sister City Committee is looking for a new Coordinator of International Relations Director. You need to be a Hood River resident, have a bachelor’s degree, be able to live in Tsuruta for at least one year, be able to work as a team player and have interest in and like children.”

A month later, a new position was listed; “The Hood River News, a twice-weekly community newspaper serving Hood River County in the heart of the beautiful Columbia River Gorge, has an opening for a sports reporter ... Application deadline is June 21 for the position to start in mid July.”

My last day at the Hood River News will be in about a month. My last day in town, and in the country, will be about a week later.

I love Hood River, and my job as the sports editor in such an active and lively community. I remember, during my days at Hood River Valley High School, seeing the former sports reporter on the sidelines and wishing someday I could have his job. That wish came true in May of 2005, and it will end a little more than a year later as another, more grand wish of mine comes true: to travel the world.

Specifically, I am moving to Tsuruta, Japan, next month, where I will live for at least one year and work for the City Office of Tsuruta as the Coordinator of International Relations Director. Much of my duties will entail teaching English to children and city employees. I will also be responsible for helping coordinate sister city exchange programs and activities between Hood River and Tsuruta.

Other than that, I have no idea what I’m getting myself into. And to me ... that’s the greatest part.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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