1. Last week, I spent three days in my favorite part of the country: Seattle!
Suburban Seattle, for the most part, but Seattle-ish none the less. My grandparents live out there, along with the rest of my dad’s side of the family, and since my grandparents are getting quite old, I wanted to make a trip to visit them while I still had the chance. As it happened, my grandma ended up being in the hospital almost the entire time I was there (with hyponatremia of all things, which my fellow endurance athletes may recognize, though Grandma’s is due to her blood pressure medication, not overhydrating at aid stations 😛 ), so my timing ended up being a little odd and it certainly wasn’t much of a touristy vacation, but I got to spend a lot of time with my grandma and aunt (who are my only “official” relatives on my dad’s side of the family – everyone else is technically a step relative), and I was glad for the opportunity to see them. It was also just nice to get away from work and the office for awhile.
2. I did briefly make it into Seattle itself while I was there, and my aunt and I spent a little bit of time walking around Pike Place Market. I’ve been there plenty of times in the past, but somehow had never noticed the original Starbucks. Well, we solved that problem last Friday.
We didn’t go in, but at least now I know where it is!
Even more importantly, we stopped by Ivar’s, which I will forever maintain is home of the best clam chowder on the face of the earth.
I. Love. This. Place. If you ever go to Seattle, you MUST go to the Fish Bar, order a bowl of white clam chowder (don’t mess around with that red nonsense), and sit next to Puget Sound enjoying the best clam chowder–perhaps the best seafood dish, ever, period–you will ever taste in your entire life.
3. I also went for a couple runs while I was there and oh.em.gee. THE HILLS. I knew I’d encounter hills, and I knew they’d be a challenge, but my goodness. My poor Chicago legs and lungs were not prepared for the Pacific Northwest! Fortunately, the views served as a great distraction.
I’ve toyed with the idea of moving to Seattle several times, though I’ve never had the confidence to pull the trigger (the whole “I have a perfectly, established good life with meaningful relationships that I don’t want to lose or attempt to replace elsewhere, and it’s easy to get home” thing have done a pretty good job of rooting me here for the time being), but man, it’s tough to go out there and not be tempted to leave everything here behind for more emerald pastures. I have reasons to stay in Chicago for now, but if anything were to change with those circumstances, I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if I started to more seriously look into moving to Seattle. But never fear, adoring Chicago fans: I’m not going anywhere any time soon, I promise 🙂
4. Since I traveled alone, I ended up sitting next to strangers on both flights. On the way out to Seattle, I sat next to a mom and her young son–I’d guess he was maybe two years old? He was your pretty standard two year old: didn’t always follow directions, didn’t know what he wanted, got cranky when he was tired (I feel ya, bro), etc. Well. Mom was NOT having it. The tone of voice she used with him terrified me, and I wasn’t the one being yelled at. So that was wildly upsetting to me.
On the way home, I sat next to a mom and her not-quite-as-young daughter–I know she was four, because Mom told me so. She could NOT have utilized a more different parenting style than Mom #1 if she had tried, so that alone would’ve made me happy, because I prefer it when kids aren’t yelled at in menacing voices, but this woman turned out to be super awesome all around! We chatted for our entire four-hour flight, which I’ve never done–I can only think of one travel occasion at all where I talked to my seatmate for little while, never mind the entire trip, never mind a full four-hour trip. It was so cool! She had a really cool story and background and was headed out to Boston to celebrate her great-grandma’s 103rd (!!) birthday. What! So awesome. Having someone to chat with kept me way more chill on the plane, too. I’m not the best flyer, and I’m definitely not a good flyer in turbulence, and boy oh boy was my flight back from Seattle bumpy (as was my flight out to Seattle), but having someone to distract me made things 100 times better (especially someone who’s gone through flight school with the military, as that woman had). Her daughter also wanted to be my friend and quizzed me on Disney princesses, rewarding my knowledge with stickers. So we’re basically besties now. Don’t worry about it.
Have you ever been to Seattle?
Do you talk to the person next to you when you travel? Assuming that person isn’t a relative, that is 😛