I am writing this from the airport lounge waiting to board my flight back to reality. Siiigh. As it always is when a vaca comes to an end, my level of enthusiasm to return to life is as strong as my enjoyment of the trip.
Today we woke up with a renewed sense of energy and headed out early from the Purple Sage Motel (Here are some pics to prove its’ awesomeness!) to follow the clouds home –– Andrew’s home at least.
And when we got close enough, we followed Mount Rainier, all the way to his apt. The lucky guy can see it from his bedroom window! (Second photo is his view!))
As we reentered coastal urban traffic, we slowed to a stop. Ahhhh, just as we had exactly one week earlier on the Cross Bronx in NY. However, this offered much better photo opps. I got my first glimpse of the university (he lives a couple blocks up from where the boats are docked in the first pic), and the stadium that was prepping for a game against Nebraska.
After checking out his apt and moving a small SUV’s worth of his treasured possessions, he kindly took me for a tour of downtown Seattle and the Pike Place Market.
What a fannnntastic PLACE! Stroll down the corridor and you are inundated with a mix of fish and floral smells. Odd combo maybe, but it somehow works here. We passed King Salmon at least 2-feet long, hockey-puck size scallops and crabs and lobsters just waiting to be taken home. Wholesale florists had the most beautiful, full and colorful bouquets of flowers for $10-$15. If a flower bouquet was a feasible souvenir everyone I know would have gotten one.
After a bit of exploration, and some photos of the Seattle Sounders stadium for mom, dad and Eric…
… we went searching for food. I’d have happily cooked up a smorgasbord of seafood but since his dishes and whatnot were in garbage bags on his bedroom floor, we decided to eat out one last time before vaca was officially over and we had to go back to counting our pennies. And I also insisted on some West Coast sushi before I left.
One of my favorite things to do in a new city is search for food off the beaten path, so I suggested we wander away from the city and see what we stumbled upon. Only 6 blocks or so from the bustle of the market, we saw a sign for a Japanese/Polynesian Tiki bar, Ohana. Hmmm. The menu revealed a combination of sushi and seafood entrées. SOLD!
Best. Meal. Ever.
After all the buffalo and burgers over the previous few days, seafood was very fulfilling! We had Mahi Mahi fish tacos as a starter, and split a few sushi rolls for our entrée. The best choice of roll is the Half Baked which is a california roll with spicy cooked salmon on top mixed with a spicy masago mayo sauce. Now, when you think “on top” you think a single piece wrapped around each roll. Not here! On top meant a pile of perfectly-cooked salmon covering the entire plate. (The photos didn’t come out clear, but here’s one of the Firecracker roll we had.) This was the BEST SUSHI MEAL I’VE EVER EATEN!!!! Not to mention possibly one of the best meals I’ve had, period.
This is the Firecracker Roll, which is tuna, salmon, krab, avocado and cream cheese with peanut sauce & spicy mayo on the side.
Stuffed to the brim we navigated the bus system home –– me getting off a stop late, which was actually pretty funny at the time –– and crashed!
My last day, we had originally planned to visit Mount Rainier, but alas, it was too cloudly –– something I think he’s going to get used to very quickly. So instead we visited some unique local shops for supplies –– Target and Trader Joe’s. (I spent the previous couple weeks hyping up TJ’s. So I was very relieved when he loved its’ cheap food and lack of options; apparently he also lacks the decision-making gene!) And following that I requested a campus tour and visit to the bookstore.
I already knew how beautiful the campus was from the photos of his visit, but it’s 100x nicer in person. Living in a rainy climate produces green! Bright green grass, full trees and flowers are everywhere. Parts of it felt like a jungle. Amazing.
We wandered along the canal, which is a few blocks from his apt, took a detour through the emergency services building, and found the undergrad dorms –– you know, just in case he wants to meet some younger people 😉 😉
Doesn’t he look at home here??
And standing in front of the sound downtown:
At the canal:
In front of one of the engineering buildings where his classes will be held… his new home away from home:
The moment we hit the Cascade’s, my brother’s face lit up like the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. He’s embarking on a new stage of his life –– one that includes studying something he loves and is passionate about –– in a location that has everything he wants –– city life, mountains, happy people (seriously, every person we met, whether at a restaurant, store, etc, was overly friendly and helpful). He even has a few friends from college living nearby.
I’ll miss him. But I am so proud of him for making such a big move. Not once throughout the whole trip did I have any doubt that he would not only enjoy his new life, but be very successful. I know the decision was hard (LA? Seattle? LA? Seattle?) but it’s clear he made the right one! The entire trip was one big thumbs up and a few high fives!
Congrats Andrew. Show the world what you got!