Home is Where Your Family Is

The worst thing about flying East is that you lose hours. I boarded a plane at 6am Friday morning, took a six hour nap, and when I woke up it was already 3pm and I was in Philadelphia. The weather there was balmy and muggy. English has the strangest words to describe weather. Philadelphia wasn’t the end of my journey as I still had a four hour bus ride to State College. Also, I had to catch my bus, which I wasn’t entirely sure how to do. I’m pretty sure the expression 'fly by the seat of your pants' was created with me in mind. Luckily I had my handy dandy android to tell me what train to catch to take me to the bus station where I needed to be in half an hour. What did people do before smart phones ? I guess they actually figured out where they were going before boarding the plane. I took another nap on the bus home. Thankfully nobody was there to take pictures, since I think I was drooling. I woke up to a downpour and the driver announcing that we were half an hour late, which gave me just enough time to think about how I would describe my time in Seattle to my parents. I went over everything I had done since moving to Seattle…

The day I arrived at my new home, a little over a month ago, the sun was glinting off Lake Washington. I had to be at work the next afternoon to sign some papers, but since my job didn’t start until April 23rd I had a whole week to rest up, run, and meet friends. I didn’t realize then how much I would need that extra rest. The group of runners I met that week (via meetup) would lead directly or indirectly to me meeting every single friend I have met so far in Seattle (other than my coworkers).

On my first Sunday I travelled to eastern Washington for my cousin’s track meet and saw grey velvet hills, scrubby tumbleweeds and lone ranches that I had only read about in books. The next weekend I found myself climbing in Leavenworth after a full weekend of partying (and a lovely pause on Saturday where I went to the farmer’s market and helped a friend cook an amazing vegan meal). Monday was my first day of work… After Monday, things started to accelerate like a…well, like a rolling stone. I convinced five people to take off their clothes and jump into Green Lake with me. I went to a party at the Corinthian Yacht Club and then dressed up to make an appearance at Bonza Bash on the same night. I travelled up and down Puget Sound looking at boats and learning how to determine what boat to buy. I signed up for sailboat racing lessons and got a membership at Vertical World climbing gym. I went to a Sounder’s game, went sailing in Bellingham, skied at Steven’s pass on the last day of ski season, stayed up all night dancing with my friends Scott and Adan, joined a yacht club, went to a party on a boat and jumped into Puget Sound afterwards, led a project at Startup Weekend, went to my first Duck Dodge, and networked at Girl Power Hour. I managed to get around Seattle without a car and only lost my bike a couple of times (and then found it again). I started an exercise fad at work, learned how to throw a frisbee (only got one bloody nose in the process) and tried slacklining. I planned a weekend trip to Smith Rock with my coworker Andy, went to see my cousin tapdance in his highschool play, and finally headed home for this weekend’s double feature – 30K and wedding in one day. At the wedding, my friend’s great Aunt Ruthie told me "I’m 75. I wish that I could live to be four hundred and seventy five because there is SO much to do!" I think I know what she means.

I've done a lot since I've been in Seattle, but isn't what I've done that makes Seattle the best city in the US as far as I'm concerned. It's the friends I've made. If I hadn't met those friends, Seattle would have been just another chilly, rainy city. Because I met them, Seattle is now home and they are my surrogate family.

Of course, I love being with my real family also. I woke up in my parent’s house Sunday morning to the smell of eggs and bacon. The sun was shining outside and everything was as it should be. Things never change in State College. We had a family breakfast where they told me about our dog Mungo’s new affinity for rabbit-catching. She’s five years old and she just learned how to catch rabbits. She is so excited by it that apparently she sneaks out of the house when my parents aren’t looking and runs away to track them. Most of the time she tracks them backwards though, so she’s sniffing in one direction while the lucky rabbit happily hops off in the other direction.

"Are you sure you have everything?" My mom asked me about twenty times before I left. "Yes, certain. I’m a travelling expert." "Hah!" My Dad scoffed. "A travelling expert? Remember that time in Mexico City when you threw away the stamp you needed to leave the country and we had to sprint across the airport to try to get a new one?" That’s the problem with parents. They never forget all of the embarrassing things you did. "That was six years ago Dad! I’ve learned since then!" I protested. But in the car on the way to the bus stop I suddenly realized that I didn’t have my passport. I jumped into the back of the van and started tearing my luggage apart. I found the missing passport inside of a notebook in my suitcase, where it had fallen and gotten wedged between the pages.

When we got to Philly the megabus driver couldn’t find a place to park so he yelled to us as he circled the block, "Y’all think you can jump out right quick and grab yo bags ?" I was the only person who shouted "yeah!" The driver parked illegally in a city bus lane, shooed us out and started to throw us our bags. "Quick people, grab yo bags and get outta here!" He shouted. "Y’all don see no po-lice comin? Grab dem bags!"

I was taking my sewing machine, snowboard accessories and snowboard back to Seattle with me so I checked them in at the counter at the airport. Or rather, I tried to check them in. When the concierge asked how I would be paying for them, I replied "credit" and opened my wallet to discover that the credit card slot was empty. I suddenly remembered that my credit card had been left in my parents car when I’d deposited some checks at the drive-through ATM that morning. "Uh…um…uh…." I stuttered. "Er, I have to make a phone call." I took my bags off the scale and moved out of the way as I dialed my parents. They must have been taking their Sunday afternoon nap because the phone rang and rang and nobody answered. I must have looked distressed because the concierge took compassion on me. "Do you have any cash? How much do you need? I’ll pay for them." The concierge, Vee, and I are now friends on facebook and I promised him a snowboarding lesson when he comes to Seattle. I still didn’t have a credit or a debit card, and I wasn’t sure how I would pay for the light rail to get home. Five minutes later, my phone rang. Another friend was  calling. "Hey, I was just thinking of you," he said.  "Do you need a ride home from the airport ?" "Uh, yes actually."

Later I found my credit card in my checked bag. Oops.