Sunday, July 28, 2013

A trip to Bainbridge Island

One of my friends was really gung-ho on visiting Bainbridge Island this weekend. I wasn't really sure about the idea, as I wasn't sure there would be a whole lot to do, but seeing as I didn't have any other Saturday plans and I didn't want to let her down I decided to go.

And, the trip started out not too spectacularly as I missed the bus I wanted to take to the downtown ferry terminal. I wasn't entirely sure where the bus stop was and I wasn't there when it stopped. Oops. Of course the buses at the other stop near my apartment were all late. So then I decide to just get on the next bus (the 13, for reference) because I thought it would stop close to the ferry.

Yeah, kind of. I realized I wasn't going in the right direction when the next stop was on 4th Ave and not 3rd (for my East Coast readers, 1st is the closest to the water). I then booked it to the ferry terminal and was able to procure a ticket in time. My friend was also pretty late because her bus was delayed and she didn't immediately realize you have to walk up to a second level to board the ferry. Did I mention that public transit is hard?

Anyways, we take the ferry over and end up eating lunch on the island. Like everything else here, it's a pretty picturesque place. There's really only about 4 blocks to the town, with lots of small shops that line the street. It reminded me a lot of the small beach shops on the NC Coast... which makes sense when I think about it. A little bit expensive for what I'm shopping for, but still nice to look around.

I did have the ice cream at Mora Iced Creamery, which was pretty delicious. Apparently it's a pretty popular place, as there was a significant line out the door when we went. My friend chose Green Tea, I chose the Dark Chocolate Mint and Maraschino Cherry Cream - all very good flavors, and I feel like you couldn't go wrong there.

After we peruse all the shops on the main drag we got back on the ferry to Seattle. A lot of the reviews for the Island said that the trip on the ferry was a big highlight of the trip. I didn't believe them, as I didn't think it would be that thrilling to be on a commuter ferry. Then you see Mt. Rainier off one side of the boat and the cityscape slowly approach you and you realize that the reviews weren't lying at all.

All-in-all it was a pretty good use of a relaxing summer afternoon. Being able to chat and spend the day with a friend AND get a beautiful view was worth the $7.70 ferry ride.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

More exploring

So it's been a few days since my last post, but I've been a little busy, what with working an actual job and all. Most of my days have been navigating my new job and things related to that - figuring out what food trucks to eat at in South Lake Union may take some time.

But even though I've been working, I haven't stopped exploring the city! The weather here is absolutely beautiful, and I'm finally understanding what others have told me about Seattle having a perfect summer. It's sunny all the time, and the temperatures are in the comfortable mid 70s to mid 80s range - and there's not really any humidity, which is definitely a new thing for this NC girl. All of this means that I'm spending a bunch of time wandering around and enjoying the outdoors.

One of the places I meandered to was Discovery Park, which is a large park in the Magnolia neighborhood and a pretty quick bus ride from my apartment. I think it's something like 550 acres, and it is criss-crossed with different trails, both paved and unpaved. I went down to the beach (which is a beach in the sense that it abuts the ocean, not in the sense that it has sand, as it was full of pebbles and larger rocks) and saw the lighthouse. The lighthouse was moderately disappointing, as I was imagining something closer to the Cape Hatteras lighthouse than a house with a light in it. But I still took a picture of it, because that's what I do.

So after Discovery Park, I then traveled a short distance to the Ballard Locks. That's the giant thing of machinery and water that allows boats to go up and down - apparently it's a big attraction, but I kind of didn't get it. However, I did enjoy looking at the copious amounts of salmon taking advantage of the fish ladder - definitely going to have to cook some one of these days.

Another day this week I took a walk along the waterfront and ended up at the Olympic Sculpture Park. It's exactly what it sounds like - a green area with a bunch of art just chillin' in the open. Definitely entertaining to go with a friend and mock the pretentious quotes included on the plaques naming the pieces. Not that I would know, as art is a Very Serious Thing and not to be laughed at.

Then, finally, I live somewhat close to the Seattle Center, and I'm finding it very enjoyable to explore that part of the city on a near-daily basis. There's a bunch of fountains in different places and there always seems to be something different going on. Yesterday was the Polish Festival, which I was super excited about considering my Polish heritage. And, yes, I did chow down on some pierogies.

So good.
And that's about it for my second-ish week of being in the city! I might create a post about my progress in meeting people in the city... but then again, I might wait a bit to have slightly more material. For now, you readers will just have to be envious of my pierogies.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Happy Birthday America! (And fun times on the C Line)

I was slightly worried that I'd have no plans this Fourth of July, seeing as I've been on my own in the city for all of five days, which is a little bit of a stretch to meet someone willing to invite you to their shindig.

Well, turns out I'm just a lucky chick. At my company's n00b orientation, I met another college grad who very kindly invited me out to his family's place on the Sound. Seeing as my only other option was to go to a party that I saw an invite for on Reddit, I decided to take him up on the invite, figuring that going to a random place I've never been before with someone I've seen before is much better than going to a random place I've never been with people I've only read about on the Internet.

So to get over to the Sound from where I live, I have to take a bus wayyyyyy south and then take a ferry over. All in all the trip time was just under 2 hours - this is an important fact for later in my story, so tuck it away in your mind Rolodex.

Anyways, I met up with my friend at the ferry terminal, and we went across the Sound - the first time I've been on a commuter ferry - I couldn't imagine doing that as a commuter every day. Once we got to the house, I met all of his extended family, which was really awkward to do for someone you just met 2 days ago. But, luckily for me, everyone was super nice and personable. This isn't really the entertaining part of the story, but I'm kind of super proud that I'm doing things that are way the hell out of my comfort zone.

We then went out on the Sound in kayaks, which I've also never done. Somehow that was far less frightening than meeting random people. It was actually pretty easy to pick up (really, I feel like you can't mess up paddling that badly), and we went all the way out to Blake Island. It was probably close to a mile out to the island and my upper body is in pain today - but it was totally worth it!

So after we were done kayaking, it was time for the cookout and fireworks, because this is America and America is all about food and lighting things on fire. And, man, I was not prepared for the fireworks. Back in North Carolina, pretty much anything that launches off the ground is illegal and if you want it you have to go all the way to South Carolina to get it. Well, I don't know if it's illegal here, or just easier to get, but everyone on the shore was launching these giant mortars into the air. Once it got towards dusk, every direction you looked there was exploding color in the sky.

Oh, and the sunset looked like this:
Yeah. It was pretty glorious. I can't get over how beautiful this area looks all the time.

Sunset here is also close to 10pm, so in order for us to stick around to help launch the finale of 6 mortars at once, we had to take the 11:05 ferry back. Remember that 2 hour trip length? Yep, that means we'd be riding back on the bus after midnight, which is always an interesting prospect.

So we sit down on the bus and begin idle chatter when this slightly disoriented woman asks us if we were still in West Seattle. We responded yes, and the conversation then... got interesting.

"You know, can I tell you guys something? You guys are like, Couple of the Year. You look so good together." She then turned to my male friend and stated, "She is such a catch. You better propose to her." This was greeted by plentiful nervous laughter from us, and the woman went on, "But, you know, she's probably too smart for that. You're going to have to catch her in a moment of weakness - but I don't mean that kind of moment of weakness."

After that statement my nervous laughter turned into actual laughter and then the woman turned around to adjust what apparently was some sort of lingerie under the jacket she was wearing. She eventually turned around and asked us how old we were. We responded and she said, "Oh, wow you guys are so young! I thought you were older... not because of how you look, but because you look so mature together." She then began to discuss our wedding and how exactly he should propose to me. Luckily, after that, she began to tell us about her family and I was spared talking about the details of marrying a guy I had known for less than 72 hours.

But, hey, at least I was called smart and mature, right? And talking to her was a lot more comfortable than watching the crack/meth/bath salts addict twitch awkwardly and then repeatedly try and yank the bus doors open three blocks before his actual stop.

Is public transit always that interesting?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Oh, mornings...

So today was kind of a mess of a morning.

There really wasn't a good reason why I was so out of it. I actually set my alarm earlier than the first day on the job, as today I was not promised bagels to start off the morning.

Everything was going really well - makeup went on at a decent pace, I wasn't rushing to throw together a crappy PB&J like I was the day before. Then I had to get everything into my bag.

The bag my company gave me is a laptop backpack. It's pretty nice, with padded straps and a padded back, not too heavy. It's kind of strange, though, because it doesn't have a laptop pouch, just a removable laptop sleeve. The oddest part is this little flap down zipper pouch that's attached by a buckle. Actually, why the heck am I describing this? Here it is, go look at it. The design is super weird. Why is that pocket connected by a buckle? There's nothing that can be buckled in?

Anyways, I had to figure out how to shove my lunch in. The sandwich ended up going in one of the side pockets and the Cheez-its in the other. There's no water bottle pocket, so I ended up shoving that behind the CD sleeve in the main pocket. Yeah, I didn't like putting liquid by the laptop. but what are you going to do?

So I then leave my apartment and shove the keys in that weird buckle pocket. Even with the bag rearranging, I left right on time.

Then, about two blocks away, I realized... I didn't put my phone & wallet anywhere in this stupid bag.

So I quickly walk back to my building, up the staircase, put the key in the lock. And the stupid key isn't working. It goes in the lock fine, but isn't turning at all. I've had slight trouble fitting the key in before, so I just kept trying and retrying to turn the stupid key.

Then I looked up.

It wasn't my apartment.

Yes, I essentially tried to break into someone else's apartment this morning. I can only hope they didn't hear me fumbling at the lock. My excuse is that I took a different staircase up than I did going down, so I thought I was at my apartment... yeah, that's all I got.

Oh, and then I realized I walked the mile to work with the main portion of the bag unzipped. Yep. The only positive is that it wasn't raining.

Needless to say, I'm using a different bag tomorrow.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Riding a Gondola

So today was my father's last day in Seattle, and seeing as most of the move in type things were done, he wanted to go explore some of the area around Seattle. He suggested hiking, but I pointed out that the only shoes I had that were moderately appropriate were my Converse Chuck Taylors. So instead, we set our sights on the Crystal Mountain Resort gondola ride, which would zoom us up to the top of the mountain so we could spy upon Mt. Rainier up close.

To get there from Seattle, it's about a 2 hour drive southeast. I was expecting picturesque trees and mountains, which we got eventually. But we passed through a section which reminded me of backwoods South Carolina - trailer parks, fireworks shanties, and we even went by a revival being held at a Christian church. If you had told me we had just crossed the NC-SC border I wouldn't have looked at you twice. One of the fireworks shanties (not even as classy as South Carolina's fireworks warehouses - at least those look permanent and aren't made of plywood) was named "Lost Appendages". Because I totally want to go buy fireworks at a place with that name.

Anyways, back to the point of the trip. We made it to Crystal Mountain and rode the gondola up. Pretty sweet, especially because this marked the highest elevation I've ever been in my life. The view at the top was pretty spectacular, although unfortunately low clouds covered a lot of Mt. Rainier. But it was fine - I don't think this will be the first time weather messes something up for me out here.

So we looked around, ate a brownie at the mountaintop lodge, and decided to walk down via one of the paths/logging trails. Please note that I am still in my Chucks. Please also note that, even though it is the end of June, there is still quite a bit of disgusting old snow on parts of this trail. So, yes, I hiked down a steep snow-covered incline in a t-shirt, shorts, and Chucks. The Northwest is not prepared for my level of badassery.

(I had a picture of the slope, but it just doesn't do it justice. Use your imaginations, and trust that it was remarkable.)

But, despite being completely unprepared for the surroundings, we made it safely down the trail and declared the day a good one. I'm sure this won't be the only hiking/nature-ing I do out here, but I think it was a great intro - no more Appalachian foothills for me!

Friday, June 28, 2013


Went exploring quite a bit over the past few days with my dad, who's still in town. I managed to take a few pictures as well, to help with the storytelling.

I can confirm that Queen Anne Hill does actually live up to its name, and is quite a steep incline. The purpose of the trip was to locate the area Trader Joe's, but after climbing up a staircase built into the hill, we came upon this view.
That is the view from Kerry Park, and it is really stunning in person. Definitely worth the hike up the hill, and it was nice to see something like that when we weren't expecting it.

Then we went on a trip to Sweden's favorite export, Ikea. I had never actually been in one, and I was thrilled to go shopping after I had gone to the online site and drooled over the furniture. So, without further ado, I present to you my couch, Ektorp the Grey!
Yes, I've named my couch. Ektorp is great. I don't think words will explain how monumental this moment in my life is. My first couch - not a crappy Wal-Mart futon, but an actual couch of wonderment!

We also stopped by Pike Place Market, just to walk around and take in the sights. I wonder if going there will ever get old, as this was the third time I've been and it definitely is entertaining to see what's there. Picked up some cherries, which are absolutely delicious.

Then we wandered around and ended up at the Seattle Center (two pounds of cherries stuck in my ginormous purse). And then we saw this:
Yeah. That's pretty sweet. That rainbow was real, not a fancy photoshop effect, by the way. The fountain was pseudo-set up to music and reminded both me and Dad of the fountain at Centennial Park in Atlanta. Tons of screaming kids running around, but it was oddly relaxing to listen to the music and get spritzed by the water in the breeze.

So it's been a bunch of touristy wandering for my first few days here. But I've seen some really cool things, and I can only hope that continues!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The First Day

Well, I've been in Seattle for a bit over 24 hours now. Haven't done much that's exciting - I mean, I got my apartment keys, but that's about it. Really I've pretty much been apartment shopping, which is about the same here as it would be anywhere else in the United States - running around to multiple stores and then realizing you forgot a bunch of things once you get back to the apartment. But I'm going to share some things because I feel like I ought to.

Random observations:
  • People here dress like it's 50 degrees even when it's pushing past 70. I mean, long sleeves and a jacket when you could easily be wearing shorts and a short-sleeved shirt. And it didn't seem like it was just that one random crazy lady whose inner temperature is all messed up - quite a few people were dressed like that today.
  • I'm not entirely sure that my definition of a mall is the same as Seattle's definition of a mall. There was a strip mall that then had an inside like a mall, but it was anchored by Safeway and Target - is it really a mall? Then there was the weird multi-story place that had like four big box stores all stacked on top of one another. And it wasn't really in the city, but north of the city - but then again, I don't know what's classified as suburbs around here. I don't know. Definitely not the wide expanses of strip malls and miles of big box stores that I'm used to.
  • Seattle has a no plastic bag policy. And they charge 5 cents for you to get a paper bag in a store. I think that's pretty cool, but it means I definitely have to remember my reusable bags from now on.
  • It's so green here. All around there are trees that are so lush and vibrant - it really is a pretty place.
  • I have to brush up on my PAC-12 knowledge. A guy at Target saw my Hokies shirt and started talking about football to me - which was fine, but I realized I don't actually know that much about the Oregon Ducks, and I completely blanked on what he meant when he referenced losing the Civil War. (That's the Oregon-Oregon State game, for those who need to Wikipedia it). Although, now that I think about it, it's kind of awesome that a guy started talking to me about sports, regardless of what conference it was about.
  • Comcast needs to make their cable internet directions clearer. Like, wait the whole 10 minutes for the modem to boot regardless of whether the light stays constant or not. And, yes, I realize that sentence didn't make a whole bunch of sense if you haven't installed something like that recently. But I needed to vent, so deal with it. 
And... that's kind of it, I think. Tomorrow is TV shopping which will be awful because TVs are far more confusing than they should be. Hopefully I'll hear something about when my stuff is going to get here - right now my apartment consists of luggage, an air mattress, a deck chair, a cable box, and Costco food. Not really the best setup.