new zealand, post travel, seattle

Back to an unexpected reality

Three days ago, I was in Auckland, bidding farewell to New Zealand’s summer.

Two days ago, I was swimming at Ala Moana beach in Hawaii.

One day ago, I was back home in Seattle, where Snowmaggedon/Snowpocalypse 2019 had hit hard for the third time in a week.

IMG_3970

It’s unusual for Seattle to get so much snow for a series of days like this. All my friends are having cabin fever from not being able to leave their houses for several days to a week.

I’m kind of enjoying it?

Yesterday the snow fall was pretty. It felt like a winter wonderland. Bryce and I went for a walk in the late afternoon and saw that some of our neighbors still had their Christmas lights up.

“Their procrastination paid off!” I exclaimed. “It looks so magical!”

But, today the rain came and the snow is melting. There is a lot of dirty slush occupying the sidewalks and streets. My car is surrounded by a bunch of compacted, hard snow. I’m ready for my bus to be in full service again so I can actually go into the office and see my coworkers.

Coming back from a three-week vacation — that was our honeymoon! — I didn’t expect to come back to a reality that would be icy roads and people abandoning their cars on neighborhood roads.

For now, I’m keeping warm by remembering our New Zealand trip and all the amazing places we were fortunate enough to visit on both the north and south islands. And, all the wildlife we saw and people we met.

IMG_3290

You can bet that this blog will come out of its hibernation — who has time to blog when they are traveling?? — with many stories and photos from my kiwi adventure. (Think dolphins, the cutest sheep in the world, Maori culture and a city windier than Chicago, just to name a few things!)

Stay warm, my Seattle friends. And, happy travels to the rest of you out there!

seattle

Being a holiday tourist in your hometown

IMG_1732
Me, a little scared of fake Santa.

A few weeks ago if you had asked me if I had done any “Christmas activities” my answer would have been “no” followed by a long sigh. (I love Christmas and everything about the holiday season — with a hard exception for eggnog).

To make sure I efficiently and effectively got into the Christmas spirit, I changed that a week ago.

Phyllis and I postponed our holiday of fun to holiday afternoon tea at Queen Mary Tea in North Seattle. Why afternoon tea?

We decided on afternoon tea at this specific location because of their holiday decor and atmosphere. And, secondly, we both love tea. (Also, I’ve never been to a proper high or afternoon tea!)

IMG_1720
Phyllis with all the treats and tea.

It did not disappoint. There were more nutcrackers and Santa Claus’s than I could count! Even the sugar bowl had red and green sprinkles in it! I had a white chai tea and Phyllis a hazelnut tea as we stuffed ourselves with sweet and savory treats.

At one point, the owner came by our table and asked us if we’d like to try “Christmas cookie” as she stood holding a tray of what did not look like Christmas cookies. Phyllis and I sort of starred blankly at her. I was trying to make sense of what she had just asked us. I looked at the tray again and thought maybe the little cups with what looked like liquid in them were jello shots? Christmas jello shots doesn’t seem like an afternoon tea thing, I told myself before saying anything aloud.

“Christmas cookie — it’s one of our seasonal teas,” she said, since Phyllis and I still hadn’t said anything.

“OHHHH.” we both replied in unison as we each reached for the small tea sample.

As the woman walked away we both bursted out laughing.

“I had no idea what she was talking about at first!” I said.

“ME TOO!” Phyllis replied.

I guess this is one reason we are such good friends — when we hear “cookie”, we expect to see a a sugary baked good!

Seattle skyline
seattle

Home is where the rain is

I’m from Seattle. 

As the years pass by, this phrase has more and more clout for me.

There is constantly construction going on downtown. More and more transplants arrive in droves to work at Amazon, or the next up and coming start-up. There are just fewer and fewer Seattleites in Seattle. It’s a known fact.

I was born in Seattle. I was raised in Seattle. I attended Seattle Public Schools. Even for college, I didn’t go far. I went to UW. I also currently work for an organization that has “Seattle” in its name … but this is just coincidental. I’m not selecting my place of employment based on its name!

I’m the person who gets annoyed when I hear people say they are from Seattle but really they are from Shoreline, Lynnwood or even Tacoma! This is equivalent to New Yorkers hating it when folks from New Jersey say they are from New York.

I can’t say I love the grey, because I don’t. But, living here for more than 30 years has taught me to love the rain.

Today I walked along Alki in West Seattle and was (again) reminded how special it is here. We have water. We have mountains. And, yeah, we have rain and traffic and roads with potholes that don’t get fixed … but, this city is a special place.

Bryce and I spotted a seal bopping its head up and down along the beach as we walked. We also saw a dolphin (or two?!) out in the distance. It’s no surprise to see wildlife other than seagulls in Puget Sound, but you still get that kid-on-Christmas-day-feeling deep inside when you do.

We were the only ones to spot these friends as other walkers and runners just went on by.

Yes, it was raining. But, it was still magical.