OK, so traveling is not as simple as it used to be. Gone are the days of minimal luggage and tiny carry-ons. Gone are the opportunities to explore the airport shops, or kick up my heels on the nearest seat and sip a coffee. Instead, we pack to the gills, bring four carry-ons and a baby, and quick nurse then cram some food down our throats, just in time to hop on the plane. Despite these changes, we had a fantastic trip to Seattle with our little Leila. She is a charmer, and everyone in the airports and on the planes loved her. Probably the most difficult thing is that she needs/wants to know what is going on at all times, and thus refuses to sleep. On our trip out to Seattle, she managed to skip two naps, sleeping for only 20 minutes as we landed. It threw off her schedule for a couple of days, but even then, she was a dear and seemed to love being in Seattle with her Amy “Chithi” and Kyle “Chithappa.”
Back in 1998/99, I lived in Seattle for a year while I did junior high youth ministry at University Presbyterian Church. It was a remarkable year. Though I had already moved a number of times with my family, and lived in another country for six months, Seattle was different. I had committed to a year’s worth of ministry (at least,) and I didn’t know a single soul living on the west coast (minus one friend in San Diego.) There have been a couple of times in my life that I have agreed to do things seemingly on a whim, and realized after the fact that it was all God’s plan. Moving to Seattle was one of those things. If I had been in my right mind, I would never have gone, but God’s call on my life was fierce, and I went. At first I was oblivious to how new and difficult everything was, but then I realized that I didn’t know anyone there, I wasn’t sure how to do my job, and I had to use public transportation because my car broke down right before I left Michigan. It took at least three tough months of transition time and significant adjustment, and then I began to fall in love with Seattle. I began to embrace the gift from my host family of an old Subaru stick shift, and learned to drive it and parallel park on the hills! I even learned to appreciate the hours of time I spent in traffic between West Seattle and the U-District. I learned precious things about ministry-related gifts that God had blessed me with, and just how grand my affection for junior high students would become. I learned not only what “teriyaki” was, but how much I would crave eating it. I learned to pronounce my “o’s” properly. I knew on which horizon I should look for Mount Rainier, and a favorite past time became picking over the stones and sea glass on the shores of the Sound. Coffee became a good, good friend. As my year ticked away, Seattle became my heart’s home, and leaving there was one of the hardest things I ever did. It is harder than hard to have my sister and kindred spirit, Amy, out there, but it is a rich blessing at the same time. If Amy and Kyle didn’t live in Seattle, I don’t know that my pocketbook would afford the trips. It isn’t the same thing as living there, but visiting there makes me feel full and alive. It was GOOD to be in my heart’s home.
If you know Amy and I at all, we like food. We like to talk about, create, and eat food in equal proportion. So, as you already witnessed in JP’s blog entry… we eat good food in Seattle. This trip’s theme would certainly be donuts, but we enjoyed lots of other great meals too. Perhaps the very best was the home-cooked steak dinner with “Pink Fantasy Cake” for dessert on Valentines Day. (Thanks to Amy and Kyle for letting us crash your first V-Day as a married couple!) I’ll include some photos of the foods we ate, and a few links to some great places to check out if you’re ever in Seattle.
Pike’s Place Market is a favorite stop for us in Seattle. It was a CHILLY, but sunny and beautiful Monday morning that we poked around the stalls. Also, the first EVER Starbucks is right across the street, and it was my “touristy” request to stop in.
Well, this is getting long, and there is still more food to mention… Check back again soon for another Seattle post. And, stayed tuned for contest #2!