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Mpls, MN, United States

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Seattle report

So my adventure started with missing my flight. I was to have flown from Minneapolis at 9:20, have had a brief layover in Denver, and have arrived in Seattle at 2:03. Due to a series of miscalculations on my part, I arrived minutes too late, and the flight had been locked, so even though I didn't have any luggage to check, they wouldn't even let me try for it. To make a long and rather painful story (involving lots of nerve-wracking waiting on the phone and a preponderance of self-castigation) short, I was able to get on an 11:00 flight to Kalispell, Montana, with a connection that arrived in Seattle at 4:45.

That meant that I didn't get to spend a few hours in downtown Seattle with my sister before picking up our aunt, but we were still able to meet her in Tacoma for dinner as planned and I really was allowed off the hook much more easily than I deserved. Plus, I got to spend time in and outside of the tiny Kalispell airport (which the woman who made my mocha--$2.75 for a large!--called "the most mellow airport in the world," an assessment with which I agreed), where the air smelled great and the people were calm and friendly.

April picked me up at the curb and we headed straight for Tacoma, where I got to see my aunt's condo for the first time and she served us the first of the many wonderful meals I enjoyed that weekend. I'm not sure I met my goal of gaining five pounds, but I'd like to think my jeans are fitting a little better upon returning.

Back at her house in Port Orchard, we slept for about five hours (my third of these in as many nights) before getting up at the crack of dawn to head across the mountains. I was able to sleep for a few hours while Chris drove; we stopped in Ellensburg for coffee that made everything better.

The drive to and from Walla Walla--from 90 to 82 to 12--is, other than ones up and down I-5, probably the roadtrip I've made most frequently, and it was long, but comfortingly familiar (now that I'm not a college freshman headed back into collegiate purgatory, anyway) and beautiful.

When we arrived, we were plied with food and then headed for church where my grandma was delighted to have all her kids and grandkids in a single (very cozy) pew. Back home, we ate more, and then alternated talking and eating for the rest of the day. Joel also played his guitar and humored our efforts at singing along. I love my family.

I stayed with Ted and Heather, who joined us for brunch the next morning. My aunt Jan had cleaned out her closet, so I scored several sweaters and a T-shirt. We met up with some friends in town, did more eating and chatting, and had the best gelato I've tasted since Italy. We ended the evening playing video games back at the Swinjarnyars'. I tried the Wii for the first time, and found it very surreal, from the experience of trying to design an avatar that looked like me using fixed features to holding a controller that both acted as an extension of my own body and transmitted the sensation of contact directly into my hand. I have never felt like more of a cyborg. It was weird.

Sunday morning, we piled back into the car, this time with Joel (and all his Costa Rica luggage), and headed back across the mountains, dropping the latter at his car in Auburn before heading back to April and Chris's house in Port Orchard. April and I made brown rice and curry (I am very excited about this new tomato-garbanzo curry; this time we threw in a zucchini, cauliflower, and fried tofu: awesome) and we all ate it while watching Surf's Up. When it was over, she took me back to Sea-Tac for my 12:55 a.m. direct flight to Minneapolis.

I grew up in the Northwest, and it still feels like home--along, oddly, with most of the west coast and much of the Midwest. Although I'm technically back "home" now, I'm relieved I'll be flying to California in just a few short weeks.


I Hope So said...

you have neat things to report on.

i liked it.

california, you say?

Ellen said...

That's right, I own Ellensburg. Plus I have a collectors spoon from there thanks to Luke.

Cerise said...

Mandy, yes, California! Wanna hang out?

And Ellen, I also took a picture of a towing sign at the gas station where we stopped there, just for you. I'll e-mail it to you.

Curly Sue said...

Did you go to college in Walla Walla? I didn't realize that.

I guess our airport stories are equally harrowing, though it sounds like the Kalispell (sp?) airport far exceeds O'Hare in its congeniality. Where is Kalispel, anyway?

And yes, I realize that I spelled it differently both times I used it. I figured if one is wrong, the other must be right.

I Hope So said...

i wish there was a town named mandysburg.

YES! i want to hang out!! yay!!

Cerise said...

Leah, yeah, I suffered through a whole year there before moving to Lincoln. And I don't know... I think your airport misadventures top mine! (Kalispell is close to Glacier National Park in Montana).

Mandy, awesome! I'm looking forward to it.