Another push pin on my map of new places, Seattle proved to be a destination worth noting. I stayed with Mike and Melanie on Capitol Hill, aka, hipster village. Surrounded by brick buildings, bikes, and coffee of epic delightfulness, I felt at home right away.
So much happened in six days that I will recount in typical list format to clarify my thoughts. My overall response to the city was that of 'comfort'. It was beautiful, clean, easy to navigate, and full of diversity. I spent a great deal of time alone, wandering around, or exploring with my handy iPhizzle maps.
1. Dancing at the ballroom was good times. We went, twice? Yes, only twice. I was pleasantly surprised at how friendly everyone was. I only sat out the first song and then could barely sit down for all the asking. Ranging from professional to excited first timer, it was nice to smile at new faces and discover new movement to a familiar dance. The music was comparable to home. With all the hype I expected to be blown away, but instead reassured that the DJ's are about on par.
I went to Tuesday night practice with the few people that remained in town. Working on a bit of my own choreo, I was inspired by the creativity that was in the room. How refreshing.
2. Exploring downtown consisted of maps, headphones, and Minus the Bear radio. I ventured to the space needle, and wandered around the park to see the other tourists looking quite parched and over exerted. Pike Street Market was full of flashing cameras and flying fish. About 10 minutes of such a spectacle and I was off down the crowded corridor to encounter more sights and smells to overwhelm the senses.
3. Live music. Mike had a gig with a gyspy jazz band on my last night in town. So we packed up his gear and took the bus down to 1st street. A tiny French Cafe crammed in a row of tables and one booth. Standing room only at the bar, and a corner for the band. During the first set I wandered down to the docks, navigating the steep hill and tiny alleys. Although it wasn't quite the ocean, it still boasted a beautiful sunset over the water. The boats were going to and fro, wind whipping my hair, and couples strolled hand-in-hand, reminding me of a vague unmemorable cliche.
Upon returning to the cafe I found dinner in the form of a cherry sausage sandwich complete with horseradish, and a glass of red wine. The music floated over the busy patrons, infiltrating the air with melodies from decades past. Mike rocked out on rhythm guitar, fitting in with the bass, violin, and lead guitar that completed the group. I took up conversation with the people I was sqeezed between on the long bench. It was delightfully un-american to be so close to strangers in a public venue. Elbow room? Not in your dreams. We all shared menu preferences, and a basket of fries.
4. Nuage the Ninchilla. Cutest freaking pet ever. Period. The resident pet practically ran the place with his adorableness. While depositing an impressive number of droppings, he still earned a place in my heart as newest furry creature of choice. He didn't make much noise, could climb and jump like a true mountain bad ass, and enjoyed being held. My favorite moment was when Melanie and I came home to Nuage chilling on Mike's stomach as he practiced his intervals on his iPad. If there were ever a musical chinchilla, it would be Nuage.
5. Cake-eoke. Not entirely certain how this was any different from regular karaoke, but apparently it was. I rocked out some Janis Joplin and Joan Jett. Joshua had other ideas. Elton John, and another song were his choices. It was a good time supplemented by Moose Drool Beer. Yes, true story.
6. Independent streak. I have always had one, but decided to personify it as a blonde section in my hair. Melanie took my idea and did a more kick ass job than I could ever have imagined. I am still enjoying it...think it will be around for awhile.
7. I was able to catch lunch with an old friend from college, Carrie Causey. She and her her husband were in a few classes with me at Berea, and although they were two years ahead, were always nice to my very unique, punk self. They recently moved to Seattle with their daughter, Abigail. It was great to catch up and see my friends thriving and doing what they love, where they love. Memories were shared, stories told, and I made friends with the 3 year old with a glass of ice. I love kids.
8. Speaking of kids I 'adopted' a child while in Seattle. Walking up to meet M&M for a movie I was stopped on the street by a Children's International rep. Armed with a clipboard, beard, and smile, he talked to me for a few minutes. This is something I have always wanted to do (I mean, come on, I was about to go into the Peace Corps) but this moment seemed like the perfect time. I mean, I could have walked away, really, but this was just a surreal day full of spontaneous experiences that I couldn't ignore. In a matter of minutes I signed up to sponsor a girl in the Philippines for $22 a month. I spent the next day feeling quite strange and questioning my decision. Now that I am home and have her picture on my fridge, and her story in my hands I am excited. She is 7 years old, her name is Abbie, and she has two parents and an older brother. I cannot wait to receive her first letter and write back. While not ready for child of my own, I am ready to live a life thinking outside of myself.
Overall Seattle was a nice respite. I did a lot of thinking, journaling, and time alone. The dancing was high quality, the hosting exceptional, and I made a few new friends. Upon leaving I put it at the top of my list of new home choices. We will see...