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Post-Grad

I got on a train today at 7AM and went to Portland (via Amtrak Cascades). I’m still in Portland and will be back on a train in roughly 14 hours. This Portland trip was planned 36 hours ago. Spontaneity, eh? I guess that happens when #thugoeswest.

My long-time (is college friend long-time?) college friend, Jaime, is amazing. She’s hosting me right now as I didn’t have a place to stay until…36 hours ago. In the last 14 hours, we:

  • Went to Nuvrei for brunch (?). Coffee and pastries. Jaime and I shared two items (one of them being the infamous Ham & Cheese croissant).
  • Walked to Portland’s Saturday Market and perused. I bought candle gifts. ALSO, there’s something called Elephant Ears? We didn’t have Elephant Ears, but it smelled of cinnamon-y-sugary goodness.
  • Walked to Stumptown and had some Chemex coffee and Thai Iced coffee. Everyone is good looking, HOW.
  • Tried to find the Poler Camping Stuff store, but found out they moved and that it isn’t opened yet.
  • SHOPPED: @ Nordstrom Rack, Madewell, J. Crew, Kate Spade, GAP, Powell’s, etc. (mostly window-shopping, but y’all they have 0 sales tax)
  • Toured Wieden + Kennedy (aka Jaime’s work). I saw “the Nest” you guys.
  • Somewhere in between these things: we went to the block of food trucks. It’s seriously a block-perimeter of just food trucks. Amazing.
  • Had ice cream for dinner from Salt & Straw. I got the Summer Cucumber and Raspberry Sorbet (and there’s a seasonal flavor called Birthday Cake and Blackberry). I think this line was the longest line I’ve ever waited in…and I’ve been to Franklin and La Barbecue.

Here are the picture below for photographic proof. Tomorrow, we drink more coffee, celebrate friendship more, and then I’m back to Seattle. Woof. I’m tired. I have notes about Amtrak Cascades, but my eyes are drooping, I’m thoroughly content, and I’m also feeling truly #blessed that I got to spend a lot of time with my friend. #PTL for PDX. I kind of love it. *GASP* I have to go back tomorrow? Nooooooo! Time, what a slut.

FUN FACT: I heard that Blue Star is better than Voodoo. (The more you know).

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Reminders of home were found in Whole Foods @ South Lake Union today. I found Shiner Ruby Redbird and Chameleon Cold Brew. Again, home.

bike cops

Then, I found bicycle cops and a “Westlake Center.” I thought to myself, “We have bicycle cops and we also the Westlake area.” Everything reminded me of home today (there are construction cranes in Seattle, just like ATX!), even the stupid vanilla macaroons. They reminded me of Central Market, my mecca, my favorite place.

Sorry you guys, I actually took a lot of pictures, but I’m too lazy to upload. I know, what a blog faux pas (okay, I tried a little), follow my Instagram for other real-time pics(@thutexas).

P.S. DID YOU KNOW THAT IT RAINS IN SEATTLE? I’m not a noob you guys, I know this place is Rain City. My Marmot rain jacket saved me today.

Pike Sketching Class

Pike Sketching Class. I laughed to myself when I took this picture, as if I won a battle or something..

P.P.S. Did you know everyone goes to Pike on a Saturday afternoon? I was so claustrophobic, I had to get out ASAP- and I headed back to StoryVille Coffee to hide from the masses. On that note, I found a mass of sketch artists. It was a class of people, I took a picture of them, naturally. Serves you right for trying to sketch me while I’m in my natural habitat. And speaking of natural habitat, today the barista thought I worked at the Pike Place Market. Does that deserve a small, celebratory dance party? I didn’t look touristy, huzzah!

P.P.P.S. (Last one, I swear!): Wandering around waiting for church to start, I found a bicycle path. I think I have a sixth sense about all things bicycles.

Random Seattle Bike Path

Random Seattle Bike Path

Tomorrow, I travel some more. Where? STAY TUNED &  FIND OUT TOMORROW.

Today I felt the first pelts of rain that Seattle is known for…meh. I didn’t get to use my rain jacket as much as I thought I would…but I’ve still got a few more days here so *knock on wood* that I don’t get torrentially down-poured on. It was all cloudy (as seen on my thumbnail)…and then as I railed back, I saw blue skies like this:

seattle blue skies

Because I’ve been touring around, today was kind of a rest day for me. With that said, it was still a 30-minute commute to get lunch. I really wanted to eat some Banh Mi Thit Nuong, so after my search, I decided that I would go to Tammy’s Bakery (off the Othello stop via the SoundTransit…or whatever it’s called). It’s delicious and that place is like a Vietnamese food mecca. Perhaps it was because I’ve been craving Vietnamese food, whatever it was, I wanted to impulsively buy everything.

othello seattle

When I reached this place, as per my Instagram, I felt like I found my people. There was fresh baked Vietnamese-French bread, Cafe Sua Da, Che, and other baked assortments that made my mouth water. After containing myself and buying what I came for, I commuted another 30 minutes, back to the hotel, my temporary home. I admire my aunt, she’s been here on and off for a month-ish. Even if it’s temporary, how do you heal from homesickness? Traveling, transit- it’s makes me restless. There are so many things out of my control, so many things I have to adapt to. I get “comfort-freaks” now. I understand how they reserve  and stay where they feel most comfortable.

These themes, motifs: transit, introspection, control (or lack of), and comfort- they keep coming up in my trip. Sorry if it’s repetitive, but it’s going to happen a whole lot more, I have a lot of time. Tomorrow is another day for these motifs to challenge me, change me, shift my perspective. My only hope is that when I go home, I take these lessons with me…and grow.

This day started off unlike any other: I became friends with four soccer moms from Wisconsin. I guess football/soccer really does bring people together. As we cheered for the USA, Pam, Jan, Becky, and Karen chit chatted about things such as: the word “turnt,” Urban Dictionary, and a bit about me. Also, it should be noted Tito’s Vodka research group- moms like Tito’s. You heard it here first.

After stuffing myself with yet another continental breakfast (it’s pretty damn good btw), I moseyed upstairs to think about where I wanted to go today. All pointed to –> Pioneer Square. Historic, chocolate, Smith Tower. Also…a lot of cyclists were down there.

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View from the Smith Tower and the China Room (or something)

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From Upper Left and Clockwise: Way to Intrigue Chocolate, Caffe Umbria, Grand Central Bakery (?), and London Place

I went to my first chocolate/truffle tasting today. Because Seattle is concentrated (maybe), some stores are between other stores. I’m not very good at explaining it, but I had to use some logic and observation to find some places. There are Starbucks on every corner, it’s saturated with Starbucks…as Whataburger is in Texas I guess.

Something that I’ve realized and utilized a lot is Spotify/iTunes. Going back and forth on the rail, there’s a lot of time being passed, and music helps pass that time (sort of). I listen to my ‘Offline’ tunes and the select tunes I have in my ‘Music’ folder. Public transit is amazing, but the commute of 2 hours (this is for there and back)…it’s kind of exhausting. It’s so out of my control and I just have to let it happen. I’m a Type-A, plan-y person if you couldn’t tell. This trip has definitely put me out of my comfort zone. Way, way out of my comfort zone. Can I go back to Santee? They have a comfy couch there. (Something about growth and post-grad trips and reflection.)

Here’s a random note: I totally witnessed a dad getting his stash of Miller Lite beers from behind the hotel couch. This group proceeded to have a drinking party in the lobby, and it was totally okay. They were all soccer moms and dads. That’s food for thought, no? I sat there for a good 8 minutes trying to process what had happened. Another dad took his bag of cherries out of the hotel urn.

Other short notes: I hate the treadmill. I’ve been over-caffeinating myself, I’ve had like 4 cups of coffee today. Sometimes coffee people are snobby (Caffe Umbria), but sometimes they can be nice (Storyville Coffee)! Just more food for thought.

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Today’s lesson in Thu’s travels: Get over yourself.
Get over it and yourself, because people don’t really care. I will take as many pictures of iconic places as I want. I will eat whatever I want. Hey, I might only get one shot at this adventure, and I’m going to follow my gut. SURE, I might get on a train without paying fare. SURE, I might have circled Pike several times and had to Google how to get home down to crossing the street. IT HAPPENS, get over it. It’s a slow process…but I’m getting over it.

Other notes about Pike Place/today’s adventure:

  1. Transportation. Don’t forget to tap your Orca card. Fare Enforcement will take a picture of your ID if you don’t.
  2. Pike Place is as overwhelming as the 1st time you enter Whole Foods on 6th St. in Austin.
  3. If you think something looks good to you, you should just go ahead and eat it.
  4. Pike Place is like NOLA’s French Market…but less alcohol.
  5. RR’s and Sitting. There are restrooms and sitting areas in Pike Place, you just have to find them.
  6. Hydrate. Maybe bring water? Or fuel on coffee, up to you. Don’t get dehydrated.
  7. There is a City Target by Pike Place, don’t freak out if you forgot your toothpaste.
  8. There are homeless people. (I wrote this in my notes, whatever.)
  9. Wear SPF because did you know that there is sun in Seattle?
  10. Bring cash, because there are some CASH only places.
  11. Own your tourist-ism, but don’t get crazy and obnoxious. No one likes that.
  12. Maybe bring your own charger or battery backup. I was that tourist that charged their phone at a random outlet. Whatever, I’m owning my tourist-ism and technology dependency.

thutexas amtrak

Jeep > Train > Bus > Virgin America Plane > Shuttle, twelve hours later- I’m in my new destination.

I took the Amtrak Surfliner to Los Angeles where I concluded that I hate LA. Sure, I was only here for a couple of hours. Sure, it was probably Murphy’s Law that took over. Sure, traffic is just understood in LA but you know what? I was done before it even began. That’s my bit about Los Angeles.

View from my seat

View from my seat

Let’s talk a little bit about my Amtrak ride:

  • Remember to sit on the side of the train where you’ll end up seeing the ocean (on the Surfliner, it’s the left). Also, sit in the front train cars, they’re cooler.
  • Maybe don’t wear a dress if you’re going to wear a backpacking pack as a carry-on. You might moon someone (speaking from experience, whoops).
  • BYOL. Bring Your Own Lunch. You’ll avoid fast food and bellyache later.
  • Thank baby Jesus that Amtrak provides outlets for your phone because you took too many pictures/videos/selfies.
  • Enjoy the view, it goes by pretty quickly.
  • LAX Union Station– do you have any restrooms because I found zero.
  • PRO Tip: LA Fly Away is what you look for if you’re going to the airport directly from LAX Union Station!!
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LAX Union Station

Here are some of my notes about the airport:

  • People do weird shit.
  • Listen while you go through security so you don’t irritate someone (TSA officers) by accident.
  • Wear pants to Seattle…and in general, check the weather.
  • Changing in airports is norm. I did it.
  • Don’t forget to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
LAX layover, waiting.

LAX layover, waiting.

I was in transit for 12 hours, woof. At least I’m young, I can sleep when I’m dead. Now, onto my next adventure- dominating public transportation. YIKES. Are you following me on Twitter (@thutexas)? #thugoeswest

mtsoledad_thutexas

This is my last night, and all day I’ve been hearing, “shut up,” because we don’t like to talk about it.

My time in this little paradise has come to an end. Apparently camp does bring this sense of nostalgia and deep gap/hole you feel that you miss from your heart. How does one do this year in and year out? I’m glad my camp experience is limited to this rounded, perfect place. They have cinni’s here. And the most rad people. “Rad” is something SoCal people have infected me with (thanks y’all).

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Yeah, La Jolla is perfect. We went here today to watch the seals flail around in the “children’s pool.” Those beachy waves whooshing back and forth. If only they took my worries and stress with them. We also went to Mt. Soledad because they very close to each other. It’s an iconic place if you’re involved with/in Invisible Children. Today, I essentially felt like a roadie. Today was my farewell day/dinner. It was the best and it has been the best. As much as I feel compelled to brush my teeth and sit in bed, I am making myself crank out this sappy, mushy post. There are so many words I can say about today and this whole week (have you been reading my blog or following me on Twitter?). It’s just been one of those weeks. Another week for the books. I’m only half way through the year and I feel like my book has been filled with the best. I’m truly, truly blessed. Every day has not been perfect this year, but oh boy, it could be worse. I wouldn’t trade it for anything (but maybe some cinni’s).

Tomorrow, I head off to my next adventure. Tomorrow, I leave such a great group of people. There’s something that’s heart-warming and heart-wrenching: it’s going to be hard to leave this, and isn’t that just something?