Unlike most people who migrate to warmer climates with balmy weather for their spring break and drink and live particularly debaucherous lives for a week, I tend to go to colder climates to experience the ordinary, to share a glass of wine and a potluck dinner. Last spring break I went to Chicago, which had a huge snow storm the day before I got there. I met up with my future roommate Jen and we explored the frozen downtown together. This is a picture from last year at Lake Michigan in Chicago.
Luckily the weather was less dismal this year. I went up to Portland and the day that I came in was particularly sunny for that area, as was the day after that. I should be so lucky to be given two days of sunshine! I was staying with my friend Clara. Let me tell you a little about our friendship: We'd never been that close and hadn't spoken all that much in Baltimore. We'd tried to get together a couple times and it didn't work out. But her life has been very similar to mine. She quit going to MICA a semester before I did and then she moved to the West Coast two weeks before I did. Granted she moved to Portland and I to Quartz Hill (huge difference). But when she came to pick me up at the airport we started talking and didn't really stop until well after midnight -- and I came in at 4.45 in the afternoon! To say the least it was good. We've both been dealing with being friendless, moving through ups and downs in single days trying to maintain a new life. I really appreciated talking to someone who knew what I was feeling so dearly. Clara, if you read this: I cannot thank you enough!
Unfortunately for the people who read this, I'm not a good tourist photographer. I really dislike being in an unfamiliar place flailing my camera around and pointing it at people and places I do not know. But here are a few from Portland.
I visited PNCA on thursday. I can't say that I was impressed. To be honest, it would be hard to beat MICA, as it is one of the top five art schools in the country, and a very well respected one at that. It was very disjointed and the art was of a lesser caliber than I was expecting. That said, I've decided not to go back to school. I'm afraid no one is going to believe me when I say I'm going to do one thing or another anymore. But I really feel like that is the way God wants me to go. I felt a huge burden lift as I decided that. I'm not positive what I'm going to do now and I hesitate to rush into anything. But I will keep you updated on my ideas and decisions.
Then thursday it was time to leave Portland. I had a wonderful time there and cannot wait to move there! My train to Seattle left shortly after Clara's roommate's train who was also traveling to Seattle that day. These are some of the photos I took while on the train. I appologise for the terrible quality, the windows were tinted and the white balance was off a bit...
Rachel met me at a wonderful book shop called Elliot Bay Books. It was a gorgeous old building with bare wood floors and creaky old staircases and landings, and it was covered top to bottom, wall to wall with books. We went out for Thai food that night at a place down the street from her house which was delicious.
The next morning Rachel had to work so I walked around her neighborhood (its called Fremont) and took pictures and enjoyed its beauty and small feeling even in the midst of a big city. I walked to a bridge where there is a troll underneath the bridge -- but no worries, he's only a sculpture! And I had a coffee and sandwich at the Fremont Cafe.
Then that night after Rachel got home there was a community dinner at her house. This has been going on for a couple years now and it happens every saturday night -- so if you're in the area and its a saturday: go there! Rachel is the one in the pink top.
Then the next day Rachel and I went to the Fremont and Ballard Markets. At the Fremont Market I found some fantastic old photographs and a coin from Lebanon, minted 1952. I also found two turn-of-the-century postcards from Japan.
Then on the way to the Ballard Market I saw these cute ducks.
Then when it was closing up we went to Cupcake Royale. I had Triple Threat cupcake which means it has three kinds of chocolate. It was very delicious! These are some pictures from the inside of the shop.
After that we power walked to the Theo Chocolate Factory where we had made reservations for the tour at 4.30p. It was really cool. Its honestly just down the street from Rachel's house. They make their chocolate organically and the cacao beans are fair trade. We were given samples during the tour and, I've got to say, all those little pieces of chocolate certainly add up. I was pretty much done with chocolate by the end of the tour. I didn't even know that was possible! Then that night I made dinner for us. It was brown rice with fresh avocados and lemon-garlic clams on top. It was pretty delicious, if I don't mind my saying so!
Then the next day (monday) it was time to leave the Pacific Northwest. One of Rachel's roommates (Beth) had a friend (Lauren) that was staying there while I was and her flight left an hour before mine (weird, how that keeps happening!). We both went down to Pike Place Market, though not at the same time, I wasn't ready when she was. But I did see the back of her head at one point but that was it. Anyways, its a really great place where everything smells good and real. The scent of fresh fruit mingling with the slightly pleasing smell of just-caught fish from the Puget Sound. Not to mention the stalls and stalls of brilliantly coloured daffodils and tulips and countless bouquets.
I walked around the area by Pike Place too. The first picture is fresh cheese being made.
Then on my flight home I flew into San Francisco airport for a transfer and flew over the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.
Finally home I saw that my plants had gotten along wonderfully without me. My potato plant had begun to flower, my baby sempervivium were growing in their water jar (I wasn't really expecting them to!), and my other succulent was sprouting new babies too.
So, that's been my life in the past week, if a bit wordy. I want to thank everyone who helped me on this trip, whether by housing or feeding me or helping me think a little straighter. Its been a rather difficult time but I surely couldn't have done it without you all. I did tell my parents I wasn't going back to school. I'm still looking for something to do in its stead but I'm not sure what that is yet. This summer I'm hoping to work on a farm in Maryland, Pennsylvania or Virginia. We'll see what happens but I don't know what to do beyond that. I will figure it out someday but I don't need to right now. And thats okay with me.