How To Staycation In Seattle

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It’s a pretty universal fact that Memorial Day Weekend is synonymous with taking camping trips and vacations in celebration. But this year we decided to stay put while everyone else travelled, which I know is shocking. But our weekend actually turned out to be such a great success, that I thought I would share our “staycation” details so that others looking to enjoy the beauty that is Seattle can, as well.

We started off our weekend with the greatest vacation of all: sleep. I think a lot of people underestimate how relaxing sleeping in really can be. So, rather than partying all night long on Friday we watched a quick episode of Vikings, and went to bed early. The best.

Breakfast/Brunch

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If you’re ever looking for the perfect brunch, stop by Morsel on 15th in Ballard. Not only is this spot one of our new favorites, but all of the recipes are made on site, and you can taste the difference. I ate the “Fast Break” (without the cheddar) and it was so good, I literally couldn’t stop eating it. What makes it more than “just” a breakfast sandwich is the homemade tomato jam, which (to be honest) I was skeptical of. Shame on me. It was perfection.

Daytime Activities

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Seattle is actually a great city to spend Memorial Day weekend in, because we host one hell of a party, known as “Folklife.” Not only is this a great place for food, fun and music but it also has a distinct hippy vibe that comes from our ‘cultural heritage.’ Oh, and lots of weed. LOTS. The best part is that it’s hosted right under the Space Needle and runs the entire weekend, which means FREE fun whenever it fits into your schedule.

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Our second activity for the evening was to seek out something that still had cultural significance, and was completely new for both of us. We found this at the 2016 Madaraka celebration at the Experience Music Project (EMP) downtown. We were pretty happy that this event was taking place and that it was right next to where Folklife was. After enjoying some Folklife funk, we headed over to the EMP. For those of you who don’t know, Madaraka is an Kenyan holiday that’s generally celebrated in June, but we were lucky for enough to be at this celebration, which was benefiting One Vibe Africa (which I would encourage all of you to check out!). We absolutely loved the musicians who represented all different parts of Africa and the African/African American communities in Seattle.

dsc_4391One of our favorite acts was Nik West, who is a brilliant funk goddess and was absolutely brilliant. She’s, perhaps, best known for her work with Prince, and she rocked the stage with a tower of purple hair, braided in mohawk. Check out her videos on YouTube for a taste of her amazing sound. I was so in love that after her first performance all I could say was, “That was perfection.”

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Morning

Sunday started out with a work meeting that I had to go to, but afterward we headed over to our local farmers market for some lunch. Then it was off to the movies! We walked over to our local movie theater for a matinee showing complete with popcorn and juice (because we’re old, yo – soda is so 5 years ago). We chose XMen: Apocalypse for our movie, because every weekend deserves a little bit of geek in it. The movie, we decided, gets a solid 6.5 stars. It was fun to go to, but overall nothing too exciting. I was pretty sad with the lack of character development for Storm, who is basically the reason I went to the movie. Such a loss.

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Dinner Time

After a little British Invasion via “The Great British Bake Off” our next stop was for a little taste of Italy, with a new restaurant called Pasta Bella. We’d never been to this restaurant before, but we were looking for something new and pasta sounded like perfection. The restaurant was amazing. Our starter was out of this world. And was an olive, tomato, onion, garlic dip with toasted butter bread. Amazing. I also had some yummy spaghetti and overall the restaurant will definitely be re-visited. And even better was that we snagged a Yelp $20 voucher!

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Movie Night

To top off the night, it was my night to choose a movie and chose to watch Begin Again, which stars Keira Knightly and Mark Ruffalo and was a really fun watch. The story follows a the musical lives of a producer, guitarist, musician, Adam Levine and James Corbin (obv. under different names). It was a really fun movie, and I would definitely recommend watching it, if you guys have the opportunity.

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Relax. We slept in, I got a little bit of work done and that we topped it off with a BBQ with friends. Oh! And I finally finished reading my first Descender volume, which is an amazing comic you should all read. I’m such a firm believer in taking a day of rest, so I was just fine chillin’ out for this day. And there you have it. The end of a perfect weekend. Cheers!

Step By Slow Moving Step

A picture from a few days ago in Seattle.
A picture from a few days ago.

Right now I’m sitting on a park cliff overlooking Puget Sound. There’s a slight breeze, and half of the sky is sunny; the other filled with half huge cumulonimbus clouds speckled with highlights of gray and white. Staring at me are the Olympic Mountains. And normally, on a clear day, I would see them fully. But today, they are half hiding behind a dense curtain of clouds. I smell salt water. I hear seals barking on the beaches down below. Preening stay-at-home dads are walking by with their babies strapped proudly to their chests. A boy and his dad are practicing their Dempsey moves. The attire of each person here proclaims their love of hiking, nature and going on adventures.

This is Seattle. And I’m going to miss it – a lot. Sometimes I sit and just think of all the things I’m going to miss about home after I move. It sounds depressing, but I have a good reason for doing so.

I want to make sure I now appreciate what I won’t be able to appreciate once I leave. I want to make a list, and check off every special part of my city, knowing that I’ve enjoyed it fully. 
I want to savor everything. I want to imprint every favorite view, every spot I’m in love with, in my mind. I want to remember the smell of salt water and rain. I don’t ever want to forget home.

I’ve moved away from Seattle before, and I remember the feeling of displacement. How it feels to know you fit somewhere, but that you’re somewhere else instead.

But knowing that I’m going to miss my home city doesn’t make me sad, or prevent me from loving it in the moment. Rather, it makes me relish it. I don’t want to think for one moment, when I’m in France, that I wasted my last few months in Seattle. Because the weird reality is, I don’t know when I’ll have more. One year? Two? Five? Who knows?

Today I was thinking about the past year. It’s crazy how much can change in such a short time. Primarily that my AppleCare on my MacBook just expired, but other things too. We never know where we’ll be a year from now. I would never in a million years have guessed I would be moving to France. I know people always say, “ If you had told me, I would have told you that you were crazy.” But I literally would have.

France wasn’t in the books. There were no plans for it. But now, looking around, it’s incredible how much I seem to have been “preparing” for it for years without knowing. Now, here I am: getting rid of half my belongings and begging my mom to take care of, and love, my goldfish. Change is uncomfortable and inevitable, and I generally don’t like it. But, for one of the few times in my life, this change feels right.

I think it would be natural to step back from this opportunity. It’s intimidating. It feels like a rock wall blocking the path to the next chapter of my life. But, no matter how much I stare at it, it’s not going to dissolve. I know I have to climb it.

My job right now is to make sure I’m prepared, to equip myself and then grab on. Because ultimately, when I get to that end point, everything I’m learning now will enrich and enhance what I’m about to do – I just happen to still be in that stage of equipping.

Sometimes this place is scary, and awkward and frustrating. It’s taken me weeks to fill out paperwork for schooling and my visa etc. And it’s exhausting to not know what to prepare for on the other side. No matter how much work I put in now, how many French lessons, how much money I save, how many ideas I have and packing plans I make, I have no idea if it will be enough. The reality is that it could NOT be.

Regardless, I know the hard work is worth it. Something amazing is waiting for me on the horizon. Maybe it will be everything I ever hoped for – maybe it will be something I never knew I wanted. But, right now, it’s not my job to worry or freak out. My only task is to reach out and grab ahold of it.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

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The PRE paperwork before I can actually start on my paperwork for my French Visa.