marie goes to seattle

marie goes to seattle

Not too long ago, for no real reason at all, I got on a plane to Seattle. I told my dad I was heading over there and I don't think he thought I was serious -- and I don't think I took myself seriously either -- until the very last minute. The night before, 8 hours before the flight, I booked a room and car for under $150 for a 2 day stay.

It turned out to be exactly what I needed. A short getaway from life. And now I'm wondering why I didn't do this more often, or ever, when here I am -- still young enough with no responsibilities tied down to anyone except for my own self. I know this is going to sound entirely cheesy but the reality of turning 29 in just a few short months really opened my mind about how I spent my twenties. The only thing I regret is not doing more of the things I love.

So Seattle. There's so much to do and see. I guess it depends on what you're looking for but this city had everything I liked; culture, art [lots of it!], and character. On my first day, I spent a good amount of time at Pike Place Market. I went straight to Beecher's because they are known for having the worlds best mac and cheese. Not at all disappointing. You can also sit and watch them make their cheese and no exaggeration, there is so. much. cheese. I then found Rachel the Pig and had to get a picture with her. She's a famous piggy-bank named after an actual pig that won the state fair back in the 80s. It's only cool because the pig that won weighed some ridiculous 750lbs! And if you go to Pike Place, you can't leave without visiting the Gum Wall. I think I was most excited about this more than anything else. If you can get over how gross it actually is, you'll love it. Its colorful, it's fun, you get to leave your own wad of history, it's just kind of hilarious. You know what else I think is hilarious? That all the gum is taken off by hand when the walls are cleaned. How crazy is that?

I gave up coffee after nursing school but I had to go see the very first Starbucks. Even if you're not a lover of coffee, you'll get sucked in all the coffee hype. It's the city with the highest coffee consumption in the U.S. I thought DC had a lot of coffee shops because it feels like there is one on every block but Seattle -- they have it everywhere you turn. I tried the coffee at Seattle's Best and Tully's and I can't honestly tell you which one I prefer. They are all that good.

Of course you can't get the entire Seattle experience if you don't make your way to the Space Needle. It's some 40 second elevator ride to the top and once you get to the observation deck, it's a whole new world. If you're a wimp like me, you might feel really dizzy the entire time you're up there. I felt like I was fighting vertigo but the view was so worth it. It was worth every single minute of torture when I thought for sure I would throw up. Mount Rainier was my favorite thing to see. It's easy to spot anywhere from the ground but it looked much more regal from above. By the way, there's a bridge that literally sits on top of the water [so you feel like you're actually on the water, much like a boat I suppose] that you should drive across, if you ever find yourself in Seattle, with the coolest view of Mount Rainier.

The next day, I went to as many museums as I could. And let it be known that there's a plethora of museums to choose from. Museum enthusiasts, take note. I took a drive to Fremont in the afternoon to visit the troll under the bridge. If you can climb it, do it. It's neat to see this work of public art up close. Before I headed back to the airport to catch my flight, I walked around Olympic Sculpture Park. That was the spot for me, personally. I don't know what it was because it was an overcast day and standing at the top of the hill overlooking the water and mountains, it just seemed like for a few minutes, everything made sense. I think those realizations are important -- it's a good reassurance that no matter what we're trying to get away from, everything is going to turn out ok.

I think its safe to say that Seattle was good to me.

marie goes to san diego

marie goes to san diego

Back in February, I was offered an interview at the University of San Diego for a doctorate program I was interested in. Fun fact: the interview was for the NEXT school year?! What a tease. Anywho, there wasn't much convincing to be done because all I heard was San Diego and I was sold. My stay there was a whopping day and a half. I wasn't given much time to plan an actual stay but I had such a great time there that I packed the official visitor guide from my hotel with me on my flight home so I could bookmark all the places to see and do for a real vacation. 

The morning of my flight to San Diego, I remember the temperature being 18 degrees. But I couldn't pack a winter coat with me so I tried to layer as much as possible with outfits I could utilize on my short visit as well. I thought I was being clever but actually it was uncomfortable waddling around through security and getting in and out of the train. As if the commute to the airport wasn't bad enough, the worst part was waiting to board the plane and freezing in the process. But as soon I landed in San Diego, I stripped down to a tank top... it was 74 degrees! Sunny! Palm trees! And it was heaven. It warmed my skin and my soul. 

Of course the first thing I did was head over to In-N-Out because, you know, priorities. Why are those burgers the best burgers ever? And the strawberry shake? I ate outside, in my tank top [did I mention that already?] and I hate to admit it but I did order for two people even though I might have been by myself. San Diego, you know how to treat a woman right -- welcoming her with burgers and fries and strawberry shakes like I'm not trying to watch what I eat and be all organic.

I then spent the rest of the day walking around Balboa Park. There's so much to do and see in Balboa Park! The museums are all wonderful, the botanical garden is to die for, I met the coolest man playing the harp -- how often will you find a guy who plays hip hop music on the harp? -- I splashed my feet through the fountain and walked around with the most delicious bag of caramel popcorn in the history of caramel popcorn. It would have been the perfect date, really. 

The next morning, I woke up early with the intention of hiking Potato Chip Rock because you can't go to San Diego and not hike it. If you  have no idea what I'm talking about, go to instagram and look up #potatochiprock. The only problem was when I got there, I was told that I should be prepared to wait for hours for a picture on the famous sliver of stone that looks like a potato chip. From the people who were on their way down from the rock, I was told that the line was approximately a 3 hour wait. I had my heart set on this hike but I didn't want to be late for my interview that afternoon either. I left feeling disappointed but just another reason to come back, right?

Instead, I went to La Jolla's art and music library where I picked up a map to find the 13 murals scattered downtown. If you ever do this, be prepared to look behind buildings in places you'd least expect. Afterwards, I still had some time left so I headed to central San Diego where I grabbed a bite to eat at Waypoint Public because I had heard so much about it. It was hipster, by the way. I ordered the grilled cheese on sour dough bread with caramelized onions and sweet potato soup with cucumber water. It's like everything tastes ten times better in this city.  

The University of San Diego is actually a Catholic university. It's up in the mountains and it is breathtaking. I got there an hour early where a nice priest told me to see the Garden of the Sea. I tried to take a picture with my iphone but it just  didn't do it any justice. The Garden of the Sea overlooks the entire city of San Diego and everyone who knows anything about it will urge you to go when the sun is going down -- it has the most perfect view of the sunset. It's also famous because the Dalai Lama walks in that garden every time he visits the campus. I can't really describe it except that  I'm not sure I've ever experienced anything so peaceful. 

I started working on getting my license in California back in February. Apparently it's quite the lengthy process. I think it's safe to say that while I haven't made any concrete plans yet, the fact that I applied for an endorsement there is a step away from DC. I could see myself there, one day owning a little cottage with a white fence. I would plant lemon trees in my front yard. Have freshly squeezed lemonade all the time, bake lemon bars, muffins, cakes, and anything and everything else you can use lemons for.