Sunday, July 27, 2014

Oh, Canada!

Oh my goodness, oh my goodness! Oh, my Canada! 

Why have my Seattlites been hiding the beauty and brilliance that is Canada?! 

Also, why have I not previously taken advantage of the fact that I can slip away into another country, and have all of the fun of being somewhere new with new currency and new stores and new accents, without having to learn a new language? 

I've heard more Canadian jokes in my day than most people hear in a lifetime (shocker: it isn't true that all Canadians ride to work on the back of a moose and drink maple syrup by the gallon) but this trip just confirmed what I've always suspected... Canadians are pretty much just a giant country of sweethearts. With a better grasp on what bacon should really be like (God America, why are we putting it in super tiny strips?). 

The countryside around Vancouver was so breathtaking, with crystal clear lakes that you wished you could dive into, while the city itself was charming and expansive. Honestly though, I would have been lost without the group of people I went with. They all helped to plan a great itinerary which included a mix of outdoorsy fun and city sightseeing. Classic PNW! 

Between stumbling my way across a swinging suspension bridge, dipping my toes into white water rapids, catching some rays next to a gorgeous lake and posing for a selfie in front of a plummeting gorge, I was in love with this area. The fact that a major metropolis is located only minutes away, with great nightlife and tons of restaurants and activities, just adds to the fun. 

When in Canada... do as the Canadians do.

Things I learned on the trip to Canada:

1) Do not anger Canadian border control. You think Canadians are super polite? Not these ones.

2) Do not arrive in Vancouver at 10:30 PM expecting to just find a hotel room on the fly. It is so not going to happen. You will struggle.

3) Canada is shockingly similar to America in some ways and shockingly different in other ways. (Repeat after me: not miles per hour, kilometers per hour.)

4) Vancouver scenery is almost as gorgeous as Seattle scenery. Almost.

5) When traveling with 4 men, and you're the only woman, try and be flexible. No shopping. No food/drink breaks every hour. And yes, you will inevitably be slower than them simply because you're legs are smaller.

6) Also when traveling with men: do not be shocked when they take 3x as long as you to get ready in the morning.

7) Most importantly, Canada is amazing! And traveling with fun, bright people always makes it better!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Canada, here we come!

Confession time: I was born with a bug in me. A travel bug. Every few months, it starts to do a little jig and demands that I hit the road and visit someplace new. 

This weekend its Vancouver, Canada! 

Second confession: I collect international Amazon workers as friends apparently. No... seriously. In t-minus 30 minutes I will be piling into a car with 4 Amazon interns, from around the world, to drive our happy butts the 3.5 hours up to Canada to then meet up with 8 other Amazon interns. 

How did I meet these people? I dunno. But I love it. 

Keep your eyes open for some awesome Canada adventures to follow! I'll be off the grid until Sunday but then you can bet your sweet patooty that I'll be blogging up a storm. 

Now where in the world did I throw my passport? I just had it a second ago!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Spot the hipster.

Sometimes I feel like living in Seattle is just a big game of spot the hipster.

You see somebody walking down the street in Capitol Hill with a cigarette in one hand, a coffee in the other and a hoodie that they thrifted last weekend. Congrats. You've spotted the obvious hipster.

You go to Ballard and find this cute little record shop. You walk in and you haven't heard of a single band, you haven't a CLUE who's playing over the stereo and all of the people there have this blasé "own it, own it, own it, don't want to own it, own it" look in their eyes as they flip through records. Congrats. You've spotted the hipster hangout.

You're taking a trip down to Pike Place because, let's face it, despite the tourists it is still a good place to get some awesome German deli meats or a quick meal. You see an old man who is busking to the side, playing Bach on a portable, classic, wooden piano. (How did he get it there?) Congrats. You've spotted the unintentional hipster.

You're at dinner with a couple friends. You mention how you don't really like the mason-jar-style glasses because you've seen them everywhere for the past three years and think they're overdone. Congrats. You are now officially making hipster comments.

Needless to say, Seattle is full of characters. That's part of what makes it so much fun and such a treat to live here! You'll never live the same day twice in a city so built on uniqueness.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Saturday Mornings.

When I was in high school and college I would randomly take myself out to breakfast or a movie, just to have some much needed me time. My mom used to think it was so brave/weird of me to walk into a pancake house and get a table for one and just happily munch away in silence. But I loved it. It was a time for me to spend with my own thoughts for once, thinking about my life or my goals or simply people watching.

Something about it is very cleansing.

Lately I've been trying to have at least one weeknight and a few hours on the weekend which I reserve for myself. Don't get me wrong, I still love (and need) having friends around and I'd go crazy if I didn't have fun plans to look forward to after work but there's something so sweet and simple about a calm Saturday morning or a relaxing Thursday night.

Making breakfast for one!
Classic Tully's Coffee.
Throw in some magazines for good measure.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Wait... what?

Seattle has officially claimed me for the dark side. Somehow this group of ultra-chic, super-hip tree huggers convinced me to go camping.

And I friggen loved it. 

After driving two hours outside of Seattle with my boys (aka Kellen, Chris and Scott), we arrived at the first campsite.

Not a single space left. Well there goes Plan A.

Plan B! We basically just chose a direction and started driving in the hope that we would find a campground. Somehow, in the way that can only occur when you have faith, we managed to snag the last spot at a ground 5 miles away. They even had a water spout and a "bathroom" (a.k.a. hole in the ground with walls around it). 

Our spot was technically a "day spot only" site but the camp host took pity on us since this was the last campground for miles and let us take it. Which meant that we had an amazing, completely secluded spot with river access, a fire pit and the epitome of camping luxury... a picnic table... all for a day spot price. 

Then the real fun began! Our hodgepodge group spent the night drinking, eating, drinking some more, drunkenly falling down ledges (oh wait, that one was just me...) and attempting to play games before just giving up and drinking some more. 

Needless to say, it was amazingly fun. Also needless to say, I regretted all the drinking so much when we decided to go on a 5-mile hike the next day. That was when we learned that hungover Morgan is not ever going to be a hiking queen. I believe the words "there is nothing about this that I enjoy" may have slipped my mouth. But that was before we arrived at the cascading waterfalls and dipped our heads in the gorgeous rapids to cool off!

By the time we left to head back to my beloved Seattle, I was an official convert and ready to plan our next trip into the wilderness (only this time perhaps with less booze).

Monday, June 23, 2014

Crazy 22!

I jumped out of a plane. I jumped out of a plane. What was I thinking?!

Back in May I asked my dad if I could go skydiving for my birthday in mid-June and he agreed. My dad and brother did static line but I was determined to feel the free fall sensation so I did tandem instead.

Best. Decision. Ever.

It was easily the coolest, most thrilling experience of my life. My tandem partner had been skydiving for a decade and he was amused by my over-the-top excitement and palpable fear. He quickly learned that when I get nervous, I make cheesy jokes. I told him he was a mighty fine man to fall to death with and asked if we could go down chest to chest. To which he laughed and said, "it's super uncomfortable!"

As I was walking out to board the plane he yelled over the noise "Get on last. We're jumping first!" and it was exactly what I wanted. I would have hated seeing the bodies fall out before me and watch as there were slowly less and less people.

We started climbing to 5,000 feet, then 10,000 then finally 14,000 feet in the air my instructor tapped me to let me know it was time.

There was no 3... 2... 1 nonsense. No communication. I knew that when we slid to the edge of the plane, I was expected to hook my feet under the belly of the plane and then wait the half a second for my instructor to push me out.

We whipped out, stabilized and suddenly I couldn't breathe as the ground rushed towards me and the tiny plane flew on to toss out more passengers. One minute. That's how long we were falling through the air without a parachute. It was just long enough for me to remember to breathe, to enjoy the incredible feeling of falling and flying mixed together.

Then I heard the pop and my body was yanked back by the parachute opening. The air was suddenly warmer and my instructor loosed the strap on my harness so I could breathe easier. Then we were soaring.

Overall, I think I was only in the air for between 6-8 minutes but it was breathtaking. I tried my best to enjoy the scenery, enjoy the sensations, enjoy the fact that I was alive and the chute had opened.

Best birthday ever.