Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Leavenworth (aka Fake Bavaria in Central WA)

If you tell people that you're not from WA then their first question will undoubtedly be "oh, where did you move here from?"

My response is, of course, Germany. This will then undoubtedly cause a tizzy of secondary questions and usually ends up with me giving a quick run-down of the past 2 years of my life.

After you get past this stage, there is then the advice I always receive: "You need to visit Leavenworth."

From what I had been told, Leavenworth was painted as a "charming" spot in the mountains of central Washington, with the entire place being modeled after a German village.

You can understand how this created an odd picture for me. I lived in a village in Germany. Sure, it was cute but it wasn't exactly a tourist destination. There was one restaurant (with bangin' pizza) and a fire station. That's it.

What people failed to mention is that Leavenworth is, in fact, a town in central WA that is modeled after what Americans think a village in Germany looks like. AKA shoving all aspects of German stereotypes into about 6 city blocks.

Oh. My. God. I've never seen so many slutty dirndls and lederhosen with tiny shorts in my life (probably for good reason).

Granted, I went for Oktoberfest (of course) but I think my dad and brother were more entertained by the shock on my face at the blatant overselling of German traditions than by the actual festival.

In the end, I'll admit it, I was disappointed. A small part of me wanted to believe that there really was a miniature Germany within 3 hours of Seattle. Once I moved past the sadness though, I was able to see the beauty in the place and the surrounding landscape.

There were famous German fairy tales painted onto the sides of buildings, women in real dirndls sipping from steins, hand-painted signs with "Konditorei" and "Fleischerei" being advertised. And the back drop of surrounding mountains had a very German feel to it. Clearly, people who really loved Germany had tried to make this place into a medley of their fondest memories and somewhere along the way it had become wildly popular with consumers and they had morphed it into something a bit different than originally intended.

In the end, it made me slightly homesick for the happiness I had experienced in Germany but it was also a friendly reminder... I may not be able to experience Germany exactly as I had when I lived there, but I can enjoy the sweet reminder every now and then.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

So Seattle: The Seismic Thread.

One of my newest friends is the co-founder of a pretty awesome blog.

The Seismic Thread is basically a living museum. Ever changing, ever accepting... you can submit all sorts of works of art and, if it's ballin, they post it for the world to see.

Although it's small for now, I have a feeling that the more people hear about it, the more they can create something even more elegantly beautiful.

Last weekend was the first time that I attended one of their Open Mic Nights and it was one of those "so Seattle" moments that I love to have... moments where you realize that you're essentially drinking the hipster-chic-unique Kool-aid and relishing each drop. 

We arrived late due to the fact that the restaurant we had dinner at had a 45 minute long wait (and instead of choosing another restaurant we just decided to drink beer in the meantime) and the fact that we had to stop and get a very important guest beforehand (an extremely cute and very fluffy dog). 

By the time we arrived things were in full swing. Guitar players, opera lovers, bass Gods and just plain old hilarious folk made it a memorable night full of laughter, friends, and the ensuing craziness that accompanies getting such a large group of randos together. 

Ride or die.

When I came back from Germany I had this all-consuming idea that pretty much helped push me forward: I wasn't going to let myself get complacent.

No matter what, I'd never let myself get too comfortable on the couch. Whether that's learning a new skill, doing things that scare the crap out of me, or trying to push myself into situations where I don't feel at ease... basically I was tired of living my life in a haze. 

One of these fresh, eyes-wide-open moments came about this weekend when I took the phrase "ride or die" to heart. 

AKA prayed to God to forgive my sins and let me into heaven should I die on the back of the motorcycle I was somehow clinging onto. This moment was somewhere between speeding around treacherous curves and almost slipping off the back of the moving death trap as it roared up a steep hill. 

By the time we pulled up to the beach we had been headed to I was shivering from cold and shaking from adrenaline. I suddenly understood what all the fuss was about with motorcycles. 

Danger, speed and just the right amount of stupidity make for the best hobbies in my opinion. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Fall Happenings.

You know, I always thought I was a Summer baby. I love beaches, I love water, I love sun. But then today I was walking around in some of the most simplistically perfect weather I've ever experienced and I realized: I just never knew Fall could be so fricken' amazing.

So let's take a moment... in fact, let's take two moments... to enjoy some fall happenings today. (And to decorate our apartments with some pumpkin candles.)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

One last hurrah.

With one day left before mom's looming plane ride back to SC, we decided to go up to Everett and spend all of Friday with dad and Michael. 

We ate. We laughed. We escaped from dad and Michael for an hour or so to get some sanity back. 

It was bitter sweet the entire day because, despite the gorgeous weather and the lazy attitude we all took on, we knew that the peace couldn't last and that mom and I would have to leave early Saturday so she could make her flight. 

It was a special day, probably my favorite day of her whole trip here, with a subtle hint of fall in the air and a feeling of relaxation about it. 

I know that some of my friends think the thought of spending a week straight with their parents would be dreadful, or they can't imagine calling their mom every day... but I've always had a special bond with her that I can't explain and certainly don't feel ashamed of. 

All I can say is that she's amazing and unique and I am going to miss the hell out of her when she's gone. 

And mom, if you're reading this, I'm not giving up on you moving here! I'll tie you up and kidnap you if I have to. 

City of Laughs.

By Thursday night I was starting to feel sad at the thought of my mom leaving... I wanted to soak up every moment we had left together so I told her to come get me from work early and we went into downtown for some adventures. 

After strolling around and inexplicably ending up in a hotel/subway/convention center/orchid-sanctuary, we decided on sushi and a movie for our Thursday night entertainment. 

And boy, was it entertaining. We were seated next to the most rambunctious and outraged group of men, who were lobbying against their employer to get better--well--everything. Pay. Vacation. Benefits. You name it, they were up in arms about it. We just had no idea we were to expect dinner and a show! 

After our sushi happy hour, we crossed the street to go to the movie theater. It was mom's first time in a theater that was multi-story but she handled the escalators like a champ (despite the fact that she hates them) and I think she was at least mildly amused by Guardians of the Galaxy. 

Showing Seattle.

One of my favorite parts of having mom in town was showing her my version of Seattle. I was convinced that if she could see Seattle through my eyes, she'd love it as well. And seeing as how I shamelessly and relentlessly tried to convince her to move here the entire trip... I hope I did a good job.

Picnics in Magnolia? Check.
Strolling in Ballard? Check.
Shopping in Downtown? Check.
Touristing in Pike Place? Check.
Trying the local, hemhem, herbal product? Big 'ol check.

And along the way I'd show her where I grocery shop, where I take my bike, where I bus. Basically anything and everything to share pieces of my world with her. I wanted her to feel like she was a part of my life here and, hopefully, show her a wonderful life she could have here as well.

What do you guys think? Could she get used to a view like this?