Yair and I are now en route to Phoenix after an incredible week in Seattle. I apologize for the temporary slow-down in posting, but I was having way too much fun over the past seven days to stop and write something for the blog. I will take advantage of this flight to catch you up with a two-part post on our very first and very awesome visit to Washington state.
Seattle is very green, lush and beautiful. There are lakes everywhere and many suburbs look like they were built in the middle of a forest. The colors are bright and the place feels alive. Our first hosts were cellists who live in a beautiful home on Mercer Island. Janet and Ricardo spent the first year of their marriage living in Caracas (Venezuela) and playing in government-sponsored orchestras at a time of curfews and riots. Janet and Ricardo regaled us with fascinating stories and treated us to our first taste of Pho on Thursday afternoon.
My Faces of Israel program on Thursday went well but was really nothing out of the ordinary… until we left the building. The event started at seven in the evening and when we left the temple around 9:15 pm, it was still light outside! The sun hadn’t yet set and it was bright as daytime. It took a moment to adjust to sunset times way up north, but the extra daylight was a welcome surprise.
Every now and then, my mom asks if I have visited any places where I could see us settling down. The answer has mostly been ‘no’ or ‘I don’t know’ though Yair and I are both interested in experiencing Austin (Texas) and Portland (Oregon), cities that are known for their quirkiness and granola vibe. Within the first day or two of this trip, I realized that Seattle is a pretty crunchy city itself. Private homes and public streets house not just one or even two disposables containers, but at least three containers: trash, various recyclables and compost.
Seeing compost bins on street corners threw me at first, but experiencing environmentally-friendly and waste-saving practices on a municipal level and not just a personal one is pretty awesome. The city charges residents based on the size and quantity of their trash bins, providing an incentive to recycle and compost whatever possible. As you quickly learn, a lot is compostable. On a different – but not too different – note, we spent one morning at a senior center where I encountered an interesting sign. Between the men’s restroom and women’s restroom in the lobby, a sign noted that a gender safe bathroom was available on the 2nd floor. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see this sign on a college campus or at a GLBT center, but at a regular senior center in Seattle – wow.
Yair and I spent the weekend in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, which is home to large grunge, hipster and gay populations. Hundreds of Lindy Hoppers roamed the streets of Seattle this weekend as well, but I’ll get to that in the second post. Yair and I managed a quick visit to the Pike Street Market, an open-air market located right on the water with tons of fresh and innovative produce. We tasted fifteen different types of aged balsamic vinegars, five types of honey and we were even handed raw pieces of pasta to munch on that came in flavors like chocolate, banana and rosemary where the flavorings had been baked into the pasta dough.
A highlight of our weekend was spending time with my college friend Yoni, his wonderful wife Michelle and their family. Yoni was known as the “Jewish cowboy” in college, a nickname that he earned as a practicing Orthodox Jew who embodied an extra large dose of patriotism and wore a cowboy hat, belt and boots to match his southern personality. Yoni is now a pilot in the U.S. Air Force and regaled us with stories of his training, his buddies and the mega-planes (“heavies”) that he flies. Spending time with Yoni and his family was very surreal. I hadn’t seen him in three years since his wedding and he seemed so grown up – a husband and father of two with a house, car, mortgage, dog and – oh yeah – C-17 military plane. In a strange way, visiting Yoni and Michelle was like seeing an alternate version of my own life – a life that I could have had but chose not to. Has anyone shared this feeling before?
All in all, it was wonderful spending time with old friends, making new friends and exploring the beautiful city of Seattle. A post on Camp Jitterbug will come soon!
PS- Today is Yair and my six-year anniversary. We’ve been together since we were nineteen and, my G-d, does time fly! We’ll be going to a restaurant called Hula’s with friends tonight for a different occasion, but it’ll make a great anniversary celebration as well. 🙂
posted by ayo