Let me begin with a review of 2009, which proved to be a very exciting year (yes I know this is a couple weeks late). In 2009: I worked a lot of jobs (5) as usual, graduated for Pacific Lutheran University with my BA in Econ with a concentration in International Economic Analysis and a minor in Business, four days after graduation I left for Holden Village for four months, had the best summer of my life, came home, attempted a road trip, failed said roadtrip, spent time with my family, pierced my nose, and have been reconnecting with a lot of people from Holden and PLU...even a few from high school. As good as 2009 was, 2010 will be better.Late last year, Meredith, an old roommate somehow managed to scrape together a car to visit me!! It was great seeing her!
Since January 1st, I have been on 5 airplanes, 4 trains, 9 buses, and 8 different cars (none of which were my own). I have spent time in the Seatac, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Denver, and Salt Lake City airports. I am excited that my methods of transport from here on out are only going to get more interesting. That being said, my next 40 days at home are going to include a lot of home time because I have a lot to get ready here before I can leave for Malawi. Ok, that's enough, on to what I've been up to the last couple weeks, and pictures!
Just before the new year, a good friend from Holden came to stay with me for 6 days. We went sailing, hung out in Seattle, went to Ikea, soo exciting. I had a good time showing her the magic of the Pacific Northwest, and she had a grand time (being from Wisconsin) experiencing, what I would later in the week learn is, warm weather. Being that it is SO "warm" here, and actually not raining for a bit, Hannah, my Dad and I took the opportunity to go sailing! It was cold, but beautiful. Good job, January.
My father is a dignified man, as visible by the sun behind his head. It was a good day, overall. After sailing, we went down to Seattle, I'll spare you all of the pictures I foreced her to take being a tourist (with the space needle, with Pike's place, with Yoda, with Tom Hanks's picture, ect.)
The evening I took Hannah to the airport to go back home, our dryer broke so Jeff and Diana and I went to the laundromat so I could do some laundry because I was leaving for Minneapolis, MN the next morning. Somehow this happened.
Those details are a little fuzzy still. Either way, eventually, I finished my laundry, packed up and went to sleep for a few hours before I had to get up the next morning so my WONDERFUL sister could drive me to the airport at 3:00am.
The plainride went smoothly, I flew to Denver, then to Minneapolis. I got there, my friend Maren (I stayed with her) from Holden picked me up from the airport and thus my Mid-west adventure began. Everyone should note that it was 45 F when I left Seattle and I was already sleeping in long underwear. When I landed in Minneapolis it was 14 F and was emediatly informed that I was lucky it was so warm there for a change. It should also be noted that 14 was the coldest I had ever felt.
Maren: What do you want to do while you're here?
Amy: Stand on a frozen lake, drink Caribou coffee, and see the Mall of America.
Maren: No problem
Here are some things I learned right out of the gate: "You have to respect the ice."-Maren Evidently, "respecting the ice" means you have to waddle when you walk...and waddle I did. I also learned that when you first walk outside, rather than taking a deep breath to enjoy the fresh air like I am used to doing in wonderful, wonderful Washington, you have to hold your breath and then proceed to breath in slowly. Not following these simple directions will, absolutely, result in coughing and then having the locals make fun of you. This is a reflex not easily learned. I learned that if you are standing on a frozen lake and you wrap your scarf around your face for extra protection from the cold, that makes condensation on your glasses from breathing. Then, if you stand outside like that for more than a split second, your glasses freeze. Yes, I said freeze. They look like they were just foggy; take my word for it.
I also learned that Minnesotans have to put fake mountains on the walls of their Caribou Coffee's so they can pretend they have mountains. Oh Minnesota, you silly, silly folks.
Inside the Mall of America, there is a lego museam..I can't even make a lego helicopter.
There is a sculpture park, and in the middle is this 1,200 lb cherry on a spoon (famous?). I stood bye it because the pond surrounding it is frozen (frozen bodies of water stood on so far: 2). That was interesting. We didn't very thoroughly investigate the rest of the sculptures because it was soo cold that day. Even with 2 pairs of pants on, a t-shirt, long sleeve t-shirt, flannel, fleece, sweatshirt, jacket, hat, gloved, scarf, it was too cold to be out for more than 20 minutes.
I did learn that it is a bad idea, however, to try to climb the giant spoon because, that is not respecting the ice, and the ice gets angry and makes you fall on your face. I learned my lesson. Thanks for being on top of the camera, Maren.
Maren took me to a place where I got to throw peanut shells on the ground. This, really, has nothing to do with Minnesota, but I've always wanted to, so it's exciting in my book.
What's next in the random collection of things I did in Minnesota? A kite festival on a frozen lake (frozen body of water number 3). Fun fact, if you are at a kite festival, flying a kite on a frozen lake, at sun set, after the sun sets, what you once thought was unbarably cold, becomes, lets get to the car as fast as we can because I think I'm on Pluto-cold.
After the kite festival, Katy took us to a local coffee shop where she has a bunch of her FANTASTIC photos hanging from all of the places she's been. We had ice cream there because since it was -12F, there was a 25% discount to give incentive to eat it. That's right.
Another fun fact: the Mighty Ducks trilogy was filmed for the most part in Minneapolis, MN. We watched the movies, then drove past Mickey's diner (a few scenes from the movie) on our way home from the Minnesota Science Museum where we saw an exhibit on the Titanic (very interesting, go if it comes to a city near you).
That pretty much concludes my Minnesota adventure. Monday morning, Maren dropped me off at the airport on her way to work and I was on my way. I flew from Minneapolis/St. Paul to Denver, to Salt Lake City, and finally to Seatac. There I took the lightrale (train number 1) to Seattle and caught the bus to Everett where I was picked up and taken home.
The next morning I woke up early again, got a ride to the everett station, hopped on a bus to Seattle and got on a train (#2) to Vancouver to visit an old roommate, Kristen and her boyfriend Andrew (also a friend from PLU).
Seeing as I was only in the magical land of Camas for 23 hours, it was a sort of whirlwind of tours of the town, and catching up with each other. It was so good to see her, and everyone I've seen, especially keeping in mind that I won't see them for at least 2.5 years.
The next morning, Kristen and Andrew dropped me off at the train station (#3) where I took the train to Seattle. Once in Seattle I hopped on the sounder (train #4) instead of a bus because the Sounder honors Amtrak tickets (interesting). Jeff picked me up from good ol' Everett station and took me to church where I had some things to do, then someone from church took me home. I pretty much went straight to sleep, woke up this morning, and here I am. It's been an exciting couple of weeks.
Now, I am faced with all of the thousands of little things I have to do before I take off. I need to get rid of all of the things I won't want come June 2012, fill out paperwork, ect ect.
I hope this update will satisfy for a bit because I don't forsee anything exciting coming up for a bit.
40 days until I leave!