Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Road Trip Alone

A road trip I had "planned" on going on actually happened. I stayed up late Wednesday night finishing a paper and packing the night before I left for the trip. On Thursday after my Human Anatomy lab I packed a few more things into my car and head North on the 101! With about 7 and a half hours of driving to go, I found myself accompanied with nothing and no one but a Sufjan Steven Christmas album and my heater. I was excited about being alone and driving. It was going to be fun!

After I arrived late Thursday evening to one of my best friend's apartments we went on a midnight Portland walk through town to grab a doughnut at the oh-so-famous "Voodoo Donuts" where I got a doughnut called: the triple chocolate penetration it's a chocolate cake doughnut with chocolate frosting and coco-puffs!

The next day, Friday, Brooke and I had to wake up early because my car was in illegal parking. Turns out it's a bitch parking in Portland if you have a college student's size wallet. We went to the Waffle window, which was fantastic. Brooke got a 3 B waffle (bacon, brie, basil) and I got a pumpkin pie waffle (because it was close to Thanksgiving)! We walked around the Portland Hawthorne District, went to some cute shops, got Boba tea (also known as Bubble tea I found out), and found a beautiful Portland yarn shop called Happy Knits (sounds like happiness!) After finding parking Brooke and I went to the market to get some things she needed to make dinner. She made Chicken Vesuvio for dinner and for dessert a 5-minute-chocolate-cake-in-a-mug-in-a-microwave! It was wonderful and we spent a good amount of time photographing all the food before we ate it.

Saturday morning Brooke had said that we could park the car in a parking lot all day for just 5 dollars! So we parked in the parking lot and a man asked if we were going to but a parking pass. Turns out he was leaving and so we were given a free parking pass. I was very excited about it. We walked through town to the amazing Farmers market! It was a beautiful place to be in with young families all buying the week's produce, people eating good food, and flowers. It felt like home and with Brooke talking about how much she wants to have children it made me start thinking having a family wouldn't be so bad. Brooke bought a bottle of cranberry-blueberry juice after we ate our tamales. We went back to the apartment to get some mittens and then headed off to explore the other Portland districts. We hit the Downtown, SW, NW 23rd, Pearl, and Hawthorne. We went into Powel's books. I thought it would be fun to walk around recording all the rows of book and people walking by, I did it with my camera looking like it was just hanging on my neck though (so no one actually knew the camera was on). I have about 30 minutes recording of just walking around looking at books. I think I got Boba tea twice within two days. While walking through the "snobby" side of town we sang/mumbled a Charlie Brown Christmas song.

After being out all Saturday Brooke and I both were extremely tired so we decided to take a short nap before continuing our evening. Two or three hours later we woke up. I think we both felt like old grandma's for taking a nap for so long. When we woke up we finished watching Fantastic Mr. Fox and watched another movie.

Sunday morning I woke up early and headed North, once again! It was a little more frightening for me to drive now because I was going even farther than I had originally planned and it also started to snow. I had never driven in the snow. I stopped in Vancouver, Washington for a couple hours and said hello to a friend and went to church with her. It was interesting hearing how other people are growing out of their childhood and diving into their adulthood.

I arrived tired and warm (despite it being freezing outside) in Seattle about four hours later. I stayed at a friend's house there and she was very kind to take me out to coffee and show me a little bit around her new found home. She explained how wonderful her life was there and how she has been successful building her community there. We went to a mega church called Mars Hill. It was thee hugest gathering of people my age that I've ever seen for something Christian related. Everyone seemed so put together and glamorous for some reason. The pastor had a leather jacket on was looking very stylish. This is not to say it was a shallow church at all. I saw many people actually taking notes during the service. The music was awesome, I loved how the band wrote their own songs. The message was awesome. It focused on how we need to be prepared at any moment. The pastor said something that I had always thought of before. Something to the effect of "Well if I'm wrong? Well I'll have nothing to loose. But you? You who do not believe? You will have everything to loose." Of course he said it better. After church Chelsea and I went to the Saint Mark's Cathedral and listened to the monks sing. All the pews were filled and people we unfolding their blankets to sit and listen to these human angels sing hymns. It was like gold wave frequencies were entering my small ears and filling my whole body with an indescribable joy. I just wanted to sit on that cement floor for the rest of my life. When Chelsea, her bearded 'friend', and I went back to the house some friends of hers were already there with a game of trivia and a couple empty bottles of wine. It was fun even thought I am probably the worst trivia team-mate to ever exist.

Monday in Seattle was really laid back. I woke up to a wonderful surprise with a fresh blanket of snow that covered everything outside. Chelsea and I had eggs and muffins for breakfast. We put elf on, talked, and watched the snow fall down from the sky like light, white feathers. I had planned on meeting a friend for coffee, Chelsea told me that it would be wise to go at least 30 minutes earlier than when we were going to meet up for coffee. I decided to go a couple hours before my friend Jeremy and I were going to meet up. Turns out it was a very wise decision because I had to park nine blocks away. I called Jeff, my Arcatian neighbor and friend and talked to him while I was walking towards Jeremy. He directed me to the most beautiful yarn shop I've ever been in in my whole life. I picked up a 75$ skein of yarn. It was so beautiful, but I put it back down on the shelf with ease. I actually didn't buy any yarn, which was strange. I bought my mom a Christmas gift at the World Market and headed towards the Public Market.

I walked through the fish section where many burly bearded men were working. I walked by a cutlery shop, a cheese shop, and a book shop. In the book shop the shop owner's little child was riding his scooter around in circles. It seemed like a game for him to see how many times he could get me to move out of his way. At first it was annoying then I decided that I thought it was really funny. I met my friend Jeremy, who I had briefly met earlier this summer. I found out he was born and raised in Pennsylvania, went to college in Virginia, and moved to Washington about 2 and a half years ago. He used to be a youth pastor but now he would like to roast coffee beans and be a professional coffee bean roaster, which I thought was the coolest thing ever. We went to Thai food for dinner, I had never actually went out to Thai food before except for one other time (but that time didn't count because I didn't order for myself). I ordered this lemongrass-mushroom-chicken soup, it was so so good. After dinner he walked back with me through the snow the nine blocks to my car and then I drove him to his regular transit station corner. It was nice to meet him a little less breifly than the last time.

I planned to drive the 10 hours back to Humboldt that night. Things turned out a little differently than I expected. I was pretty much parked in traffic for 8 hours. I am not exaggerating. So this 'little' ten hour trip took me roughly twice as long than I had originally thought it would. I was either driving in my car, filling up my tank with gas, or napping in the front seat for the next 24 hours after my pleasant Thai dinner with Jeremy. It didn't help that I couldn't talk to anyone the whole way because my phone had died a couple hours into my waiting the traffic.

It snowed all through the night. It was probably the closest I've ever been to death in my life. I was scared. I was alone. The only comfort I had was that my heater never failed me. While the trees violently shook in the frigid wind and snow, I was toasty warm from my nose to my toes. It wasn't smart for me to keep the heater on while I was driving, however whenever I would put the air conditioner on or roll down the windows my whole being would fill up with despair from the reality that I really had no idea where I was, only that I was following the directions I had researched on the internet while I was getting ready for the trip back. The naps helped, the Burger King breakfast made me stay awake because my stomach hurt so bad from it, Sufjan Stevens tried his hardest to shove some Christmas spirit into my weary sole soul, and the slapping my face repeatedly and screaming the loudest I could also contributed to my being alive to write this blog post.

So Tuesday morning the 23rd of November, I woke up in the late afternoon in my bed in my apartment in Arcata. I missed the previous Thanksgiving dinner with my mom, dad, brother, and close family friend Yesi because of the unexpected delay of snow traffic. I started the six and a half hour trip South towards Modesto. When I arrived at home that evening I was welcomed and scolded by my parents. The next morning, early my mom, dad, and I left for Santa Maria where we would spend a couple days with family celebrating Thanksgiving and catching up on what was happening. Thanksgiving was wonderful and a little off kilter this year. It seemed to be a quiet because all the extremely loud cousins weren't there this year. I wish I was the loud cousin. I think I tried to be a little bit but since no one else was being loud with me I felt like I was yelling in a library so I decided to crawl back into my regular shell.

Coming back to Modesto took forever. We added an extra hour onto our trip because my dad had to stop by a car dealership where he had entered to win a brand new car. Of course we did not get a brand new car. Saturday I went shopping with my mom. Sunday was the only day my brother had off of work so the whole family went on an outing that I suggested to see Harry Potter. I love Harry Potter. I decided after the movie ended that I would read all the books and get really into it. I went to church and talked a little bit with a couple friends I hadn't seen in a while. I packed and wrote out directions.

A 3:50 am this morning I woke up and got ready to go back to school. I had to take naps along the way because I kept falling asleep. I drove about 20 minutes with the gas light on because there wasn't a gas station for the longest time. I was scared I was going to destroy my car. I prayed for all down hills so I wouldn't have to use the gas pedal at all. I think it worked pretty well because I really didn't use the gas pedal that much. I missed my music class and didn't turn in two assignments for my Statistics class. I took a nap and talked with my roommates for the rest of the night. I am still unloading all the laundry I took home to do. My bed is just the mattress tonight and my room is a disaster. I am scared for the rest of my semester.

I am very thankful to be alive and to have gone on this trip. I don't know if I regret not asking anyone to go with me yet. I'm sure it would have been easier. However is easier always better? Maybe it is. I learned a few things about myself. I have trouble being comfortable around people and not being an awkward person. I'm still trying to figure out if it's all in my head or if other people sort of get an awkward vibe from me as well. I have also discovered that I do enjoy relaxing while I am traveling, however, I like the option of doing an unlimited amount of extremely fun things. I think that from now on before I go travel somewhere, I will research where I am going and find really interesting things to do or to see. I don't want to be a boring 'sight-see-er', however I do want to be able to get a lot out of where I travel if I would like to. Not just the highlights of where I am going but rare and interesting things of where I am going.

So from November 18th to November 28th I have traveled approximately 2,400 miles (not including walking around.) (This is including driving with my parents to and from Santa Maria from Modesto.)

This is just a slice of what I endured on my trip. I hope to have many more travel posts! Perhaps next time with another person to drive when I am spent!