Washington State/Seattle Trip, July 2016

I see why everyone wants to move to Seattle.

It seems that’s all I hear these days: “Where do you want to end up?” “Well, Seattle’s cool.”

Yes, my friends. Seattle is cool. Take me with you, please.

Gas Works Park, as seen in “10 Things I Hate About You.”

I’ve just returned from a weeklong vacation in Washington State. Maddie, one of my best friends from college, got married, and decided to run the risk of having me walk down the aisle before her. And also put me in a delicate dress that I later spilled beer on. It will forever reek of a glorious night.

It was the first wedding I’ve been in, and the festivities were a joyful blur of laughing until our stomachs ached at some nostalgic story, and nearly welling up (and actually welling up) thinking: my dear friend, who I knew when we were eighteen – just entering adulthood – and would blast “Numa Numa” to rev ourselves up for intramural volleyball games, is about to get married. Not to mention, she was marrying another friend from college, Seth, who we both met when he joined our intramural volleyball team sophomore year. This world, let me tell you.

Maddie and I in 2009:

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And now:

We’ve grown up into such dignified young ladies.

The wedding was in Poulsbo, a town northwest of Seattle, on a charming farm, on a grassy knoll overlooking a forest, with mountains in the background. The scene was surreally beautiful, and despite a foggy start, the mountains “came out” (as they say here when the clouds burn off) just in time for the ceremony.

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Excuse me, I think I have something in my eye.

What I didn’t expect about being in a wedding – silly me – is how many friends you make! All of the cousins and aunts and childhood friends I’d heard Maddie talk about over the years were there in the flesh. And they were just as awesome as I thought they’d be. As you can see:

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Minus the dork at front left trying to be edgy with a bouquet in hand.

There was plenty of energetic dancing at the reception, despite a moment of panic when it looked like there would be a bridesmaids dance (even this, I felt, wouldn’t be enough to save me). But I did dance (that’s when the spillage occurred … ), and even requested “Numa Numa” for old times’ sake.

At 10:30, the groom helped me look up ferry times, and Amy drove us to the shore and onto the Bainbridge ferry. I barely registered the sensation of being in a car on a boat and the blurry shimmer of the lights across the water before falling asleep. The nice ferry man woke us when we arrived in Seattle by pounding his fists on the hood of our car, and we drove off into the city as nonchalantly as one can after drooling down one’s chin in a car on a boat.

Sunday through Tuesday I spent with Amy in Seattle. She boldly moved out there last November just because she wanted to (Seattle is cool, remember?), and has since found four jobs, two apartments, and a group of friends that is truly a squad, though I mock her whenever she labels them thus. Mindblowingly, Amy’s good friend and soon-to-be roommate in Seattle is also the best friend (and former roommate) of my current roommate in DC. And they all attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison, graduating the same year, though Amy didn’t know either of them then. Midwest ties sure run deep.

I had done plenty of touristy Seattle sightseeing when I visited Maddie and Seth back in 2014, so with Amy, I mostly wanted to see her neighborhood, her work, her hangouts. So that’s what we saw. In between destinations, we blasted music and sang loudly. I am terrible with contemporary music, so the joke was that I’d ask, “Is this ‘Cheap Thrills?'” every time a new song came on.  Surprisingly often, it was.  And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that we listened to plenty of Macklemore, as Seattle is his hometown.  I’ll never forget winding through neighborhoods and over the Sound, trying to keep up with the rapid fire “Can’t Hold Us,” and cracking up because we couldn’t.

Warning: I’m about to get sentimental on you (look away, Amy!): there’s nothing like being reunited with my sister. The comments on how much we look alike are fun, but beyond that, we grew up together; we know every inside joke, we’ve watched all the same movies, we have the same memories and mostly the same sense of humor. Naturally, then, hilarity ensues:

Holly: “Do you know why I called you Ice Cube?”

Amy: “Because I’m bald?”

Holly: ” … Because you’re cool.”

Holly: “I don’t think I’ve ever put air in my tires before.”

[My family likes to tell the story of coming into town for my college graduation and noticing that my Subaru was practically riding on its rims, the tires were so flat. In typical Holly fashion, I had no idea.]

Amy: “It’s like an addiction for me.”

[You see how I bossed her into doing so many chores for me when we were kids?]

I think I’ll keep her.

On Monday we met back up with Maddie, Seth, and company for a Mariners baseball game. I was mostly focused on chatting, but then, bottom of the ninth, two outs, the Mariners hit a home run and won the game! We were all jumping around and yelling. Bodes well for a happy marriage, I think.

The downside of having one’s hair done? Knowing it won’t look this nice again for a long, long time.

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Now that’s how you look edgy with a bouquet in hand! Yes, she’s always been cooler than me.

REI flagship store: a magical, magical place.

I didn’t realize there was geoduck in this ice cream until I tried it and got lemon, lemon, and then something chewy and salty. Oh.

The infamous troll under the bridge. Apparently, he’s always painted a little differently. I’m a fan of the blue nose, myself.

And finally, a look at my rich inner life, via the Seattle Aquarium:

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