Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sleepless in Seattle

Ah yes, the weekend of the 5th to the 7th of November did indeed find me (not-so-sleepless) in Seattle. What a fantastic city! An awesome downtown vibe, interesting shops and restaurants/cafes, fun things to do, culture, culture and more culture... did I mention just how fantastic it is? I was joined in this exciting experience by my friends Moritz (yes, that German guy) and John (yes, the JOHN WULF of previous blogpost), and...wait for it... my lovely and amazing sister-in-law Joanne Barry! Hooray! She had been attending a conference in Seattle and so we got to hang out and catch up for a whole weekend. Sigh... happiness is. :) Don't you just love meeting up with people you love in random and unusual places? If someone had said to me this time last year that in a year's time I would be kicking it with my sister-in-law, an American and a German in Seattle in a year's time... I'm not sure what I would have done exactly, but you get the point.

Did I mention how much I love Seattle? Our accommodation was humble (read: borderline unsavoury), but located right next to the Space Needle (think the little sketch that is drawn in the sitcom Frasier) and very close to downtown Seattle, which meant that we could walk everywhere - what a pleasure! Our activities included:
* Going on Seattle's Underground Tour - which featured a hilarious host, a history lesson and exploring the ancient Seattle underground.
* Visiting Pike's Place Market where we were able to grab some good food and witness the famous fish-throwing. Um... just think, big, fresh fish being thrown from one big male to another?
* Stepping into the ORIGINAL Starbucks! What a thrill.
* Attending an AMAZING Jason Upton worship session / concert - WOW! What anointing! The presence of the Holy Spirit was THICK.
* Going up the famous Space Needle and being greeted by an awesome and beautiful 360 degree view of the city below.
* Taking a ferry out to Bainbridge Island, which also greeted us with an amazing view of the city as we pulled out of and returned to the harbour. We were also able to walk around and have lunch on the quaint little island of Bainbridge. Hey, why not?

So yes, all in all, a superb weekend. I got a chance to meander around the streets of Seattle on my own for a while; visit a bookshop, have a solo cappuccino and ponder the mysteries of the Hanna-universe. :) Spending time with Jo was also an absolute treat - especially since I last saw her and my dear big brother in January. It was great catching up on their new lives and hearing all about how wonderful a husband my brother is! Go James! :)

As usual, the past ten days have passed by with the same unnerving speed that has characterized my entire exchange experience! Next week is that great American holiday - Thanksgiving! I look forward to this sacred celebration, and will be spending it in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho with my dear friend Scott who was on exchange last year at Rhodes. I'm sure it will be a fun, family and food-filled time!

Happy Holidays to all my Rhodes friends who are finishing exams and leaving our beloved Grahamstown for good! Thinking of you all the most. Viva Rhodes University! Viva Gtown! What a treasure that place will always be for us purple-blooded Rhodents.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Shopping and a Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte...

I love trying new things. But I especially love it when the risk of trying a new thing turns out successfully! And today held such a gem. I stopped by at the Ike Box on my way to work (the Ike Box is an awesome coffee shop/non-profit situated conveniently close to the Statesman Journal) to grab a warm beverage. I was thinking a cappuccino - my default - but then decided to be brave and try their Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte. Since I was feeling extra brave (and maybe also just needed a couple extra calories since I hadn't eaten enough today, maybe) I threw caution to the wind and got a 16 ounce cup, instead of my usual 12 ounce. As it turns out, I now LOVE Pumpkin Spice Chai Lattes! 16 ounces of warm, tasty, sweet-n-spicy-all-at-the-same-time, goodness! Well done me for trying new things. And thanks to Halloween for everything pumpkin!

In other news, I spent two hours this morning searching the closest mall for a pair of boots. I have NO decent shoes, and the winter is coming thick and fast - bringing rain along with it! I started off feeling optimistic about my shopping endeavour, almost, dare I say it, excited to shop, which is in itself amazing since I am a hopeless shopper who does not usually enjoy shopping (go figure). Unfortunately, when I had still not found a suitable pair of boots after a good 90 minutes of hunting (a lot of time for me to spend shopping, okay), I resigned myself to my former anti-shopping attitude and took myself back to campus for lunch. Sigh... On the up side - I'm a size 5 to 5 1/2 in the States (unlike my usual size 3 in SA)...although this small victory is made up for by the fact that there aren't many size 5s in these stores (unlike the strange abundance of size 3s in South African stores). But I hold out hope! Watch this space!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A roadtrip, a Halloween and an American election...

...yup, that's right...THAT much has happened since I last blogged! dang it! Once again two weeks has flown by and I've barely had a chance to catch my breath, reflect, BLOG, think, smell roses, BLOG, write emails, sleep late, BLOG... you get the picture. Thus, in the interests of everyone concerned, I am going to write the following blog in...(drumroll please)... bullet points! Shock! Horror! Gasp! *Choke*! I'm not quite sure how well this will turn out, or whether or not I'll have an anurism before I manage to finish (bullet points? really? I do NOT think in bullet points!)... but here's trying! (I'd like to give a shout out to my friend James Meiners, who came up with this genius  (well, let's suspend our judgement) idea.

ROADTRIP: (I'm even using sub-headings! This is serious folks.)
When? About two weeks ago: We had a mid-semester break and so had Friday off.
Who? Me (duh) and 4 girls. One German (Bianca), one French (Stephanie), and two English (Cassie and Sarah)...all in all a motley crew! 
Where? The GREAT NORTHWEST of course! Mt. St. Helens (an inactive volcano), Multnomah Falls (huge waterfall), Columbia River Gorge (my personal favourite...a MASSIVE and stunningly beautiful gorge...apparently the bridge over it was used in one of the Twilight films...just saying).
Highlights?: Not having a plan! Literally, just driving around for 3 days in a hired car and deciding spontaneously where to eat, where to sleep and what to visit. What bliss! Roadtripping rocks I tell you. (and yes, I did drive an automatic for the first time on the right-hand side of the road, and am very proud of myself for said accomplishment).
Seeing the beauty of the Northwestern countryside was another highlight - it is really beautiful! Expansively so...wide open spaces...fresh air. And gorgeous Autumn colours everywhere...this little Southern Hemispherer (?) is loving experiencing a genuine 'Fall' season. What a treat!

When? This past weekend.
Who? Everybody and their cousin's aunty's brother's dog. It's a BIG DEAL.
Where? Everywhere.
Highlights?: Well, I attended multiple little Halloween parties, recycling the same outfit for the most part. I attended some live music on Saturday night - a male a capella group from campus (quite a few of the guys are in the Willamette Singers with me), as well as a band from Portland played. GREAT music and a fun party afterward at one of the singer's houses.
Partying at my friend John's house on Sunday night with a bunch of church peeps was also a hoot. And since he lives in a really nice neighbourhood, there were STACKS of kids trick-or-treating! ADORABLE! I got to answer the ringing doorbell and hand out candy to the little terrors. I loved my job. And of course I had a camera in one hand and was snapping pics all the way...probably to the grave suspicion of the parents who would stand on the street and watch their kids go from house to house. "Why is that strange lady taking photo's of our children?". Haha.

When? Last night! (hey, for once I'm telling you something just after it happened...don't get too excited though, it probably won't become a habit).
Who? Americans! (but let's be honest, probably not as many people as Halloween).
Where? The United States of America!
Highlights?: Being in a newsroom during election night, and so experiencing first-hand election buzz! Yes, indeedy... I worked at the newspaper I'm interning at (read my blog if this is news to you), from 8pm to 11pm calling numbers out to someone who was then typing them into a results page-thingy. Talk about breaking news! There was even a live news cast from the newsroom happening on my right. It was exciting! Not least because it is a reallly big election.

...................A WEEKEND TRIP TO SEATTLE! Hooray! Yay! Yippee! AND.................SEEING MY SISTER-IN-LAW WHILST I'M THERE! Hooray! Yay! Yippee!
When? THIS coming weekend!
Who? Me, John, Moritz and Jo.
Where? Seattle! (...and a small town called Enumclaw where we will be worshiping with Jason Upton on Saturday night).

Look out for that exciting blog update!
I hoped you liked the bullets as much as I did, and actually read all the way to the end this time. ;)