We're back from our excursion to the pacific northwest and slowly adjusting to our routines.
I am slightly ashamed to admit that this area of the country didn't make it onto my list of "must-see" places until fairly recently, but I'm happy that it did!
The purpose of the trip was a 100th birthday party and thus, a mini family reunion on M's dad's side. If you can't celebrate 100 in a big way, when can you!? M, his sister Natalie, his dad, and his dad's gf drove out west starting last Wednesday. They bumped into a teeny issue when the transmission in his dad's 2013 Mazda blew somewhere west of Butte, Montana. (Yeehaw, right?) So, they were towed back to Butte, got a rental, towed the car to Missoula.. the location of the only Mazda dealership within 100 miles.. and somehow made it 2 hours past their original destination for the day, to Moses Lake, Washington. It only took them a 9 hour detour to do it. Woof. I, generally speaking, am NOT a fan of road trips. Granted, the longest I've ever sat in a car is approximately 3.5 hours but any longer and I fear I'd lose my mind. So, I was sad for M -who was really looking forward to the road trip aspect- when he was texting me with these updates.
I flew in Friday morning and they picked me up on their way to town and we settled into Tacoma for our first 2 days. Tacoma is about 35 minutes south of Seattle and gives you a nice flavor of the region with a little less commotion.
Sarah gave us some nice tips of things to do in Tacoma (as well as Seattle, which comprised most of my itinerary!), but first, I wanted to see Titlow Park.
Titlow Park is the scene of one of our cases going on at work that I've been somewhat involved in. I'm aware how weird this will sound, but I felt like I was seeing a major landmark or a celebrity. You hear these names and places over and over and over again at work and there's this wonder and hype about them. To see this place we've discussed so frequently as a real (and BEAUTIFUL) park was very cool for me!
Next up was downtown Tacoma, a cute little downtown nestled by the water that reminded me a TON of Duluth, MN- where I went to college. Hills, lots of industries and factories by the water.. it was a pretty place to explore.
Saturday morning I got up early and snuck out of the hotel room to walk the block to Starbucks by myself. I struggle being around lots of people for prolonged periods so I needed some "me" time to recharge (hello, textbook introvert). I grabbed a chi tea latte and walked back to the hotel just in time for M's sleepy "I'm up now" text. We lounged around and then got ready for the big birthday bash, which was in a prep school down the road.
I had met M's dad's side of the family only twice before this trip, since they're pretty spread out, and I'd never met the extended family (and sad to say I probably won't see many of them for a long, long time) but it was such a fun day. There's something about knowing you're all related that takes off the awkward social aspect, and I enjoyed chatting with a ton of people.
That's "Roy the Birthday Boy" (so said his nametag) in the middle. He's 100 years old. Talk about a milestone. We found ourselves saying the phrase, "gosh, can you IMAGINE what he's seen?" quite often. He was born in 1914, lived through 2 world wars, saw the advent of the Model-T, all the way through smart phones. Talk about wild. He was soft spoken, and unfortunately due to a very recent fall, spent most the day in a chair.
These are 2 of his only 3 remaining siblings, and Arlene there in the white was the sweetest woman I've ever met. She gave me a big hug when I met her and I honestly wanted to take her home with me. She's 92! Looking pretty fabulous for 92 if I do say so myself.
Just a few short months ago, prior to his fall, Roy loved to go dancing. He had a bunch of friends from his dance hall there, and easily the highlight of the day was when one of the ladies got him up to dance to "All My Ex's Live in Texas." It was absolutely adorable and amazing.
After a great rendition of "happy birthday" the birthday boy let out a little "woop!" and threw his hands up. The blue lips are from sneaking frosting after they set down the cake. :)
It was so cool to be a part of and I couldn't help but look at the big group photos (those are just his kids and their kids) and think of what an incredible legacy he's made for himself. It was really a memorable day and I'm so glad I got to be a part of it.
Saturday was chock-full of more family, and Sunday we woke up bright and early to hit the road to Seattle- stay tuned!