Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

This year's holiday came and went with relatively little complication or fanfare, which is just how I like it. I spent a lovely day at home with the fam-damily and I got every item on my list, including a new digital camera (!!). Unfortunately the underpaid worker in Malaysia neglected to include a battery in the box, which my well-connected brother promised to rectify for me this week. The camera apparently has a 'blog mode' which I plan to investigate as soon as it is charged. I realize that thus far the blog has been void of pictures, but know that I fully intend to spice it up 1) when I learn how and 2) when I have interesting pictures to post.

I've reached a relative stalemate with my visa, mostly because it's hard to get anything done over Christmas. I was able to find out that I have no known criminal past and am in the process of getting a signed letter stating as much. For some reason I can't get my freaking doctor to respond to my myriad e-mails about the letter of clean health (which she originally tried to scrawl on a piece of prescription paper; like I could have gotten THAT past the Chilean consolate) and I'm still not 100% sure what is meant by 'financial solvency' but hopefully a call to the San Francisco consulate will clear that up. I hope to have my application in by January 3 - wish me luck!

And, for those of you who may have forgotten or didn't know in the first place, I'll be turning 26 on January 5, which is a Saturday. Plans are still pending, but I figured I'd get through New Year's first (also no plans, a theme among friends this year) before deciding on birthday festivities. Stay tuned.

I hope you and yours had a fantastic holiday season. Good luck with those New Year's resolutions (my new exercise cords will come in handy starting on January 2...) and I'll write again next year!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Hello, Seattle

I've officially been back in the Emerald city for a little over a week now. The first big hurdle was getting my live, potted plants on the plane - three in all - which was easier than I expected, despite having to remove one of them from the bag and laying it on its SIDE to go through the x-ray screener. My planes were mostly empty and despite snow in Denver I was only mildly late, so that by 1 am I had eaten at the Gyrocery on University Ave for the first time in I don't know how long.

The next and final step in the moving process was collecting my boxes from Amtrak. Dropping my boxes off in Philadelphia was probably the most stressful event of the entire moving ordeal (not that it was an ordeal, quite the opposite in fact). Within 2 minutes the handlers had busted open an entire box and had to frantically tape it back together. I tried to remain calm and asked if my boxes - all 355 pounds of them - would be placed on a pallet. The guy said, nah. I said, please? (Bearing in mind they had to transfer in both DC AND Chicago.) Perhaps to prevent a scene he relented, bu until I actually saw the pallet in Seattle I was convinced he just told me that to get rid of me. I was told they would arrive in Seattle at 10:30 on Tuesday morning, and by 10:38 I'd gotten the call. The boxes were all in good shape, fit easily into the car, and unloaded without a hitch in good old LFP. If you're ever moving across the country and don't have furniture, I highly recommend Amtrak - the whole shebang cost a mere $207 (anxiety not included).

Since then I've been making the rounds, seeing as many people as possible and fitting in as much work as possible, too. I attended two successful Christmas parties over the weekend and feel like I could live off the calories I consumed in 18 hours for the next week. Otherwise I have very little to report, except that Seattle has made a liar out of me ("It doesn't rain that much!") since it has rained every day since I got back, and promises to for the next 10 days in a row. Nothing says Merry Christmas like a gray sky and a soggy ground.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Philadelphia Story Ends

After two and a half years of living part-time in the City of (Sometime) Brotherly Love, I'm packing my bags and heading back west. I've done a lot of coming and going, but this time I know I won't be returning, which makes it much harder to leave.

I also don't have the luxury of leaving everything in my apartment, and in about one hour I will transport my baker's dozen worth of boxes to my friendly neighborhood Amtrak station, where they will make connections in D.C. and Chicago before arriving in Seattle on Tuesday at 10:30 in the morning (the guy on the phone was super nice, but a wee bit information-happy).

For anyone who has moved recently, I think you can appreciate that fitting an entire life into 13 medium-sized boxes (plus two suitcases) is an impressive feat. There was the added complication of having to separate items by things I want immediately versus things I don't want until a year from now, but my dad taught me well and I think I did a pretty good job. Special thanks to the folks at Trader Joe's who let me come get boxes - twice - at 2 a.m. I haven't been getting a lot of sleep this past week...

I fly out tomorrow evening and, barring unforseen weather changes in Denver (which are highly likely considering it's Denver) I will arrive in Seattle at 11:30 tomorrow night. My trusty sister Tessa will be waiting at the airport (thanks for bailing on me, Stone! Just kidding) and then life in Seattle starts immediately. I'm looking at apartments Sunday afternoon, taking a family Christmas card picture Sunday evening, and going right back to work on Monday.

There are a lot of things I will miss about Philadelphia. My great friends and co-workers pop to mind first, of course, but this place has a lot going for it; namely, food. I'll miss Italian restaurants, BYOs, incredible sandwiches, soft pretzels with mustard (for breakfast - no joke), cannoli, pizza, hot wings, and bagels. (Clearly I've been sticking to a strict carbohydrate diet.) I'll miss the museums, the murals, the shops on South Street, H&M, people with New Jersey accents, and believe it or not, the subway. I'll miss walking or riding a bike everywhere, my sweet apartment, and the proximity to New York.

Of course, there are things I won't miss. I've been hit by a car three times in the past week, so I definitely won't miss being a second-class pedestrian. I won't miss the 20 lbs I'm hoping to lose by eating like a west-coaster, and I won't miss having to explain that it doesn't actually rain that much in Seattle.

The good news is, I still have a great network of people here and I look forward to visiting next spring, and many times after that. I will go out tonight and have a great time with my friends, but by tomorrow morning I'll be anxious to start my stay in Seattle.