Friday, July 31, 2009

Rachel K. Jetlag

My jet-lag kicked in today and I ended up spending the entire night creating a new Seattle-themed blog. The name seemed funnier at 4am – I make no apologies.

Around 6am I decided it was time to wake up and get things done. I organized my suitcases in terms of “stuff I need in the condo”, “stuff I need for the east coast in two weeks”, and “stuff I hardly need until I’m moved in somewhere for permanent”. I threw the things I don’t need around into the storage locker down the hall and put the rest into nicely organized bags. Ahhh… order. Afterwards, I talked with my parents and then sister on the phone for a while. We’re all excited about meeting up in Virginia in just two weeks for a grand Sreebny reunion (following the massive Sreebny Migration of 2009).
I decided to try finding some shampoo and conditioner so I could grab a shower. Thank God for my Bubbeh – even in death she is providing bottles upon bottles of soapy, sudsy goodness. I also found five sticks of deodorant and a lot of Listerine. I’m never going to Walgreens again!

Around 7am, Zaydeh joined me and I gave him his Japan gift – a scroll I had painted as a hobby. It reads “Ine – abundant nature”, or 自然豊かな伊根町. He liked it a lot! In return, he pulled out some antediluvian poster containers to show me. One of them contained an award to Dr. Leo Sreebny (aka: Zaydeh) from the City of Paris for his cooperation in teaching at a University there. Another ancient document contained Bubbeh’s high school diploma. Underneath the diploma was an award for “excellence in attendance”. It’s g
ood to know that my punctual genes come from somewhere.
Zaydeh told me that he wanted to take me to the nearby Starbucks at the tiny “World Trade Center” near the ferry terminal to meet his favourite barista, Shannon. Sure enough, Shannon was there with a coffee mug tattoo on her wrist. Now that’s legendary service – BURNED INTO SKIN. She told Zaydeh to “hug it out” and gave him a big hug before turning to me and saying, “Ohh! You must be the niece I’ve heard so much about!” I don’t believe Zaydeh has any nieces, but if he did, they’d be lucky to be me. We then snuck Megan out of her office for a few minutes to say hi and give her some bites of scone and coffee cake before sending her back to work. The Starbucks seems busy enough to keep from boredom, but small enough to stay polite and high-energy. I think I’ll turn in an application on Monday. Zaydeh and I left for our errands contended by caffeine and sugar, only to realize that Zaydeh had left his bag in the shop. A brisk walk later, we had the bag back in tow and were on our way to the downtown area to get business done. I also found out that Zaydeh has a health condition I was unaware of until today. I’m a bit addled by the news, but if he’s OK with it I suppose I can fall in line, too.

Our first stop on the list of errands was to deposit the thousands of dollars I had in cash into my bank. Seattle never seems more full of homeless people than when you’re all your cash in a fanny pack on your waist. Yeesh. The halted construction s
ites and poverty around the downtown area made me see the truth of the American economic crisis a little more clearly. And still I ambled onto my bank to deposit my earnings. May they rest in a safe rather than in my pocket.

Other errands included trying and failing to switch over my New York driver’s license (apparently one needs proof of address – lame), registering to vote, and obtaining a library card. The Seattle Central Library (pictured left) is truly a marvel in itself. It’s 10 floors high and had hundreds of computer outlets with free internet access, a book conveyer belt where you can drop your returned books, and a 4th floor that is entirely painted red. I have never seen so many vivid colours in a library until now. Town Hall, where I registered to vote, was also especially beautiful on this bright and sunny day. The buildings in the surrounding area are tall, clean and gorgeous in any kind of weather. I could have taken pictures all day!

By the time we returned to the apartment, I was ready to crash from jet lag and all of our walking and errands. We had taken a bus back to the Market, but we had walked quite a few miles before doing so. So, I took a four hour nap in a spot of sunshine on the couch while Zaydeh went about his business of shredding documents, piddling around on his Blackberry, and reading the newspaper. I awoke feeling like a human being again, and joined in the shredding and organizing of documents. Now I am in the middle of becoming a resident of Seattle and Washington State… I’d say I’m halfway there (livin’ on a prayer). Zaydeh then told me a story about how he obtained a kindle starting with, “I had just started up an account with HBSC in Guam in 1947…” and ended with, “and that’s how I ended up with not one, but TWO kindles.”

The evening was spent in lovely Fremont, the Center of the Universe. Megan and I met Sarah and Ian – champions of platonic love, for a Thai dinner. I was chided for my preference of American coca cola to Japanese coca cola (unfairly). After dinner, we ate some of Megan’s epic red velvet cheesecake on the pristine terrace of Sarah and Ian’s new building. It’s the perfect place to stuff one’s mouth with sugar and butter. Speaking of, Megan wants Paula Deen to have a butter named, “Butter, Y’all”. I’d buy that. She and Sarah bonded over their delight of kitchens decorated with chickens. Fowl play may soon conquer the Raegan Institute of Poultry (or whatever we end up naming our apartment). Megan and I then decided to go home as it was getting dark and we needed to catch our buses.

Coming from an area where I had a car and it was particularly safe at night, I felt fairly frightened walking the dusky Seattle streets of downtown. To get down to the quiet waterfront area, one must cross 1st-3rd avenues and head towards Eliot Bay. However, these avenues have some shady characters after dark, so walking is a little intimidating on one’s own (especially when one is Rachel and a giant fraidy cat). Regardless of my paranoia, I made it home without a scratch and promptly wrote this blog and went to sleep. Hopefully this night will end some of the leftover jet lag and I will be able to enjoy the weekend like a normal person. Tomorrow’s plan : monorail and Arab Festival at the Seattle Center!

Rachel K. Reacclamating

The first monorail (the word itself a magnificent combination of Latin and ... Rail) was built in 1820. They were gyroscopically balanced. This predates the discovery of penicillin by over 100 years. At least the human race has its priorities in order.

It's the hottest weather in Seattle since THE DAWN OF TIME. That's not true at all, I just can't remember the last year during which Seattle reached 102ºF. That's hot, man! Seattle, as I understand it, is meant to be a lovely, cloudy metropolis filled not with heat, but with coffee. Or possibly flannel. Maybe even a little street music -- but not blinding, inescapable sunshine that brings with it immense waves of warmth (or warmthwaves, as some call them).

What do I think about all this? I just moved here. From Japan, where it is also hot and terrible. The forgivable things about Seattle are that:

  • This heat will go away. Soon the clouds and the chill and the drizzle will return.
  • Seattle isn't humid like Japan. In fact, a sauna isn't as humid as Japan in July.

So I'm settling in just fine. I'm messily and partially unpacked on the floor of my grandfather's study. He has recently agreed to let me and my fine, ginger-haired friend Megan move into his lovely condominium across from the Seattle Aquarium. For this we are thankful, but the move in will not be until September or October. So, until then, I will remain spread out, partially unpacked on the floors of helpful strangers and family members.

Oh, and I'm unemployed.

First impressions:
  • In Japan, there were monkeys in my backyard. They screamed and squawked in the mornings to each other. I woke up this morning listening to these same sounds... except that they were apparently seagulls. Someone should have called them Monkeygulls, or perhaps Gullkeys but I'm no etymologist.
  • I am not accustomed to hearing motors from my house. This morning I woke up to the sound of a jet flying past my window and was convinced that North Korea had just shot a missile toward the pentagon, miscalculated, and I was about to explode in a cloud of communist fury and kimchi. Instead, the airplane simply reached cruising altitude and enjoyed an in-flight meal of various foods heated at various temperatures.

So I sit here, in the midst of my space bags stuffed with clothing and ridiculous Japanese souvenirs, typing my virgin blog entry at 4:30am, wishing for sleep or dawn-- whichever comes first.

Today I become a resident of Seattle! Today I pay $45 to a DMV for a card that will validate this fact. Today, I will be exhausted.