Today is my day off.
I got up extra early today (9:00 AM, it’s early for a non-school day) and went to get waffles with the Indo-Clan, my group of friends whom I spent last weekend with in Indonesia. I’m sitting in a café on Orchard Road, the largest and most fantastic shopping district on the island. What could be better than a Tuesday afternoon, eating chicken pizza, coke in hand, and finally a chance to sit down and reflect. Let me tell you, there’s a lot to reflect upon. My last update was written sometime in July, sitting in another small café on Dizengoff street in downtown Tel Aviv. The hustle and bustle is about the same. The street nearby is strewn with fast buzzing shoppers with their Prada bags, bright new merchandise, oh, and I must not forget, a man trying to sign me up to model for Burger King and McDonald’s advertisements with complements to my “unique features.” After doing my best to brush him off, he followed me down the street at my heels asking for my contact details while I could only guess where this little encounter could lead. But alas, you will not be seeing my face on the side of a bus with a big piece of cow in it anytime soon.
The hurried waiters and waitresses are nervously pacing the café. One of them has her eyes ceaselessly glued to the floor. My chicken pizza just arrived.
2 slices done.
Let me quickly play a little bit of catch up for you, as my urge to keep writing seems to dwindle when I am in the United States.
I arrived back to my parents in Moscow and spent the final 5 weeks of my summer in Moscow, visiting many of you, living old memories, and enjoying old friends. I made a trip down to Nampa to see Grandma and my aunts and uncles from the Seaman clan. Aunts and uncles, grandma’s and granddad’s, parents, and cousins are such a blessing. My fondness for my family grows every year. We passed those few days mostly in bright conversation. My greatest goal on these visits is to glean as much wisdom and eperience off of my elders as possible. After telling of my life, my travels, my plans, my goals, and my uncertainties, I recall discussing everything from politics, to current world issues, to an online tutorial of Facebook and a strong argument, by myself, convincing the older generation why this phenomenon of social networking isn’t all bad. I was treated to a wonderful cup of clam chowder by aunt Willa. I like to be spoiled and spent two meals, at least, bringing my second cousin Wesley around to the ways of the Seaman family: the young kids sit on the stools under the hearth so that the adults can set their old bones on the comfort of the padded chairs. He learned quickly. Those stools have served many children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. We began those meals with the ever harmonious melodies of thanks for our meal, which is tradition in the family. I am always blessed to look around the circle and the different generations that are all linked in love: the lives they’ve lived, the lives they have blessed, the stories they have to tell, and the places they’ve been. Perhaps those many years can account for the increasingly wavering voices that surrounded me. I also thought of young Wesley standing nearby. He doesn’t know the words to the song yet, but he sits quietly, as I once did, subconsciously learning the tunes of thankfulness for our bountiful blessings. After finishing our prayer we decided to serve in order of age. Normally, this wouldn’t be story worthy, but at this particular reunion, and the missing cousins, my father followed me in the age line. He felt young again, for a moment. I have been blessed with family.
In the beginning of August, we packed up Courtney’s little Honda and drove up to Victoria. Here though, I must say, that a short 7 hour trip to Victoria is never really a short 7 hour trip. After arriving in Seattle we spent the night with Jess and her friends, and made a midnight run (well, more of a fast walk) around Green Lake. The morning sunshine ignited the little tourists inside of us leading to a day of museums, long walks around the Seattle Center, and a delicious plate of “Clucks and Fries” at no other than Red Robin with Dayna. I might add that if any of you ever need a gift idea for me, get me a shaker of the Red Robin seasoning, there’s nothing like it.
There’s nothing quite like reveling in the coffee-spruced young culture of Seattle. All of this went according to plan except for one quite major hiccup. It was realized once we were just too far to turn back, that both of us had neglected to collect our passports in order to pass over the Canadian border. I frantically called my father and Courtney’s mother as well, and arranged to have our documents overnighted from Moscow to Seattle. Thank God for parents. This did not distract us from enjoying a beautiful day in Seattle. That evening, after all the roommates had arrived home, the 5 of us hopped in Jess’s little white new car and made our merry way to Dicks for milkshakes and rented Indiana Jones from the local store (after far too much time debating the movie selection). **slice 4 (not writing in order) ** We greedily downed our milkshakes and all did our best to keep our heavy lids from pushing us into movie and milkshake induced coma’s. We all failed in our attempts to fight the sleeping urge, and I was unconscious before the opening credits finished rolling. I woke up early hoping that our passports had arrived safely and that we could hurry our way up to Victoria.
* 5 slices
I waited patiently in the living room for the doorbell to ring and a happy UPS man in a pressed brown suit to hand me my passports with a smile. Well, this is where my predictions were a bit unrealistic. Apparently the overnight mail did not signal the mailman that there was a sense of urgency for this package to be delivered, and due to his apparent confusion about which apartment the package belonged to, he awkwardly placed a “sorry, your package could not be delivered” note on the wall, not close to any door or mailbox. This note I only noticed after checking the mailbox for the package all morning, on the hour (it was coordinated with Saturday morning cartoons). At this point, I was determined not to lose another day in Victoria. We threw our bags and pillows in the Honda with the absurd idea that we could drive around the neighborhood looking for the mailman. I have had my fair share of luck in my life, but this moment was too good to be true. I started the car, drove down the first block, and who do we see parked at the end of the street, but the mailman. He had apparently made it one block between 8am and 12:30pm.
Finally, we turned north heading towards Anacortes. The ferry was missed, and we were left, two stranded travelers. I proceeded, as is custom in my life, to call my father and ask him to find me information on the internet and give me advice on what to do with myself.
After much arduous decision making, we hit the road again, subway sandwiches in hand, one caramel frappuccino nestled in the cup holder, and a bulging bag of bright red Swedish fish, which I took far too much advantage of over the weekend. Approaching the under-construction border crossing, it was quickly realized that there would be many hours spent sitting in the car, legs uncarefully hung out the window, sunglasses blocking the unrelenting rays, and any article which could serving as a makeshift Chinese fan. The cars inched along.
We finally made it to the guard, and proudly displayed our identification that we so easily had forgotten on the previous day. On arriving at the ferry terminal, it was clear that there were far too many passengers to fit onto the 6:00 boat. Cars were piled outside of the ticket windows, let alone the number of cars that we could not see all lined up for boarding. Needless to say, the legs went back out the window, the sunglasses went back on, and the Swedish fish once again became the object of my attention. We got on the 9:00 ferry and arrived on Vancouver Island at about 10, all ready to make the “quick drive” to cousin Joan’s and crash on our beds. If you can recall back to the beginning of this little chapter in the story, I started by noting that a short 7 hour trip to Victoria is never a short 7 hour trip to Victoria. We traipsed all about the island not knowing that the road to turn on was unmarked and quite near to where we began being lost. After a few confused phone calls to Joan, we found our way to the area and pulled into the driveways of a few of her neighbors, who were obviously not Joan, and obviously confused by the lights coming up their steep winding driveways at midnight. We were greeted by a nice reception by Joan and cousin Nate who were busy preparing the Seaman family famous Butterhorn Rolls, which, I hear are being passed around the family quite extensively, and with good reason. But, we made it. Twelve hours from Seattle to Victoria. A short 7 hour trip to Victoria is never a short 7 hour trip to Victoria.
The next were some very beautiful days. The best of which was spending time with my young cousins, being the older brother for them to beat up, pull hair, and hang on, very much similarly to how my siblings and I used to do to cousins Ryan and Shane. Aunt Eloise, Uncle Herb, and my cool cousin Hannah were there for the weekend as well, and the big group of us danced through Victoria and learned the problems with leaving butterhorn batter out too long. We had to spray down the entire porch. I think I must reiterate that family is a blessing. Thanks for a beautiful weekend Joan.
*I cannot eat any more pizza, I quit at 6*
After saying my goodbyes, I made my way Boston, only to make my way to New York City to see the sights for a few days with my Israeli friend Yaniv. But school once again called me out of the fun summer times and I returned to start a grueling semester 5 at Boston University. Let me describe this semester to you very simply:
Statistics and Probability for biomedical engineering
Signals and Systems in biomedical engineering
I spent many hours with my textbooks, many more doing problem sets, and many more worrying about the number of hours I needed to complete my work and the number that I actually had. Relievingly, in October, I got a slight vacation by touring Washington DC with my friend Tom (also from Israel) and showing him my hot spots in Boston. A few study sessions were pleasantly interrupted by David and I reminiscing about our travels in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.