Saturday, March 10th, 2012 & Sunday March 11th, 2012
After saying goodbye to the new friends we had made on the work site and getting a taste-test of Seattle, we settled down to prepare for the last day of the journey. It was bound to be an adventure and I can say for certain that I was not disappointed.
Our first stop: a volcano. Yes, a volcano, called Mount Rainier. While it hasn’t erupted in over 1,000 years, it is still active and poses a huge potential threat to the outlying area. We ventured to a point called Paradise and enjoyed the beautiful snow-filled scenery that the site offered and attempted to stay on our feet despite the slippery ice.
Once the cold got the best of us, it was on to the next stop: Jack in the Box. Predominately found on the West Coast, it’s a fast food restaurant that has quite a unique selection of items. From burgers to grilled cheeses to teriyaki bowls, Jack in the Box amazed me with such an odd array of food choices. This pit stop provided us with the fuel to last us until we got to the big city of Seattle.
The group traveled up the Space Needle to get a 360-degree view of the city and I must say it was breathtaking. We then headed off to Pike Place Market, which was so full of life and culture that I could’ve spent hours walking around. Fish were flying in the air and flowers were being sold almost every 20 feet that you walked. So many trinkets and chachkies were on display and for sale, and live music filled the halls with soulful jams. People were dancing and the vibe in the air was pure joy. I never wanted to leave the stores, but the growling of my stomach told me it was time to eat, and eat we did.
Pike Place Bar & Grill filled our stomachs with delicious food. Oddly enough, JW celebrated his second 21st birthday in the past two days. I had no idea someone could turn a certain age so many times, but it’s become a bit of a tradition to embarrass him with a birthday welcome from a restaurant during the spring break trips. Unlike the night before where we sang the “Star Spangled Banner,” we chose a more traditional approach at this restaurant and sang the typical “Birthday Song.” Still, it involved free cheesecake, laughter, and singing so there were no complaints.
Following the meal, we headed to the airport where we spent the next 12 hours or so either on an airplane or waiting for flights. My first red-eye flight experience wasn’t so bad, but I think I speak for everyone when I say we were truly exhausted when we finally landed back in the ‘burgh.
The sun welcomed us home, but it was a bittersweet feeling for myself. Having been on the alternative spring break trips before, it would seem as if I understand the procedure: head to the destination, volunteer and explore for a week, head home and continue on with the daily routine. It isn’t that easy though, and every time I land back in Pittsburgh I find myself wanting nothing more than to go back to the worksite.
This trip was filled with so many beautiful people that are wonderful both inside and out. They have all taught me so much about myself. To all of those people: thank you so much and please continue to make a difference both in the lives of people as well as the world. You are a motivation to all and I am so grateful to have had this experience.
I am extremely proud to say I have been a part of this group of students and that I was able to spend time working alongside so many inspirational people in Tacoma. Each of them has left an impact upon me and I can only hope to one day inspire them as much as they have motivated me.