May 30th, 2012 is the day that Emma Burbank and I met in person. Future historians will point to that date and ponder it's significance. People may look back at it and wish we'd been stopped. Okay, probably not, but it still was awesome. To pick up where I left off:
I go up to my hotel room and set my bags down. Emma and I exchanged texts and managed to set up a meeting. I called my Mom and Sister to let them know I was there and safe in the meantime. Then I fired up the interwebz to figure out how to best way to get to campus. I determined that there were two ways to walk there: One through the park and another slightly longer way by sticking to the streets. I decided against the buses since they didn't run very late.
I decided on just walking the street route because it seemed like the easier/less likely to get lost way. However, Google Maps lied to me as would became a mild theme on this trip. The street I walked on ended before it go to the intersection I wanted to get to. However, where it did end was just a block from the entrance from the path in the park (or Arboretum). Fortunately, the path ended where I was led to believe it would by the internet.
I walked down some steps and I then I was on the sidewalk, which I was pretty sure was near where we had agreed to meet. Of course, I really didn't know, because I had no idea which way was which, or where the fuck I was. However, I spotted her pretty quickly. At least I thought it was her as it was a girl sitting on a bench with a laptop with the right hair color and length. And I was right. She spotted me when I got near enough and we hugged the most wonderful of hugs. And there it was, Emma and I in person finally. (It is really hard to quantify with words how awesome this was.)
She took me to the library and when my jet lagged brain decided it was time to eat she took to a place where food was. And where we ate was perfectly normal for that it had a fucking view of the ocean. Also, the trash cans had like 1,000 options; it was intimidating.
After I ate and Emma had juice we wandered all around campus. There were various pieces of sculpture (most notably "Man Humping Bear" [Unofficial Title].) So, we walked and talked for quite a while and it isn't all that interesting to anyone who wasn't involved (or maybe anyone who isn't me.)
Unbeknownst to me, we ended up back near where I had come out at when I suggest we start back that way. Emma didn't know about the way I had came so she ended up leading me up the steps and we ended up looking some sort of memorial and Emma compared the inscription to Sisyphus and it was brilliant. We said goodbye there and I walked back up the trail.
I walked past my hotel and to the nearby grocery store. It started to rain a little harder as I got closer to the grocery store, but it never really rained all that hard by Ohio standards. I mean, I was wet, but I've been wetter before*. I grabbed a basket and wandered around looking for stuff. I looked for snacks and ended up getting Pretzels and Oreos (this decision was mostly because their packing wouldn't be affected by the rain.) Then, I looked for travel size tooth paste and things and found them after some searching**. Finally, I grabbed a six pack of water and 3 bottles of Powerade and went to check out.
I told the cashier that I didn't want whatever that store's card is called, because I wasn't from around there***. I had to tell the, "I'm from Columbus and I'm visiting a friend" story again. I'm pretty sure the Columbus to Bellingham trek is a fairly rare one.
The rain hadn't really let up when I went back outside. Backtracking a little, something that was odd to me about that store was that there was just an open main entrance. There were no doors, automatic or otherwise, for that entrance. I made the briefish walk back to the hotel and made an unfortunate mistake. I set my bags down outside the door to let myself in. I then proceeded to set my keycard and wallet down before going back for the bags and I forgot the hotel doors don't stay open by themselves. So, the door closed and I couldn't get back in my room.
I picked up the bags and rather sheepishly walked back down the the lobby and told them my predicament. Fortunately the girl who checked me in was still there and they let me slide without showing ID. Anyway I got a new key and got into my room with grocery bags without further incident****. I went to get ice for a drink after setting some in the mini-fridge.
The glasses in my room felt like they deserved to have something more classy than green Powerade drank out of them. However, that's what I used them for. That's pretty much it for Wednesday. I laid in the bed and listened to the RT Podcast and did my usual internet thing before settling in for bed.
I was tired enough when I finally shut everything down, that I fell asleep despite the person in a room near me who had their T.V. at a ridiculously high volume.
I woke up at about 5:30 am PDT the following day. I wasn't going to get back to sleep for two reasons. First, my brain was like, "it's 8:30 by my watch you're up around 8:00 every day no more sleep for you." Second, The ridiculously loud T.V. was still going and I was no longer so tired that it wasn't an issue.
Thursday, itself was the emptiest day of my brief trip. However, it was the day that anxiety decided to hit me hardest, which isn't all that surprising. It tends to happen when I have the least to worry about. Anyway, I basically laid around for a while and did shit on the computer before taking a shower and heading out to lunch.
I went to a Mexican Place called "El Egave" at around a quarter after 11:00. I decided to get a Margarita with my food and managed to puzzle the waiter with my Ohio Driver's License. I was the only person eating in the restaurant the who time I was there, so service was quick and I was done by 11:45. I walked back to the hotel and hung out for a bit and again made certain that I knew how to get to where the recital was from my hotel.
I walked to the recital (and saw a fucking black squirrel) and after a brief delay in getting into the hall, I took my seat. Emma was first to perform and she did very well. I'm biased, but I liked her performance best. All the other cellists did well, but they were no Emmas*****.
I got to see Emma briefly afterwards before heading back to hotel where I ended up taking a 5-hour nap.
I woke up at about 8:00 pm and wandered out to find some dinner. I turned right out from my hotel and went to the first place that looked good, which ended up being Quizno's, which I was really happy to see, because all the one's around where I live have closed down******. I got to have some Black Angus goodness that had been so missing from my life. Anyway, I fell asleep around 11:00 that night.
I woke up at 6:30 the next morning. I hung out in the room for a while and looked at a trail map for the Arboretum and went off exploring. I took a path that was supposed to take my by a reservoir, which wasn't what I really had imagined. I really just seemed like a fenced in area with some wildflowers Anyway, there were only four places that were specially marched so I hiked up the where the next one was supposed to be. It's called the Quiet Rocks Area. It wasn't really marked, but there was a place where rock was exposed, so I assume that's what that was. Then there was a landslide that happened in 1935 on the map and there was one area where there seemed to be an abundance of downed trees, so I think that's the evidence of that.
The last place marked on the map was the observation tower. I wandered to it and climbed the stairs to the top to get a fantastic view. I walked around for two hours and loved it. It was really pretty and the sun almost came out for a bit. I got to see lots of stuff I'd never seen before. Most of the pictures I took on this trip. There aren't too terribly many, because 1) I didn't want to spend all my time looking through a digital camera and 2) I didn't realize that my camera had the resolution set ridiculously high, so not many pictures could fit on the S/D card. Any here are some of the highlights:
From the Observation Tower
Quiet Rocks Area (I think). Also ferns, which my Mom found fascinating
Anyway, I found my way out by a very narrow and slippery path on which I nearly fell countless times, but I managed to stay upright******* until I got out of the park. I walked back to the hotel again (here's what it looked like). I only stayed there briefly before going to grab lunch at the most exciting of places: Wendy's********.
After lunch, I showered and shaved (managing to give myself matching cuts on each side of my upper lip) and waited for Emma to come pick me up. She pulled up in her boyfriend's Lexus and we were off. First, we went to Blouevard Park or at least attempted to go there. We had been led astray by Google Maps, so we had to back track to her apartment to correct the directions and then we were at the park.
It was right on the ocean or bay or whatever. We walked the boardwalk back and forth and then chilled on a tiny beach for a bit. I thought the beach looked friggin awesome. Once I'd had my fill of beach sitting and ocean staring we went to get drinks. Emma very kindly bought me a hot chocolate and she got some fancy variety of tea. We sat on a bench and drank and spent a lot of time looking at all the dogs that had shown up.
After that she took me or tried to take me to Whatcom Falls Park. Again we were led astray by Google Maps, but Emma (being baller) managed to find her way to where we needed to be. We ended up making quite the hike in that park. Seeing falls and ending up wandering around a graveyard. It was interesting. Lots of very old graves in various stages of repair. It is the sort of thing that makes one ponder about a lot of things.
We turned around and walked back to the car. We skipped dinner (I hope Emma did eventually eat something) and went back to her apartment to meet her roommate to go to a show. She graciously offered me something to eat there and I ended up having a bagel. We sat around for a bit waiting for Emma's roommate Emily to get home.
Emily drove us to the Upfront Theatre for an improv show. So, I got to go to a show accompained by probably the two most awesome people in the Northwest*********. The show was very funny and I had a fantastic time. Afterwards, Emily drove me back to the hotel and Emma and I had to say our goodbyes. I was definitely bummed, but it was nicely balanced by how glad I was that I had come to that place. Also, this exists now:
Emma and I
We had one final hug and then I went back into the hotel. My flight was at 5:00 the next morning, which meant I would need to be up very early the next morning. I made the call to try to get some sleep rather than try to stay up all night and ordering a pizza. It ended up being the right call.
Okay, I'll end Part 2 here. That's the story of Michael in Bellingham. Part three will be about the trip home, but you don't have to read that because well that will be more boring than this part was.
Thanks for reading
*Context is everything.
**I had a harder time finding these than I should've, but I feared that eco-friendly Northwest might not allow such tiny bottles.
***I don't buy travel size stuff just for kicks. I shouldn't be mean she was very nice.
****I would like to say my fatigue and jet-lag were the reason, but I'm sure that fully rested and aware Michael could've made the same mistake
*****I'll stop with the flattery now
******I actually found one in the Columbus Airport. Quizno's is good, but not really worth a boarding pass just to get some.
*******And avoid becoming Mountain Lion/Bear bait.
********It is the duty of all citizens of Columbus to test the quality of
Wendy's outside of our fair city and report back to the ghost of Dave
*********I lied about stopping the flattery