After settling into Seattle and the new environment, I realized that I was missing something: basketball. For those who don’t know, I left WV at the beginning of the second semester of my junior year, which means I left my basketball team and the habit of practicing everyday. Feeling the desire to fill this void, I ordered a basketball from Amazon. On the same day, Sonja took me to a park about a mile away. Of course, my favorite part about this park is the basketball court, but there are some other things about it which I find cool enough to mention: a nice sized field for soccer and frisbee, a tennis court, and some places to skate. Also, in the middle of the park, there’s a pyramid-like structure with water coming out of the top of it – a fountain.

My basketball came in the mail the following day, but unfortunately, it was raining. It was actually two whole days before the weather was conducive for playing. However, as soon as the sun came out and I was finished with school, I was off to the park. Happily, I saw that there was a game going on and hoped that I’d have a chance to play. Sure enough, after a couple minutes of shooting solo, a kid about my age came up to me. His English wasn’t the greatest, but I understood him enough to realize he wanted to play a one-on-one game. It was a lot of fun to play again; however, I quickly became aware of how much conditioning I’d lost in just a couple weeks of not playing! Despite my poor shape, I managed to beat him by four in a game to nine. Pathetically, one game was quite enough to wear me out.

After the game, we hung out and talked for awhile. We mostly exchanged questions about school and basketball – those were the obvious common-grounds. He told me he was from Vietnam, and that he is in America for scholastic purposes. He didn’t really know what he wanted to pursue in college yet, but said he’d probably go into business. His real name is “Khan Aoy” [pronounced: Kai Lee], but he told me to just call him “Johnny” [pronounced: Jon-ee]. I even asked him if he’d prefer being called “Khan,” and he said, “No. Just say, ‘Johnny.’” : ) Johnny explained to me that he’d been in America for a year so far – since the tenth grade – and that he was going to stay until he graduated college! It’s a little hard for me to imagine being away from home that long. I’ve only been in Seattle for two and a half months and I’m already homesick! When it started getting dark, I told Johnny I needed to get back, so we exchanged numbers and bid farewell. I’ve tried to reach him since then, but have had no luck, unfortunately.

Several days later, I went back to the park on a beautiful, sunny day. I hoped to find my new friend, but he wasn’t there. However, there were other kids playing games just like last time, and the same thing happened. I was asked to play two on two in a game to eleven. Two’s a much more dynamic game than one versus one, so I was excited to be able to play. My teammate was probably in his late twenties. Our opposers were two internationals, one being probably twenty-five, the other around fifteen. At first, I was a little doubtful that my team would win. I was out of shape and my teammate was a little on the heavy side. By contrast, the other team was spry and seemingly in shape. Despite the apparent odds, no one scored for the first three or so minutes. I attributed this to being evenly matched. Finally, we started recognizing our opposite’s strategy and stole a few points before they caught on to ours. However, when they finally did catch on, we couldn’t really change it. Running wasn’t my collaborator’s style, so swapping positions was out of the question. Inevitably, after they caught on, our only option was to work harder, and I was getting so tired. >__> We managed to win that game, but only because of the lead that we gained in the beginning. In the following game, we lost by four.

Just so the readers don’t imagine me getting fat and lazy up in Seattle, I think it’s important to point out that I’m not in terrible shape entirely. There’s good muscular condition and there’s good cardio condition. Right now, I’d consider myself an example of the former. I console myself by saying I could have beat those guys in an arm wrestle. ; )

Since then, I’ve played several more games and have had tons of fun, but frankly, rock climbing has temporarily taken basketball’s place, and I’ll go on to share those adventures in another entry.

Making Memories on Mountains

Soon enough, it was Saturday morning, and we had a day of fun ahead of us: Josh, two of his coworkers – Matt and Eric, and myself. After eating a bachelor’s breakfast which consisted of some hot oats, Josh and I loaded up the car and set out to pick up our other two party members. I’m not really sure if that’s a bachelor’s breakfast or not, but the point is that Sonja was gone and we threw together something to eat out of necessity.

The ride to Stevens Pass proved to be a fairly uneventful part of life for me; I was surrounded by three Amazon system-engineers whose conversations were in a foreign language as far as I was concerned. I tried to listen as best I could, but I had no context or breadth-of-mind to understand hardly anything. Thankfully, the conversation changed to more common ground when we reached the ski resort. (;

The mountains and slopes visible from the ground triggered a feeling of anxiety and thrill that coursed through my body. Not only had it been two years since I’d been on a snowboard, but the times that I had been on one were at a resort laughable in comparison to this colossus. None-the-less, I was hoping that I could pick up the technique quickly. We suited up at the car and headed towards the lifts. That is, Josh, Eric, and I headed towards the lifts – poor Matt had to wait in line for some gear and a ticket because he was only visiting WA. Those of us who had gear and passes started up the mountain to conquer the first ride of the day. As we rode on the lift, the slopes below us looked slightly less daunting, which was somewhat encouraging. However, there were some very treacherous looking routes available. I made sure to ask Josh if we could start out with something easier until I got the hang of things.

It felt great to get my feet strapped into a snowboard again. I was immediately a little less insecure as my muscles and psyche recalled the initial technique required to snowboard – like riding a bike! However, just because I could stand on the board didn’t mean that I could zip down the mountain with no problem. I knew it was going to take time to get comfortable on the board, especially on this grade of slope. With that in mind, I started down the mountain at a fairly slow pace. It was pretty steep at times, but I managed to make it safely to the bottom. I started to feel more confident which might have been my biggest mistake. Something that’s kind of peculiar to note is that I actually fell more as the day went on! That’s not to say I fell a lot, but more often than at the beginning. There are two falls which I recollect more vividly than others. The first one was when I was riding down a fairly steep slope; it wouldn’t have been too much of a problem, but as a result of its gradient, there were rather large “bumps” on the slope called “moguls.” These are made by the repeated turns of snowboarders and skiers as they make their way down the mountain. Needless to say, the edge of my board caught one of these things, and I came plummeting down the mountain like a tumble weed until the friction of this unorthodox position brought me to a halt. Of course, this graceless spill of mine greatly amused Josh who had gone ahead and waited for me a ways down the slope. I joined in on the laughter when I reached him.

At about noon, Matt joined us on the mountain, and we made a plan to ride a lift to the backside of the mountain, which is where my next “great fall” took place. We decided to take a route called ‘Outer Limits.’ I should have taken the name as a cue to be extra careful, but I didn’t. This slope was more of a narrow route, which made me dislike it from the start – I was used to wider paths where there is plenty of room to turn and move around. The narrow route forces you to alternate the edges of the board quickly in order to direct yourself and slow down. Because I was still pretty insecure on the board, this was a fairly hard thing for me. Whatever the case, I was coming down this narrow slope and didn’t notice a sharp, right turn until I was pretty much already on it. The speed I was going, coupled with the sudden demand for a direction-switch, caused me to overcompensate and I actually went over the side! Somehow, I was able to catch some snow with the back edge of my board and hold on to the edge of the cliff with my hands before cascading all the way down the mountain side. Thank God, because that would have been terrible! I worked my way back up to the path and met everyone at the bottom.

Despite that narrowly missed tragedy, we decided to take Outer Limits again! However, our plans changed as something really unfortunate happened – on the lift ride up the mountain, Eric dropped his backpack on a black diamond route below us! It wasn’t TOO bad, I guess. We just hoped no one would steal it before we had a chance to retrieve it. Our plan to get it back was simple enough: Matt and I would ride down Outer Limits normally, and Josh and Eric would get the bag. So, we took off down the mountain. By this time, I was feeling pretty good on the board again. After a few minutes of riding, I realized that I had lost Matt. However, I didn’t think much of it since we were just going to meet up at the bottom anyway.

When I reached the bottom, I still couldn’t find Matt, Josh, or Eric! I waited at the lift for about twenty minutes, but there was still no sign of them, so I decided to go ahead and ride back up. After a few minutes on the lift, I realized that I was on the wrong one! Now, before you call me a blonde, try to understand that there were two lifts that looked absurdly identical, and I hadn’t been there enough to know my way around. I mentally kicked myself almost the whole way up for not bringing my cellphone and taking the wrong lift. After about forty-five minutes of solo lift and slope riding, I caught up with the group; and it was good timing – Josh almost had the ski-patrol out scouring the mountains for me! They probably would have been less worried if I hadn’t told them about my falling off the cliff earlier. We decided to call it a day.

Despite all the mishaps that seem to be the majority of this entry, the ski trip was a blast! I am forever spoiled by the amazing mountains and snow on the West Coast – it’s truly an amazing opportunity to be out here.  

First Impressions

First Impressions Pt. I

I landed in Seattle at five o’clock p.m. (PST), one hour off schedule. You might think that I’d be exhausted after about sixteen hours of traveling and confusion, but I didn’t feel tired at all! Perhaps the jet lag and fatigue would catch up to me later. Whatever the case, I was excited and ready to check out the city.

After rendezvousing with Sonja in the baggage claim, we took a nifty shuttle called the ‘Light Rail,’ reminding me of the Sky Link from earlier, further into the city. The glass sides of the shuttle made it a perfect place for observation as we were cruising through the outer-limits at about 40mph. Also, contrary to normal weather conditions, the sky was clear and there was a beautiful sunset that lit up the city – an awesome first impression, for sure!

Our plan was to meet Josh and have some dinner. Sonja had mentioned that they wanted to take me to a Mediterranean restaurant called Petra. Now, I had already decided that one of my goals was going to be an openness to try new things. In case it slipped your mind, I’m a creature of habit. This goal was going to be a tough one for me; however, I figured Seattle would be a good place to become more liberal-minded. Mediterranean food was my first test. To this suggestion, I was not immediately turned off as I probably would have been otherwise. I would like to be able to congratulate my early stages of successful openness; but frankly and a little unwillingly, I attribute this to the fact that my body clock was saying it was eight p.m. and that I’d only eaten a small bag of beef jerky since three a.m. (EST).

It was five-thirty when we got off the Light Rail. However, Josh wasn’t quite finished with his work day, so Sonja and I decided to walk around a bit. There was so much to see! I’d never been in the midst of city chaos before. The only past-references to a city I had were from stories, movies, and pictures – living it was a whole new experience! There were taxis, sky-scrapers, people walking everywhere, restaurants, lights—the list goes on. It wasn’t the weekend or a holiday, this was just busy city life, and my senses were individually captivated by taking it all in. I think Sonja was even afraid I would absent-mindedly mistake the busy street for an extension to the sidewalk. What an outrageous idea! I’m not such a butterfly-chasing, scatter-brained individual. However, looking back, I might have looked like your typical tourist—focused on everything but the road. Perhapsher concerns were somewhat merited, painful as that is to admit.

Several minutes later, Josh texted saying he was finished with work, and we started walking in his direction. It wasn’t long before we could see his unmistakable silhouette in the distance. Even in the midst of cluttered sidewalks, it was easy to spot that casual individual, strolling along with his hands in his pockets, curly mess of dark hair, and that red coat which swallowed him whole. He would probably disagree with that last descriptive statement, but these posts are from my point of view, so I can say what I want! Now that were all finally together, we started towards the Mediterranean restaurant. The sun was almost completely set, rendering a dark sky and making the numerous street lights light up our surroundings. It was a cheerful walk to the restaurant. Along the way, we conversed about what sort of things we would do the following day, since I had so much to see! We continued conversing in the cozy restaurant on the corner, while looking at the food menu. There were so many unusual dishes to choose from, it was a little overwhelming. So, I decided I’d narrow it down by searching for the most americanized choice there was. I know. I wasn’t making good progress on this new goal: trying new things – but I didn’t want to waste anymore time by reading through food options I didn’t know anything about! I figured I had experienced enough new things for one day. I chose some kind of lemon chicken with rice dish, which ended up being a very good choice – it tasted great! More importantly, I got out of there without having to look into the eyes of a dead squid.

After finishing dinner, it was fairly dark. For the sake of saving time, we decided to take the bus to the house. I was excited to fulfill my curiosity of what I’d be living in for the next four months. Recalling that it was a one bedroom apartment, I was also concerned with how the sleeping arrangement would work itself out.

End of Pt. I

First Impressions Pt. II

Despite the previous action-packed day, I was up bright and early the next morning. It was strange to look at the clock and see that the time was three hours earlier than what my body clock told me. I had that feeling of sleeping for half a day, and it was still seven o’clock! I thought, ‘What a handy time switch.’ I also marveled at how I had slept in my own bed just one night before, and how I was waking up across the country from my house. As I mentioned earlier, this is a one-bedroom gig, so I’m camping out in the living room corner. However, this is not as bad as it may sound! My bed is made up of several Japanese cushions which make for a fairly comfy arrangement. From this vantage point, I spent some time observing details and furnishings of the house, still being somewhat captivated by the new atmosphere. On the back wall are four windows overlooking the beautiful courtyard and the rest of the classic, mansion-like building. In the middle of the living room is an inviting, three-partition couch, fitted together in circular formation and seemingly the perfect size for the small room. Also, beside my bed and below the four windows, there is a radiator for heat, nearly the length of the back wall. The radiator, coupled with the old-style windows, reminds me of an old mansion of some sort. In fact, the style of the building reminds me of C.S. Lewis’ mansion in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Some of you may disagree with my reference, but the building is close to what I imagined while reading. Still, since my explanation may not have done this living space justice, here are some pictures of the recuperating-corner and a glimpse of the view. Under those is a link to some excellent, professional pictures Josh and Sonja took of the building.

My BedBed

About an hour later, Josh and Sonja were up. Yeah – those late sleepers. They were excited to give me a taste of Seattle coffee. I had heard quite a few positive reviews about Seattle’s coffee, and that morning, I was finally able to validate the stories I’d heard. The coffee was awesome! The activities of today started with a decision to walk to a sporting-goods store called REI. It was typical, overcast weather in Seattle, however, not rainy! I was in a state of utter confusion during the walk to REI. The city looked much bigger in the daytime, perhaps this was because so many more details were visible; and in addition to all this new material I was trying to keep track of, Sonja would tell me the names of stores, restaurants, and streets, further overwhelming my cognitive state. For several minutes I acknowledged and pretended to log the information with which I was being flooded, but I could only keep that up for a short time before I confessed to her that I couldn’t recall anything she was telling me! Yes. Thoroughly overcome was I. She understood completely, though.

Five or so minutes later and REI was in sight. That’s not to say we were very close – this massive, three story building was easy to see from quite a ways away. The side facing us was a rock climbing wall within the building. The building’s size was enough to spark my curiosity, but the rock wall intrigued me further. I was ready to have a closer look.

At the entrance of the building were double wooden doors, tall and heavy; and as was to be expected, the inside of the store was gigantic. After a few minutes of looking around, I realized that this was the ideal place for outdoor gear! Camping supplies, snowboards, skis, rock climbing equipment, bikes, clothes — all of it was here. In less than an hour, we found high-quality snowboard boots and snow-pants, which were significantly marked down, and a fairly-priced jacket. REI was quickly enlisted as one of my favorite stores in Seattle, and I was well on my way to being ready for snowboarding Saturday– all I needed was the snowboard! It might sound like I got the ring before the girl, but I think both are equally important in this case. For the rest of the day, Sonja showed me around the city.

That evening, I spent some time shopping for a snowboard online. I wanted to avoid getting one at full price so I tried Craigslist first, which availed me no luck. As this was the case, we decided to check out a different store down-town the following day. We didn’t expect to find much, but contrarily, we happened across the perfect match for my height and weight; the board even came with bindings that fit my boot size! It was pre-owned, but never ridden. Regardless of its mint condition, it was marked down nearly two-hundred and fifty percent of its original price, which placed it well within my price range. I couldn’t be more thankful and happy for the deals I found. I was now excited and ready for the slopes and adventures that would ensue the following day.

End of First Impressions

Airport Adventures

Airport Adventures Part I

On the 16th of January, I started my year with a flight to Seattle, WA. Flying is no big deal for a lot of people, and I’m sure one day it won’t matter as much to me either. However, this time I can assure you that it was no trivial detail! For the first time in my life, I was leaving home for a longer period than ever before; I was leaving my friends, my lifestyle, and more importantly, the majority of my family for an estimated period of four months. Naturally, I am a creature of habit and, without hesitation, I can say that I’d be perfectly content living in the same place my entire life! Some people love to travel and explore, but it has never been that way with me. As you can see, moving away was going to be a big adjustment for me.

Anyway, back to my point – I was leaving my home and flying by myself! Honestly, the only thing I really knew about airports was that they had those cool automatic staircases. I have to admit, I was pretty excited about those. Besides that, I had heard horror stories about airports: how big and confusing they are, and how delayed flights can sometimes force you to run from terminal to terminal giving you no time to catch your bearings. It sounds like I know what I’m talking about, but I wasn’t even sure what a terminal was! So, having no knowledge or perspective of an airport, this became my definition of it. To top it all off, my own parents were the ones who shared most of these horror stories! I tend to be very pessimistic anyway; somehow, I always find the worst-case scenario in almost everything I do. As you can see, these airports were quickly becoming a big, scary monster in my imagination, and I doubted that I would even make it out alive! Of course, I’m being a little sarcastic. However, I really thought I’d miss a flight and have to spend the night in either Texas or New York.

We set out to the airport from the house at three thirty a.m. (EST). ‘We’ included my Dad, Mom, and me. I had a long day of travel ahead. Four o’clock p.m. (PST) was the estimated time of arrival. Keeping in mind the time difference, this meant I’d be in transit for about 15½ hours (if everything went as planned, of course)! Despite the stories I had heard about it being difficult to sleep on the plane, I was hoping to catch a little rest.

The Charleston airport was nothing too special, even for me. It was not the one I was worried about! Also, not only did I have my parents with me, but I was still in West Virginia. What could happen to me in WV? We checked-in at the front desk of American Airlines, had my tickets printed, and handed over my luggage. Actually, it’s more appropriate to say that my mother took care of everything at this point. I just watched. After all this was done, I had about thirty minutes to wait for my flight to LaGuardia, NY. My parents walked with me to the ramp that led to security. After this point, I was on my own. No, I didn’t breakdown and start crying or anything, but I did realize that I wouldn’t see my parents for about four months. I hugged them and promised to call when (or if) I landed in LaGuardia, and they watched me until I was out of sight.

Airport Adventures Part II

 Now on my own, I continued walking to the end of the hall and took a right which led to security. I had no idea what to do here and almost laughed out-loud at how pathetic I felt. Thirty seconds without my parents and I was stuck! Yeah, my odds for getting to Seattle were not looking too good. I wasn’t in this state of anxiety for long, though – it only lasted a few seconds. Suddenly, I had the bright idea to watch what the guy in front of me was doing, and all my problems were solved. He put his shoes, coat, and carry-on bag in convenient little boxes that were provided at the conveyer belt, which then took them through some kind of scanning system. I figured that was simple enough, so I followed suit. My luggage was to meet me on the other side after I went through the human scanner. I made my way to the waiting room and boarded my first flight fifteen minutes later. I had heard a few stories about takeoffs: how horrible and how wonderful it is. Needless to say, I was curious whether I’d be in the group that hates takeoffs or the group that loves them. I was willing to bet that the latter would be my preference. After all, I’m fond of the feeling of losing my stomach. However, I still had a moment of uncertainty because I’m not at all partial to the sensation of my ears popping!

The plane came to the end of the takeoff path, wheeled around, and paused. A few seconds later, I began to feel the engine picking up in RPMs, and at the same time, I heard the whining pitch of the amazing jet engine slowly increase. We started moving slowly at first but quickly picked up pace. At this moment, I knew that takeoff was only a few seconds away – we were moving so fast now! Then, I felt the front of the plane lift off the ground; very soon after that, the tail became airborne. Yes, I think my stomach was left on the ground! It was awesome. I immediately knew my opinion about takeoffs: I love them!

After getting over the feeling of being airborne, I whipped out my flight-sequence paper to see how long this flight was. I also looked at my next stop because I always forgot that weird name: ‘LaGuardia.’ This flight was about an hour, and I had an hour layover. I felt confident that I could make it to my next plane. After feeling this sense of confidence, I actually fell asleep and didn’t wake up until the pilot announced that we were about 20 minutes away from LGA! Just to be safe, I glanced at my paper again. Gate A11 was where I had to be for my next flight. However, I remembered my Mom telling me that gates change a lot. So, the first thing I decided I’d do was ask an American Airlines’ representative for help.

After landing and coming to a stop, we were permitted to grab our things and offload. The airport was sizable, and I had no idea where I was, but I consoled myself by realizing this was a normal feeling. I stepped out of the lobby area and found myself in the middle of a gigantic hallway. Then, I looked up and read a sign that said, “B2.” I concluded that I was in the B terminal and felt a little less lost. At the American Airlines’ station, the representative confirmed my next gate. Looking back, I’m sure it would have been hard to refuse me because I imagine I was a helpless sight with all my papers laid on the desk and my inexperience with the terminology. The man, however, was very helpful and he immediately started assessing my tickets and confirmed that my next flight to Dallas, Texas was located in Terminal E. He helped me organize all my tickets, wished me luck, and I thanked him. I started down the hall and found myself in terminal E several minutes later. I passed through another security check and sat, awaiting my flight. I had a sense of accomplishment at this point, and I was finally in a good place to call my parents. So, that’s what I did.

Thirty minutes passed fairly quickly, but we still hadn’t boarded the plane. Eventually, there was an announcement that the plane was running late. At this point, I was a little concerned. Every minute that passed meant less time to find my way around in Dallas. The plane was about forty-five minutes late, which meant that my hour layover in Dallas had turned into fifteen minutes. As I thought over this, I realized I had a legitimate concern. Everything after this point seemed to be in slow-motion because I wanted it to be faster – even the plane, which was already moving at about five-hundred MPH. Maybe I was being a little impatient! I was constantly looking at the clock and the time of my next flight, trying to determine whether I could make it or not. Then, I was thinking about what I’d do if I didn’t make it to this flight.

The pilot announced that we were approximately an hour away from Dallas, TX. My next plane was scheduled to leave at twelve-thirty, and it was twelve-fifteen. I couldn’t understand why I was going to be so late! How did forty-five minutes turn into an hour and forty-five minutes? Well, while I was trying to figure that one out, the time changed, giving me another hour. I had forgotten about Texas being a Central Time zone! As much of a relief that was, I was still in the same predicament just slightly less extreme.

After we landed and the pilot announced that we could turn our cellphones back on, I sent my sister-in-law, Sonja, a text telling her that we had just landed and that I was going to miss my next flight. I wasn’t really sure how she’d be able to help me, but I didn’t know what else to do. Well, contrary to my assumption, Sonja had been tracking all of my flights and had a solution to my problem! She texted back and told me that there was an Alaska Airlines’ flight leaving in forty-five minutes, and if I couldn’t make that one, I could just schedule the next American Airlines’ flight to Seattle. I wanted to try for the Alaska Airlines’ flight, however, because if I missed this one, I’d have to wait three hours for the alternative.

I got off the flight and was immediately overwhelmed by the size of the airport. It was massive. Of course, I had that feeling of not knowing where the heck I was, too. I stepped out of the lobby into the hallway – kind of like how LGA was, only about three times the size, I noted. I chose left as my direction to walk in my quest to find an Alaska Airlines’ desk. After finding one, I explained to the woman behind the desk that I had missed a flight due to a delay and that I was hoping to take the next flight from Alaska Airlines to Seattle. The woman nodded and began searching for the flight. Looking up with wide-eyes, she said, “This flight is in terminal E gate #11 and you are in A. Are you sure you can make it?” My countenance dropped considerably at this comment – I had no idea if I could make it! “Uhh, yeah, I want to try,” I told her. Her only response was “okay” in a very incredulous tone of voice, which took yet another toll on my quickly-diminishing hope. She handed me the ticket and added, “If you want to make this flight, take a left to the Sky Link which will bring you over to terminal E.” I thought, ‘What the heck is the Sky Link?’ I tried to act like I knew what she was talking about and thanked her. I turned, and she called after me to say that if I didn’t make it then I could always get another flight from American Airlines. I thanked her again and took off, hoping to find this thing that I knew nothing about: the Sky Link or whatever. Then I saw the Sky Link sign and an escalator that led to it. Although I was disappointed that my first time on an escalator was going to be when I was in a hurry, I was still excited to try this out. I stepped onto the moving staircase and began riding to the top. I imagined that if I wasn’t so short on time, I’d enjoy this ride repeatedly. Unfortunately, I had other priorities. I made it to the top and boarded the Sky Link without having a chance to see what exactly I was getting into. However, I was able to observe things for a few minutes after we started moving. It kind of reminded me of train or bus. It ran on tracks that were elevated some good amount off the ground and shuttled from terminal to terminal. Pretty fast and awesome. The former of which was most encouraging in my predicament. After each terminal was reached, there was a computerized voice that sounded over the speakers within the shuttle, stating the terminal name. Within five minutes, I was in terminal E. Things were looking good at this point, I just needed to find gate eleven. I got off the Sky Link and saw that I was to ride another escalator down in order to arrive at my gate, which I happily did. When I reached the bottom, I noticed that I was at E1. I began fast-walking in the direction of ascending numbers and found myself at E11 in about eight minutes. I was relieved to see that the plane had only boarded about half of its travelers. I guessed it was half, at least.

It felt so good to be on my last plane. I texted Sonja and let her know that I made it to the Alaska flight, and that I’d see her in about four hours.

End of Airport Adventures