Reverb10: Day 22 – Travel (Part 1)

Traveling is like flirting with life. It’s like saying, “I would stay and love you, but I have to go; this is my station.”
– Lisa St. Aubin De Teran

Finally caught up!  Since we’re leaving for holiday travel tomorrow, I’ll probably quickly be behind again, but, oh well!  Today’s prompt:

How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year? (Author: Tara Hunt)

This is easy.  Obviously, we took the big trip at the end of the summer.  (This post is going to be phot-heavy, so I’m going to split it into at least two posts.)

We flew to Chicago, then caught the train (romantically called the Empire Builder) and rode it all the way to Seattle – two overnights on the train.  We had our own sleeper car:

The seats covert into a lower bunk, and the top bunk swings down from overhead.  It was a little cramped, but it was definitely worth the experience.

We rode through some of the most gorgeous parts of the country.  We crossed the Mississippi:

There’s a line in an Indigo Girls song that goes, “Well, the Mississippi’s mighty, but it starts in Minnesota at a place that you can walk across with five steps down” – I heard that in my head as we, indeed, crossed the river in Minnesota.  We spent much of the night in North Dakota; in fact, we pulled through Fargo, where I was born, at about three in the morning.  The next day was spent largely in Montana, which was gorgeous and made me dream of Legends of the Fall:

The next morning, we rode through the Cascades, which was unbelievable – we want to go back and spend some time there:

I took that last one (well, all of these, actually) through the train window.  I can’t believe how well this one turned out.

We pulled in to Seattle, took a cab to the hotel, and immediately went down to the Public Market:

Later we headed to the Space Needle, just as the sun was going down:

Mount Ranier was off in the distance:

The next day we took the ferry to Bainbridge Island, went to the Mariners game, and toured underground Seattle.  We left Seattle the next morning, but not before taking a peek at the Fremont Troll, who lives under the bridge:

Our next stop was Mount Saint Helens, and I don’t even have any words, so we’ll just let the pictures talk for a little while:


We headed to Oregon next – tune in for Part 2!

Reverb10: Day 21 – Future Self

Failing to catch me at first, keep encouraged,
Missing me one place, search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.
– from “Song of Myself,” by Walt Whitman

Yesterday’s prompt:

Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?) (Author: Jenny Blake)

Ok, I don’t get the first part – how can my 5-years-from-now self give my current self advice on the upcoming year?  That’s just dumb.  We’re skipping that.  Let’s move on to the second part.

Ten years ago, I was 23, about to turn 24.  I was living in Richmond with Aimee and had just started working in customer service for a big-ass company after a failed stint as a case worker in Baltimore after college (failed because I couldn’t live on that salary – $10.28/hour with no benefits – once my roommate moved out, so I had to quit and come home) and a final summer at the amusement park. Here’s what I’d tell her:

Dear 23-year-old Melanie,

A lot changes in 10 years.  There’s so much you can’t see right now.  Right now, you don’t know that this job becomes unbearably tedious because it hardly makes use of your skills.  It ends up making you angry more days than not, yet you stick with it because you’re not sure what else you want to do.  But for now, you love it and the people you meet.  Try to hold on to that feeling; don’t focus on the negative so much.  Eventually, you’ll have to leave the job and the people, and not by choice.  It ends up for the best, job-wise, but you might try a little better to hold on to the people.  Karen’s still here, thank goodness, but you’ll really miss Sandy once you lose touch with her.

Right now, you don’t know that in about 18 months, your world is going to get turned upside down.  You’re going to wake up without sound one day.  It’s going to be terrifying, heartbreaking, soul-crushing.  You’re going to be angry a lot and for a long time. That’s ok.   You’re going to think that life is over, that maybe your life should be over.  That’s ok, too.  But I’m here to tell you, the world does not end.  You are stronger than you think, and you have amazing people around you who will lift you up when you think you can’t go on one more day.  You will learn who your true friends are and be surprised and hurt at who doesn’t make the cut.  You will learn first hand that every person in your family, and your closest friends, will drop everything and come to your rescue when you are drowning.  Eventually, you will see that the world is still good and know that you still want to be a part of it.  Take as much time as you need.

You’re going to be a lawyer.  Can you believe that?  After all the lawyers in your family, and all the lawyer jokes your friends told, and after thinking the law would never be for you, it turns out that it is.  Don’t be afraid to go to school so far from home.  It’s ok to be nervous – law school is hard – but you are destined for the top of the class.  First year, though, don’t be fooled by your roommate – she’s crazy, and she is not your friend.

Oh, and right now?  Right now, you still think J is the end-all be-all when it comes to love.  But I’m going to tell you a secret:  he is not for you.  You are not going to end up together, no matter how many sappy stories you write, or how many times you try to make yourself into what you think he wants.  He is in love with someone else, and he’s going to marry her.  And that’s a good thing.  She’s lovely, and he is very happy.  You just sit tight, though, and when the moment is exactly right, when you are ready to do the work that comes as part of a real, true, grown-up relationship, the right guy is going to walk into the Metro station just moments after you.  You’ll know him already, but be careful you don’t pass him by.

Reverb10: Day 20 – Beyond Avoidance

Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.
– Mark Twain

Monday’s prompt:

What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?) (Author: Jake Nickell)

This is going to be short and vague.  Yes, there is something I avoided doing this year (and last year, and a lot of years before that) because dealing with it scares the crap out of me.  I think I’m going to have to deal with it in 2011, in some kind of way.  It will be very private and personal, and I hope it brings me relief.

Reverb10: Day 18 – Try

The worst thing one can do is not to try, to be aware of what one wants and not give in to it, to spend years in silent hurt wondering if something could have materialized — and never knowing.
– David Viscott

Almost caught up!  Saturday’s prompt:

What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did/didn’t go for it? (Author: Kaileen Elise)

My 2010 answer is easy – curling.  Tried it.  Loved it.  Joined a club.  Still not great at it, but still love it.

In 2011, I’d like to try to finish a majority of the things on my list.  There are a lot that I haven’t even started that will take some time – making the journals, writing the letters, naming all the photos on my computer – not to mention the ones that involve traveling, so I’ve got to get moving on those.

Also — I’m going to go into more detail on this in a later post, probably outside of the Reverb prompts — 2011 is the end for me, weight-wise – it’s sink or swim, do or die, put up or shut up.  So there’s that.

(I’m skipping yesterday’s prompt – WAY too new-agey for me – but I will return tomorrow with two posts covering today and tomorrow’s prompts.)

Reverb10: Day 17 – Lesson Learned

I am learning all the time.  The tombstone will be my diploma.
– Eartha Kitt

Skipping last Thursday (didn’t spend a ton of time with friends this year, I guess, because nothing’s coming to mind).  Last Friday’s prompt:

What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?  (Author: Tara Weaver)

In a nutshell, I learned that I can’t be too proud or stubborn to ask for help when I’m sinking.  When my anxiety and depression came back full force after I stopped taking my anti-depressants this summer, I resisted going back for help as long as I could because part of me thought it meant I was weak and if I just tried *harder* I could get better on my own.  I still fight that idea every day, but I’m slowly learning to accept it.