Leaving Seattle

On Thursday, March 22, the Honors Brainy Break group said farewell to Seattle, Washington to return to Arkansas. We spent the day in airports, which left plenty of time to reflect on all the fun times contained within the past five days.

The night before we left, Joel and I went out for a nice dinner at an upscale crab house. In preparation for this expensive treat, we stuck to a strict budget for the week; I spent less than $10 on food for the rest of the trip combined. This led to some interesting food experiences: $0.50 Mexican bread (conchas) from a hole-in-the-wall shop (pictured below), a loaf of fresh focaccia bread from a local bakery, $1 pizza in Vancouver (also pictured below), and a LOT of peanut butter.

The most memorable experience during my time in Seattle was watching the sun set from the top of the Space Needle. I had wanted to visit the Space Needle for years because my late mother had planned a family vacation to Washington that never happened. The view from the Space Needle was beautiful, and gave me a sense of closeness to her, even though she’s been gone for 6 months now.

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Our day trip to Vancouver and the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park was another favorite of mine. Botany was my first love, so I love large trees. This park is not easy forgotten. This was my first encounter with huge 300 year old trees, so naturally I made my boyfriend take a million pictures of me with them.

We also went to the Seattle Aquarium, which interested me, since I have been a lab assistant for an Aquatic Ecology class as well as Zoology. The aquarium allows guests to touch marine invertebrates such as anemones, starfish, urchins, and sea cucumbers. A volunteer told us that the water used in the tide pool was actually water from Elliott Bay, and some of the anemones, and crabs that we were seeing were brought in by the water instead of being captured from the wild.

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How to “Seattle” in 5 short, sweet days

As I sit and reflect on the past 5 days, I’m overwhelmed with the task of “ranking” my experiences. Each day offered its own unique opportunities.

•Arrival: We couldn’t have dropped our bags and ran out of the hotel quick enough! We were so eager to explore the city and embark on this exhilarating journey.

To kick-start the trip, we got a bird’s eye view of the Seattle city-scape from the top of the Space Needle. (Just in time to watch the sun fall behind the water, so beautifully). Following, we ventured over to Pike Place Market. I loved peering around every corner to find a different alley way or stair case that led to new places hidden within one another.

•Tours, excursions, and meetings: At Chihuly Garden and Glass I was exposed to the true beauty of human imagination coming to life in one of the most creative ways. I fell in love with glass blown art work and all it entails – the detail, patience, and seemingly effortless specificity. The Museum of Pop Culture & Science Fiction had loads of artifacts and modems to explore. The museum offered interactive stations to connect to the staples of our popular culture and what so many people find intriguing. The Starbucks Reserve Roastery was certainly a highlight of my trip, as every Starbucks drink I have ever had came right through there! I now appreciate the intricacy of the processing and importance of each coffee bean. Visiting the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was extremely humbling and it expanded my vision of the world around me. I am so inspired by those who dedicate their time and efforts to serving others. The groundbreaking work that the Gates family (and every affiliate) has done for people around the world is a true inspiration. During a dinner at Blueacre, we connected with Astate alumni who have created lives for themselves in the Seattle area. This experience was fantastic, as we asked many (many, many) questions about what life is like living in the area, how they got there, how it is different from living in Arkansas, and why they have stayed in Seattle. The Seattle Aquarium and Argosy Harbor tour was very exciting. I enjoy learning about life under water and the view of the city from the boat was astounding.

•Suspension: VANCOUVER was absolutely wonderful. Walking across the suspension bridge at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park was a serious thrill! The view of the rainforest from the bridge and the tree top trails was breathtaking. It is no surprise that the founders believed it to be the 8th wonder of the world.

•Some Other Tid-bits:

Pike Place at Night, inside a bookstore at Pike Place, my contribution to “The Gum Wall,” the first Starbucks, the Canadian coastline, Ramen (not from a microwave package!), Amazon Go (still don’t get how this works!!), the Fremont Troll, the group at Gas Works Park, and the beautiful cherry blossoms on the campus of the University of Washington!

Look who is playing the Accordion!

This trip was one to remember!

I’m thankful for the opportunity to have experienced such an awe-inspiring expedition. I wish never to forget the way the city lights shine after dark in Pike Place Market, the smell of cedar wood at Capilano, my first taste of Ethiopian sun-dried coffee, or the benevolence rooted in the Emerald City.

| shana

Six Days in Seattle, and All I Got Was Emotions About Graduating – Thursday, March 22, 2018

Today is the final day on our journey to Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia, and I can definitely say that his has been one of the most wonderful and relaxing trips that I have ever been on despite the busy schedule. As all we did today was travel through various airports spend time in some tight seats, I will talk about my experience from the entire trip!

We hit the ground running instantly as we arrived in the Emerald City, touring the iconic Space Needle and taking in the breathtaking sights of the downtown skyline. Once my feet hit the ground again, I hopped aboard the permeating monorail to make a trip to Paramount Theatre, where my life was changed. I had the incredible opportunity to see Hamilton: An American Musical along with Katie Kramer’s family and Laura Rawls, and it was by far the coolest theatrical experience that I have ever had. I laughed a lot, and I cried even more, but it was a perfect way to start the trip and reminder to not throw away my shot to make this journey one to remember.

The next day began with Chihuly Garden and Glass, which was a fascinating reminder of the endless bounds of the human potential. Seeing all of the amazing glass sculpture altogether and the intricacies in each piece was undoubtedly a sight to behold. After that, I took a trip to Pike Place Market to eat Beecher’s Mac and Cheese and Grilled Cheese before venturing throughout the market and even seeing the amazing gum wall. After that, we saw the many exhibits of the Museum of Pop Culture and Science Fiction, which includes many famous and iconic props from movies and television, and even played looped videos about bands like Nirvana and other pop culture touchstones. I ended the day by spending time with an A-State Honors alumna, Ms. Neena Viel, who talked about the work that she does through Seattle Education Access, which is very similar to the type of work that I want to do throughout my life.

Day three began with the Starbucks Reserve Roastery, which is where all coffee for the Starbucks brand is made. It was so cool to see the many facets that go into making coffee and the amount of care that goes into making it such a personal brand. After a stop by Pike Place Chowder to devour the best bowl of chowder I have ever eaten, we went on a harbor cruise to take in even more of Seattle’s incredible skyline. After stopping by the aquarium and seeing all kinds of aquatic creatures, I stopped by the first ever Starbucks store to take the most basic photo I’ve ever taken.

O Canada……….. Vancouver was undoubtedly one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been with its calm atmosphere and amazing feats of nature. At Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, we got to explore all of the different excursions, including the bridge itself and the awe-inspiring Cliff Walk. After that, I ended the day by spending too much money on souvenirs and foods (but I didn’t really, thanks to those Canadian dollars).

My final full day started with two things that I have always wanted to try. First, I got to experience Amazon Go, which is a grocery store that works all from your phone and computer technology with no checkout process. I definitely feel like I’m living in the 21st Century now (especially since I went twice after that.) I also got to have authentic Ramen noodles, which was incredibly filling but tasty all the same. Next, we got to tour the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is right in line with how I want to serve others through my career path. The sheer amount of ways that thy are changing the world is astounding, and I cannot wait to see the amazing things they do next. After a restful afternoon due to a migraine, we stopped by Serious Pie to eat some…you guessed it…Serious Pie! It was worth every single penny I spent!

All of this brings us to the end of the trip. As this was my fourth straight trip with the Honors College, I have been incredibly blessed to be a part of some life-changing and culturally-enriching experiences. Being the oldest one in the group, I have become very introspective of my time within the Honors College. I have seen how much I have grown in such a short amount of time. I have seen personally what it means to live out the Honors College’s motto to “Live. Learn. Belong.”

To Chad, thank you for being the best Assistant Director any student could have asked for. There’s a reason you’re called “Chad the Dad”, because you care about every single Honors students that steps foot onto A-State’s campus. Thank you for committing yourself to making every student’s experience in Honors worthwhile. You have been the mastermind behind many of my favorite college memories, including the last two Brainy Breaks, as an instructor of the Italy course, and as advisor of the Honors College Association. I know you shrug off compliments, but please know that your hard work does not go unnoticed and will always be appreciated.

To Rebecca, thank you for introducing me to the Honors family almost eight years ago. I have been able to see Honors grow into the behemoth that it is today, and all of that goes to you. I am so grateful that you have welcomed my family with open arms to Arkansas State University and treated us as if we were a part of your own family. Your constant devotion to Honors and encouragement to me has been one of the main driving factors throughout my college experience, and I just want you to know that I would not be the individual that I am today without your guidance, support, and encouragement.

I may or may not be emotional, but I cannot overstate how much Honors has had an impact on my life. Although my time as undergraduate is coming to an end, I cannot wait to see Honors flourish and reach even bigger heights than I thought possible.

Brainy Break: The Return of the Honors

So today is all about flying and layovers, and we all know about those so I’ll spare you the details. I was honored and excited to be able to come on this trip and experience Seattle. To just be interviewed for a spot was an honor, but let’s get to the juicy stuff. Seattle turned out to be all and more then I thought it would be, and I usually don’t like big cities. The culture was different, and well, the people were not like Arkansans. Nonetheless, the culture in Seattle is amazing. So here is my part of the story.

Saturday was just a chill day, but a fun one! We went to the Space Needle, and then we went to Pike Place market. The needle offered a great view of the city, and the thrill of being high in the air. Apparently you could see the house of the fictional doctor, Meredith Gray, but I guess my eyes aren’t what they use to be. At Pike Place we walked around and saw the market, then had a fantastic dinner at Pike Place Bar and Grill.

Sunday and Monday were packed full with activities. Throughout the course of both days we visited Chihuly Garden and Glass, MoPOP, the Alumni Dinner, Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Seattle Harbor Cruise, and the Seattle Aquarium. Now let me tell you, I was worn flat out by Monday, and we still had more adventures the next day. The blown glass sculptures actually blew my mind. The detail and intricacy of the glass was outstanding and I highly recommend going there to see the art. MoPOP was interesting snd quite cool to see, they had a Nirvana exhibit for a limited time and that was really interesting! Starbucks is already amazing in my eyes, but going to the reserve and see how it is made me like it even more. The tasting experience was the best part because the coffee was good but I learned how to actually taste coffee (you slurp). We also had the best guide to teach us about the reserve. He made the tour interesting but fun at the same time!

The Harbor Cruise and Aquarium were amazing because I got to see the Seattle Bay and a lot of wildlife. I learned a lot about Seattle on the cruise, and learned about some wildlife too. The aquarium was interesting and cool because I saw many animals, and I love marine animals. Now the best part about Sunday was the Alumni dinner. At my table was Paul and Mallory Benade, and they were so interesting and funny. We had some great conversations and really great food. I think the only time we stopped talking is when I had food in my mouth.

Tuesday was packed or Canada day! Wednesday day was chill but a fun day. We had to get up early to head to Canada but when we got there, the fun never stopped. We went to Capilano Suspension Bridge and Park while in Canada and that was the best experience! The rainforest, yes a rainforest in Canada, was so beautiful. It had a lot to do and never let you become bored. At this park there is a trail in the top of the trees. Now me being a nerd, obviously you can tell by the title, this place looked like Endor. The only thing that was missing were the Ewoks. After Capilano, we just explored downtown Vancouver and ate a great dinner! Wednesday we just went to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. I did not know what to expect but it was amazing to see all the work the Gates Foundation is doing. After the foundation we had a lot of free time, so I chose to go to the University of Washington and Gasworks Park. The UW campus was so beautiful and had amazing architecture, and it was a huge campus. Gasworks Park offered a great view of the skyline and we had beautiful weather while we were there. Also I had to visit Amazon Go, and man was that the best place ever. Literally I was amazed at how painless this shopping was and wish we had one in Arkansas.

I will always cherish the memories I have made and will not forget this experience. I highly recommend planning a trip to Seattle and Vancouver because you will have the best time. If I could hop on a plane and go back right now, I would.

Final Day in Seattle

Today was our last day to explore Seattle.  Brooks and I started the day early with a morning jog to Kerry Park which offers one of the best views of the city.  On the way there we had to take on Queen Anne Hill, and we lost.  The next stop for the day was the Pacific Science Center near the Space Needle.  This was full of fun and educational exhibits on various subjects.  This museum also offered a room full of challenging games where I got to show Thomas who the real king of 3D tic-tac-toe was.  Following this, we met the group at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for our final tour together.  Here we were shown some of the worst issues facing the world today and what the foundation was doing to solve these problems and make the world a better place.  It is truly inspiring to see the different ways people come up with to help out those in need and is a great example of how we should all strive to be.  When this tour was over, several of us headed to Serious Pie and made our final lunch some of the famous Seattle Pizza we had heard about.  Olivia and I returned to the Pacific Science Center to see some of the exhibits we had missed.  We stayed there until the museum had closed and then returned to the hotel.  A couple hours later we met with Dylan, Katie, and Anna at the Cheesecake Factory for our final meal.  After the meal was over we decided to have one last walk around the city.  We walked all the way to the bay and along the water back to Pike Place Market.  Once we had decided we had taken in enough of the views, we headed back to the hotel to finish packing and go to bed to get ready for the early bus trip in the morning.

Last Day in Seattle 

Today was our last day in Seattle and while I’m glad to be heading home to relax I’m sad to be leaving the city! This trip provided me with so many opportunities to experience new things and the best part about it was I got to do it with some of my closest friends and our honors family. As a senior graduating in May this trip was a lovely capstone experience! 

So how did we spend our last day in Seattle? We packed it full of as many things as we could! Our day started with breakfast at the hotel followed by getting ready for the adventures to come. We had lunch at Kiki Ramen where I got to experience real ramen for the first time, it was pretty good! We then had a group tour of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which left me feeling incredibly inspired. During our tour we got to learn about everything the foundation does around the world. I was particularly in awe of the aid the foundation gives toward the efforts of eradicating diseases like polio and guinea worm. 

After the foundation, we had free time to do what we wanted for the rest of the day. The first decision my group made was to go to the Fremont area of Seattle to see the Fremont Troll and Gassworks Park. The Troll was cool to see but the park was awesome! It was on the edge of one of Seattle’s lakes and provided a wonderful view of the city on the other side. Not to mention the weather was wonderful and the grass and hills just added to the beauty of the whole experience! Our next stop was at the University of Washington where we walked around and took in the beauty of the cherry blossom trees before heading back to the hotel to rest a little before dinner. 

Dinner was at Serious Pie and it was incredible! I had the potato pizza and unashamedly ate the whole thing! It was probably the best pizza I have had in a very long time. It reminded me of the authentic Italian pizza I enjoyed in Italy last summer during the Honors Taste of Italy Study Abroad Trip. As if I hadn’t eaten enough, I ordered a slice of Coconut Cream Pie. It wasn’t my grandmas pies but I have to admit it was pretty dang good. We concluded our night by walking back to the hotel to pack and prepare for our early flight in the morning! Seattle was great and I can’t wait to return one day! 

Ramen, not from a bag, and other ventures

I started out the day with a little breakfast here at Hyatt Place, with my mind on the Kiki Ramen my friends and I were planning on having for lunch. I had always heard that real ramen was a must-try but I’d never done so myself. Shana and I tried the Shio bowl that had pork and shiitake mushrooms and it was fantastic! I don’t think I will ever be able to stomach a regular bowl of cheap ramen again.

Our next stop was Amazon Go, which was the most amazing retail experience I have ever had. I still don’t understand how that store keeps track of who takes what item! Everything in there was surprising cheaper than I would have imagined. We loved it so much that our group made three stops by the just today! I will get to try my cinnamon roll cup that I purchased early in the morning before our flight.IMG_4942

Then we went to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for a tour. I actually hadn’t ever heard of the foundation so I didn’t know what to expect. During the tour, I was really drawn to the Countdown to Zero display about eradicating diseases. This exhibit really piqued my interest since I want to go into the medical field. It opened my eyes to the possibility of me working in this field one day and being able to impact people who can’t help themselves in this way. IMG_4919

Later in the day, Shana, Dylan, Parker, Rachel, and I took an Uber (my first Uber) to the troll under the bridge. I honestly wasn’t terribly impressed with the troll, but thankfully we walked to the nearby Gas Works Park which was recommended to us by Paul and Malloree Benade. The view of the cityscape was amazing from this green hill! This park would have been a wonderful place to sit down and read a book or have lunch. IMG_4943

Arguably my favorite part of the day was our next stop, which was the University of Washington. The Uber ride over, courtesy of Talal and Benji the white dog, was a great time in itself. Talal kicked off conversation by describing an all red-meat diet he had heard about on the Joe Rogan podcast and that set the tone for the rest of the ride. We ended the ride talking about how to kill an alligator, so clearly we all had a good time! I really wish we could’ve carried Benji around campus with us, he was a good boy. But as we made our way to the center of campus where the cherry blossoms were positioned, we momentarily forgot about Talal and Benji. The campus was beautiful with lots of 19th and early 20th century architecture mixed with more modern buildings spread throughout the campus. I actually wanted to be an architect for a long time so I really enjoyed seeing all of the older, rustic structures. My favorite part, other than the architecture, would be the cherry blossoms in the middle of “the Quads.” This was clearly the hub of campus and it was full of people! We finally finished up the day with a dinner at Serious Pie! This last supper was a nice, relaxing way to end an amazing trip to Seattle.IMG_4934