Or, the trip during which Collin tries to figure out where to go to grad school.
Well, the trip has come and gone, and right away I’ll say this: there is no official decision yet. I think it’s fair to say we’re leaning toward moving, but my policy is to not to think too much about it until we have a concrete discussion.
I was worried I’d get bored during this trip. Most of Collin’s meetings and class visits where in blocks of 4 hours. But I managed to fill that time with a giant book (The Passage by Justin Cronin) or by wandering the campuses and towns. And it’s fall, with millions of colorful trees that make me happy.
The trip begins in Seattle. We showed up Saturday evening.
Seattle – UW (U-Dub, for the uninitiated)
I could really see myself living in Seattle and loving it. It was the first stop of our trip and probably the most relaxing. We were staying with a cool couple from Airbnb.com (and their super awesome cat) in the neighborhood right next to the UW, so we got a feel for what it would be like if we moved there. We got a great deal of exploring in. Chowed down at the Fremont farmer’s market, wandered into some neat vintage stores and checked out other neighborhoods. Capitol Hill could be called Seattle’s Willamsburg.
The first day of Collin’s meetings I forgot my book and UW’s student union is under construction. I just basically walked without any purpose, which is very easy on the UW campus. It’s a large campus with a LOT of students. I got caught during a class changeover and sort of freaked out at the insane flow of people. Oregon State was a good mid-size university in a cute college town with a grid-style system. I was overwhelmed. Anyway, the most important part of this day is that I went to get my hair cut. I have been going overboard cutting my own hair lately, and with my most recent stab of the scissors I knew I kind of messed up. I stumbled into a decent looking salon and got to business. The stylist was a girl probably close to my age who was very nice, even when she was laughing at how badly I had cut my hair. I now have pretty hair! But now I miss my long hair. And I want to go darker again. It’ll never stop. But seriously, I think I’m sticking to long hair from now on.
Tuesday morning was the last meeting and then Collin and I drove down to Portland. He had classes to sit in all evening and I hung out in the Portland State library. It was late and dark and I’ve been to Portland before, so I figured I’d just stay on campus. We return to Portland later, so I’ll leave it at that.
Eugene – UO
Wednesday morning we woke up early to drive down to Eugene. I felt like a traitor. Okay, not really, but it was strange seeing all the green and yellow on this campus given that they’re my football rivals. I hadn’t been on this campus since I was 15, during a trip to show my brother’s school and the same time I discovered OSU and knew (but didn’t accept) that I’d be going to OSU in a few years. The UO campus is quite nice. Trees-y and less confusing than UW, but just as dense. Lucky for me, the awesome Christine came down from Corvallis to hang out with me and to catch up. We discovered that Eugene is a very poorly designed town (funny that they have a planning school and OSU does not!). And it’s a little sketchy.
We had a nice dinner at a brewery in town and then headed back to Portland, which was our home base for the remainder of the trip. A home base that we honestly did not spent much time in.
Spokane – EWU
Collin and I woke up at 4am to get to PDX for our flight to Spokane. If we had more time, we would have found a way to drive, but in this situation, it would have been ridiculously tiring. As it stands, this is where the trip got really tiring for me. We arrived at 10am and were lucky enough to have our hotel room already ready for check-in. Eastern Washington University has more than one campus, and I’m glad the graduate one is in Spokane. The campus is very new, pretty and the city itself is cute and well laid out. The people are extremely nice, which in regular practice is great. In terms of already nice people working retail, that kind of friendly turns creepy, as I found out when browsing the mall. But really, overall a great town. I’d still choose Seattle first, but I think if I did some searching I could find some good job opportunities here as well.
I think both of us assumed Spokane was a courtesy visit, just to say Collin covered all the accredited campuses. However, we both put it up high on the list after visiting. Plus, we had a mini tour with a real estate agent and found the most amazing two bedroom apartment for $625/month! That earns points, not matter what.
Portland – PSU
Friday morning we arose early in Spokane to catch our flight back to Portland. Upon arrival, Collin had one quick meeting, and then we were free to explore Portland for fun. We went to Washington Park and went to the rose garden (this is the City of Roses, after all) and then wandered downtown before heading to dinner. We decided to tough out the always-long wait at the Deschutes Brewery to see what the fuss is all about. Turns out there is good reason for the crowds of people. The food was amazing, as were all the options we didn’t consume. Great beer, of course, is to be expected.
Saturday was our final day of the trip, free to do whatever we pleased. We took it very easy. Sleeping in until 9am felt glorious. Hanging out over breakfast at a coffee shop that could almost compare to our beloved Outpost in Brooklyn was extremely relaxing. Collin went for a run and I browsed the Internets and found a delicious Mexican dinner spot for the evening to enjoy with two of my friends who live in Portland. Feeling properly pampered, we headed out on a drive toward the Columbia River Gorge. The views were beautiful, but we didn’t have a whole lot of time, since we had to return the rental car. However, I suckered Collin into stopping by an outlet store, and that boy hit the jackpot at the Gap! I found some nice things as well, but let just say I’m glad I’ve proven the value of outlet malls to Collin now.
We dropped off the rental, booked it into the Alphabet District in the only night of rain on this trip for dinner. Then it was up at 4am for our flight back to NYC. Phew. That was a tiring trip, but still a fun one!
Now I sit here, nursing the cold I caught from Collin midway through the trip and wondering what comes next. Immediately, however, I’m looking forward to Halloween this weekend. Then the NYC Marathon next weekend to cheer on Collin. I hope we can figure out something to top the high-five we did last year.