This past Christmas break felt like it was extremely short. Finals week for me this semester did not end until 10 pm on December 21st, and my flight left the following afternoon. In total, I spent eight days on the West Coast and two days on a plane. It was definitely as short as it seemed.
Did you know Netflix added a new update that allows you to download shows to watch offline? This was a lifesaver. In total, to get from my home in London to my parents in Vancouver, it takes approximately 10 hours. 10 hours, with either really bad airport wifi or no wifi at all, is a long and boring time. In addition, the ability to download shows and movies is getting increasingly difficult without reliable torrent sites, and paying for them is too much and too impractical for a student like me who is not able to afford that luxury. So what did I do? I loaded an entire season of Naruto on Netflix to keep me company!
When I landed in Vancouver, there was some misunderstanding as to where my parents were to meet me because they did not want to pay the outrageous airport parking fees. After an unnecessarily long time of trying to figure out where to meet, we finally found each other and headed into town for some Chinese food. Ironically, my parents were hungrier than I was! After a late dinner, we headed home and I spent my first night back in my old room.
The next two days consisted of running errands, getting to appointments, having food and spending time with extended family, and a nice Christmas Eve banquet at my home church. It felt great to spend time with the people I had been away from for four months and to catch up with people who I had not expected to see. All my friends’ children are growing up and getting so big. Each time I go back, they are always doing something new and looking bigger than before. It is a little sad that I miss that growing period but at least I can see pictures and videos on Facebook these days.
On Christmas Day, my family and I went to our morning church service and then left in the afternoon for the States. My family is pretty funny. For some reason, my parents love to travel on Christmas Day. However, most establishments and businesses are closed except for the occasional McDonalds or some random fast food restaurant. I think they tend to forget this because always we end up spending half an hour trying to find somewhere to eat. We drove all afternoon to get to our hotel in Portland, Oregon and turns out, my parents booked a separate room for my brother and me! We usually make do with one hotel room but I guess my mom got fed up with having all of us in one tiny room.
The next morning, we drove into Downtown Portland to check out a cafe that my brother had wanted to have breakfast at but found that most places were closed due to Christmas Day falling on a Sunday and thus taking Monday off to observe the holiday. Starbucks was still open so we ended up giving up our search for a breakfast place and buying croissants and coffee. My dad drove us around Downtown until we found the small mall there. We checked it out but ended up heading to Powell’s Books’ headquarters, dubbed Powell’s City of Books. It was HUGE! I have always been a bit of a nerd so I savoured my time in the store. My high school history teacher was a huge fan of the store and I knew I would have to check it out to its full extent. I did a quick walk through of all the different sections just to see what they had to offer before digging into the History section. I had a chance to quickly skim the Psychology section before it was time to go.
After Powell’s, my brother led us to check out the food trucks stationed in what seemed to be a central area of downtown. It was only one or two blocks away from Powell’s. My parents grabbed food from a Thai truck while my brother and I chose a Korean BBQ truck. I guess we were craving some Asian cuisine after all our fast food meals on the road. The food was amazing! I think I’ve always been a little skeptical
about how good food from a food truck could but this really made me a believer of food trucks. The food was hot, it was fresh, it was also delicious and well made. The proportion sizes were perfect, however, with anything other than a sandwich, most of these servings seemed a bit difficult to eat on the go or standing without a table. My family ended up eating our food in the car before dispersing so I could go into Powell’s again to raid their Psychology section. I think I ended up leaving that day with five or six books, each under $10!
That evening was the Portland Blazers game versus Toronto Raptors. This was the main reason that our family had headed down there. I guess my brother had wanted to see a game so this was his Christmas gift and the whole family got to enjoy. It was an extremely close game. Both teams played horribly but it was exciting and fun to watch. It was the first time any of us had been to an NBA game. We had to teach my mom some sports etiquette along the way but she caught on quickly enough. Although outnumbered by Blazer fans, we cheered for Toronto and were relieved when they won the game. LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING! The halftime show was SICK! Red Panda was an acrobat act on Season 8 of America’s Got Talent and now performs at NBA halftime shows.
After leaving Portland, we spent some time at the Adidas employee store and the Woodburn Outlets before heading north towards Seattle. We spent the night at an amazing hotel in Tukwila, Washington and did some shopping at Nordstrom Rack, DSW, and the Westfield Southcenter Mall the next day. We also made a quick stop off at Seattle Premium Outlets for dinner before heading towards the border.
On the 29th, it was back to get stuff done before I left. After a much-needed massage, my dad and I went to T&T to stock up on all the yummy Asian snacks that I wouldn’t be able to buy while I was away at school. We came home with four full shopping bags and I somehow got it all to fit in my suitcase without going over the weight limit! I’m really hoping this supply will last me the semester (and if not, please help send more yummy Taiwanese/Asian snacks! lol I’m just kidding…but not really).
The 30th was finally my “chill” day. I slept in and spent the remainder of my morning packing up my suitcase. By mid-afternoon, I headed over to my best friend’s house for a little get together with the squad and the boyfriends. It was pretty sad to have this be my last day at home and the only time I could see everyone but it was a fun night, filled with drinks, food, stories, Cards Against Humanity, and lots of laughter.
On the 31st, I left bright and early for the airport. Once again, with Naruto keeping me company, I braced myself for another long day of traveling. This time, my plane wasn’t full so there was more room to spread out. I finally got back to London and got to spend New Years Eve and New Years Day with Alex so it was a great holiday from beginning to end!
I hope everyone had a great holiday as well! Stay tuned for more in the new year!