As much as I was looking forward to this trip, I was frustrated that it was coming at the beginning of the month (when work is heaviest) so that I couldn’t take more than Friday/Monday off for sightseeing and visiting friends all over the state of Washington.
But nonetheless, I excited to see my sister Joy for her graduation. Amy, a friend who's like another sister to me, has become part of my family, so she was coming too. We purchased plane tickets over a month ago and were planning to flight out before dawn on Friday morning and hop a flight home before dawn Monday morning (layovers in San Francisco both ways). I would later realize how tough this would be. Joy’s baccalaureate was Friday night and her graduation Sunday afternoon.
Between booking flights and traveling, Heidi and I started dating. We discussed it, and I booked her a ticket, too. Amy had graciously agreed to give up her seat to Heidi, but with TSA, that’s not an option. We couldn’t get her on the same flight as us, but we did find other flights for her. A long layover in Phoenix on the way up early Friday morning, but a direct flight home on Monday night.
The layover was tight in SF, and we had to run, but we made it with only a couple minutes to spare. My standard time-occupiers on planes are knitting and Sudoku puzzles. I have little success reading anything comprehensively in flight. I need something to do with my hands that only slightly engages my brain, and those activities fit the bill perfectly. I knit quilt squares for knit-a-square.com, an organization that asks for 8” x 8” knitted or crocheted squares to piece together into blankets for orphans in Africa.
When Amy and I arrived, we got our rental car (a 2013 VW Jetta), settled in at Amy’s uncle’s house, and drove over to see Joy. We went over to her Sociology department open house for her to have her final farewell with her profs. Then we booked it back to the airport to grab Heidi and jet down to Tacoma for the afternoon.
We spent the afternoon visiting Corban, the seminary I’m attending. I saw my long-time friends Leroy and Karen. Joy and I introduced them to Amy and Heidi. Karen gave us a tour of Weyerhaeuser mansion which was donated to the seminary and houses its Tacoma campus. Afterward, we caravanned with Leroy & Karen back to Seattle for a family dinner with Mom & Dad, and then went back to SPU to attend the baccalaureate. It was a beautiful service, but I almost felt bad for Joy. She worked hard to finish in three years and everyone on stage kept referencing a four-year journey, and I wondered how much connection she felt to this graduating class.
I was exhausted from an early morning and a long week at work leading up to this, so I was near dead at that point. We made it through the service, several group photos, and the drive back to Amy's uncle's house. After being awake for almost 20 hours (for the second time this week, no less), I crashed.