Thursday, June 13, 2013

Adventures in Seattle

A visual representation of my day yesterday

The other day, I had agreed to attend a meeting to learn about a volunteer organization called CHOICES. I had heard about them while attending a Young Professionals Networking (YPN) event and it sounded like a great way to give back to the community. The event started at 5:30 p.m. and I was to meet another lady (who I’d never met before, but who also works for my company) there. She called me at 5:20 and told me she was just leaving Bellevue and was stuck in traffic. I told her that was fine, and I would see her when she got there. The meeting was only a couple blocks away at 1401 5th Ave., so I left my office at about 5 minutes to. When I got to the building, I took the elevator up to floor 34, and saw… no one. Confused, I realized I must have written the address down wrong, and became seriously annoyed when I realized I’d have to walk all the way back to my office, log back into my computer and check the invite.

Fifteen minutes later, I was back in my office and finally logged in. Hurriedly, I checked the calendar reminder I had made for myself and saw that the address was at 1405 5th Ave. Back outside, I was on 5th Ave. scouring for a building that looked like it would have at least 34 floors, and could not find a one. Becoming frantic, I walked up and down 5th Ave. for 20 minutes trying to find this address. If my mother instilled anything in me, it’s the internal need to be on time. The fact that I was 45 minutes late was making me absolutely lose my mind. I would also like to add that the fact that I was late was making me panicky which also makes my common sense go out the window. Sweaty and frantic, I began asking people on the street where 1405 5th Ave was. I had become that crazy Asian tourist. Most replies to my question were: “Don’t you have Google maps on your phone??” Duh. But on my phone where it said 1405 5th Ave was, there was nothing there!  

Finally, I decided I should suck it up and call the lady I was supposed to meet and see if she was there yet, and could describe which building it was in. When she answered the phone, she was super apologetic and said that she was still running behind, but that she was on her way to the City Centre building… The City Centre building is directly across the street from my building… A 30 second walk... At the most… Depending on the crosswalk light, maybe less than that…

Half running, half crying from relief at finally finding the right building, I finally made it there, jumped into an elevator, pushed the button for the 34th floor, and… nothing. No light, no movement, nada. So I jumped out, and jumped into another elevator and pushed the button. The button didn’t light up, but the elevator started to move. Maybe the light was burnt out? But nope, it stopped on the 30th floor to let some women in who were going down. The meeting was on the 34th floor so I figured I could just hoof it 4 flights of stairs. But nope, the startled ladies informed me, there weren’t any stairs. I’m pretty sure they thought I was a terrorist or something with my crazy eyes and red, sweaty face yelling about trying to get to the 34th floor. Back in the lobby, I decided I would wait for the lady I was supposed to meet there, and tell her we couldn’t get up and I was going home. Ten minutes later, just as I was about to say screw it, a guy emerged from the elevator, came up to me, and said: “You’re not by chance trying to go up to the 34th floor, are you?”

I should have been happy, but I was more annoyed because really, at that point, I just wanted to go home. I sort of snapped at the guy and said: “Yes, actually I am! And there are more people coming who won’t be able to get up either!” He just sort of looked at me, and then scanned his key card so the elevator would let me up.

Once on the floor, I walked into the room where everyone was standing while a guy was speaking behind a podium. Still flustered and red and sweaty, I tried to hide behind some people but the guy with the microphone goes: “I don’t mean to put you on the spotlight, but we have a new person that just came in. Could you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about why you’re here?” Of course all eyes turned to me and took in my untucked blouse, my hair plastered to my face, my smeared eyeliner. I always rock first impressions.

After I gave a little spiel, maybe he felt bad for me, but he said: “Go ahead and help yourself to some wine, or something to drink.” Don’t mind if I do. Three glasses of chugged red wine later, I felt so much better. An hour later on the bus ride home, and nothing in my stomach since lunch eight hours previously, I wanted to die. My head felt like it was splitting apart and everything was spinning. Needless to say, I went home, fed my cats and was in bed and asleep by 9 p.m.

The end.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Parto per l’Italia in cinque giorni = I leave for Italy in five days!!

photo via
Right now, I would say I’m 70% stressed and 30% excited… I’m hoping that as the days get nearer to my departure, those numbers will switch. Hopefully.

Things that are contributing to my stress:
My kitties: I have honestly picked up my cats once a day for the past week and looked into their furry faces and big copper eyes and said: “I will only be gone for 2 weeks! I promise I’ll come home for you! Please still love me! And please don’t lick other cat’s butts while at the cat boarding place and come home with some unidentifiable kitty disease!”

My phone: There is absolutely nothing wrong with my iPhone 4 — except the fact that it has zero global capabilities i.e. my phone won’t even work in Italy. So my options are: only use my phone when there’s wi-fi and supplement it with a calling card, or upgrade my whole plan and get an iPhone 5 and then have to get a SIM card to use minutes, texts and data. This is actually not an unreasonable idea considering with my luck, my phone will break on my trip and then I’ll have nothing to trade in. But did I mention I’m completely broke?

I’m broke: I think I have a can of tuna and some rotten cherries in my fridge right now. I guess I should have passed on the mocha this morning. But that’s why God created credit cards, right? Right?!? (P.S. This drink is an iced skinny mocha, and it only has 70 calories!) (P.P.S My name is spelled with a K, NOT a C).

Credit cards: Having never traveled internationally before, I would call myself whatever is below a baby-newbie-beginner traveler. Only recently did the thought occur to me that once I get to the land of gelato and spaghetti, they will not take Washingtons, Benjamins and Lincolns. Upon researching how to exchange money, it became even more overwhelming. Apparently, the exchange rate is completely dependent upon where you exchange it at: a U.S. bank before you leave, the airport, an ATM over there, and then there’s the option to use a credit card, but it depends on what bank you have for how much you get charged. Argh. So overwhelming.

A 10-hour flight: You know what else is overwhelming? Ten hours on a plane. I’ve never had to sit for 10 straight hours, let alone in a tin can way up in the air. What if I start freaking out and hyperventilating and the air marshal has to restrain me and we have to make an emergency landing in Greenland? Also, what if there’s a colonial woman churning butter on the wing of the plane? If you don’t get that reference, you need to rent Bridesmaids like, yesterday.

I’m just hoping that once I get over there, my worries will melt away and I’ll have some vino and everything will be molto!