Monday, June 24, 2013

10 Things to do in Seattle during the Summer

Welcome to the beautiful Northwest! Where the only thing I can pretty much guarantee is that you never quite to know what to expect!  Take that stereotype about it always raining... well as I write this it currently is raining, but that is not always the case.  And regardless of the weather here are 10 ridiculously fun things you can do in Seattle (or the greater Seattle area).  So whether you live in Seattle or you have decided to put some vacation days to use, enjoy this summer, rain or shine :)

1. Visit Pike Place Market.  This is a great activity if it's raining because most of the market is covered!  Located in downtown Seattle on 1st and Pike Street (hence the name...) the market is home to Rachel the Pig and the famous fish throwers.  The market is full of fresh produce and flowers, all grown local.  There are  also other attractions such as market tours, unique shops and of course, the gum wall (make sure you bring gum to add your part to the wall!).  Pike Place Market is also a great place to revisit because you never quite know what you're going to find! With changing vendors and fresh produce daily, it's always a new experience.  For more information about the market visit it's website (
2. Ride the Light Rail.  You can get on/off anywhere from SeaTac to the Westlake Center, but my personal favorite is to ride from Tukwila into Seattle. That way you have free parking, and you get to enjoy a lovely ride into Seattle. Here's a guide to riding the light rail ( and here's more Sound Transit info about the light rail (  Don't forget to check out the public art along the track.... which leads us into our next activity!
Fremont Troll
3. Take a self-guided Art Tour. Seattle is full of different art and often it's over looked.  Take some time to wander around the city to view different hidden gems.  Check out the Seattle's guide to walking tours or just create your own.  If you don't want to walk, drive around too.  Some places may be easier to see the art if you're not in a car (such as Benaroya Hall) but you'll still be able to enjoy a great view of Seattle's unique artistic community. Walking tours guide (
4. Explore the Seattle Waterfront.  Personally, I like to do this when I visit Pike Place because it's just a short walk down from the market.  With lots of different little shops, restaurants and other things to do, the waterfront is an awesome day activity.  You can start at the Olympic Scupture Park (or just tour that on your art walk...) and work your way down the waterfront or just explore it in pieces.  Some of my favorite places to visit are the Aquarium, Pirates Plunder, Simply Seattle and Ye Olde Curiosity Shop.  The arcade and the giant wheel are also a must see.  For more information check out the waterfront website (
Alki Tidepools
5. Alki Beach is a fabulous place to visit rain or shine.  While the actual beach part may be best when it's sunny out, visiting tidepools is better done with overcast skies.  The area is home to several different restaurants and shops.  It is also very biker friendly, especially for families.  During low tides, if you visit the beach you will be able to check out different animals and ask questions to various beach naturalists.  And if you're interested in a day trip, you can take the Water Taxi across the sound into the Seattle Waterfront.  Alki information (  Water Taxi information (  Information about low tides (
6. Hang out at the Seattle Center.  There is pretty much everything here that you can imagine you there is no way that you would become bored.  Popular things to do are the Pacific Science Center, the EMP and the Space Needle.  Also check out the new Chiluly Garden and Glass.  Throughout the Summer the Seattle Center also hosts different activities so be sure to look at their calendar so you know what you'll be getting yourself into.  Have young kids? The Seattle Center is a great place to bring them too, due to the Seattle Children's Museum as well as the International Fountain.  Check out the Seattle Center website for more information (
7. Feeling a little claustophobic?  Drive out into the Snoqualmie Valley.  Located about 30 minutes outside of the city, the valley provides a great place to experience nature.  Take a day trip to visit Snoqualmie Falls, Historic Snoqualmie and North Bend.  There is always plenty to do and see, be it checking out the Northwest Railway Museum, stopping at the Snoqualmie Falls Candy Factoria or tasting famous cherry pie at Twede's Cafe.  Hikes in the area also vary, so there is sure to be one that fits your need/ability.  For more info on the falls, check out their website ( and for information on the valley check out this website (
Gas Works Park
8. Here's something you've probably never heard of... why don't you try Park Jumping?  Yes... I'll admit that I made it up, but it honestly is a lot of fun.  Geared more towards locals, or long term visitors, park jumping is a great way to learn about all the parks in the area.  Basically your goal is to discover cool and awesome new parks you haven't been to before.  All you really need to do is find a park, look up what's around it and what kind of park it is and then focus any activities around it.  For example, find a park with a farmer's market and buy a picnic lunch or look up a park with biking trails and take your bike.  I think you get the picture.  Some days hit up one new park, others you can try and get to two or three, but take it your own pace.  Need help getting started?  Check out this list of Seattle Parks (

9. Bored and need something to do?  Try Biking Around.  There are lots of great biking trails in the area.  You can bike the Mercer Island-Seattle Bridge, the Snoqualmie Valley Trail or the John Wayne Trail.  Lots of parks in the area are very accomodating to bikes.  Check out this King County trail map for more information (  And if you're going to do the Snoqualmie Tunnel on the Iron Horse/John Wayne Trail make sure you bring good headlamps/flashlights, it gets really dark (though it is fun).
10. Become a Foodie. While it may seem weird to think about, Seattle has some great food.  You just have to know where to look.  So spend some time exploring those smaller unknown places to find some new favorites.  Need help getting started?  Some of my favorite Seattle restaurants include Spuds (on Alki), Slims's Last Chance (okay... so since it's a bar, I've never been in, but their Chili Verde is amazing), Twede's Cafe (North Bend- incredible Thai burger) and Beecher's Handmade Cheese (Pike Place- Oprah gave away their mac n' cheese one year).  While you're at it, look for Where Ya At Matt- it's a food truck based on New Orlean's food.  Go ahead... find your favorites, and then let me know so I can try them!

And if you want to try and find good deals on different activities check out (not an endorsement or anything... I just throught it was pretty cool.)  That way you'll be able to experience more, but at a great deal.  Don't let the rain stop you this summer, so go on! Enjoy Seattle!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

That Bizarre Thing Mormon Youth Do: Part 3

Me opening my mission call

My mission call opening party :)

This is the last segment of "That Bizarre Thing Mormon Youth Do."  I've covered the what, where and now you'll get the why.  But if you think that after this you'll get out of hearing about missions, you should probably go find a new blog to follow.  In approximately 118 days I will be headed to the Mexico MTC and  this blog will switch over to a missionary blog for the following 18 months.  Don't worry though, between now and then, there might be other stuff posted, and I'll try and keep you updated on any mission progress (like passports, visas and other fun stuff)!

So I've definitely been putting off this post.  It's a harder one for me to write because I can't just look up all the facts and try to explain things away.  The why for why missionaries go on missions is different and varies between each person.  It is also more personal.  So please bear with me as I try and explain why I've chosen to go on a mission.

In my opinion, this picture does a really good job about summing up missionary work.

(or 18 months... in my case)
As missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, our purpose is to teach about God, Jesus and what we call his Gospel.  We believe his Gospel is what Jesus Christ taught while he was on the earth, along with principles taught through is prophets; both old and modern day.  That last part, is what sets us, as a Church, apart from other Christian religions.  We believe that God still talks to his people and that he does that through modern day prophets, our current prophet being Thomas S. Monson.  Our message is central to families because it tells how families can still be families and together even after death (that's what the picture means by eternity).  So what does this have to do with my decision to serve a mission?  Well, I've been so blessed in my life.  I've grown up with a loving family and had countless wonderful opportunities.  Don't get me wrong, sometimes life is hard and I've had some hard experiences too, but overall it's been really good to me.  

So why am I going on a mission?  Basically the easiest way for me to say it is love.  Love for my God, my family and just for everyone.  Why not try and share what I have with other people?  For 18 months I will be a missionary and I will serve God.  There is no way I can ever repay Him for all the good in my life, so I can try and do my best to serve him.  

Like I said earlier, the why is not as easy to understand or to share about.  And while I tried to explain it the best I could, it is very personal.  I hope I've answered some questions about missionaries and what/where/why they do what they do.  Feel free to ask questions if you have any.  I'll do my best to answer them.  And next time you see Elders or Sisters walking around, you can even try asking them.  They'd love to answer any questions you might have.

*********************************************************************And now a couple notes completely unrelated to the above post.  1. If you are one of amazing people who actually keep coming back to read my ramblings, you might have noticed a change in outlines and such.  I spent some time going over different settings in my blog and decided that while I liked the orange, this was much more ME.  So, sorry if it confused you, but I needed to match my personality better.  And 2. remember how I got called on a Spanish speaking mission?  Well I already spoke a little Spanish and in preparation for my mission I've been trying to "get it back."  So my computer is in Spanish and I've been watching movies and tv shows in Spanish.  As a result my English may be a little off, I'm sorry about that, I'm still trying though.  Just wait until I get home, then we'll see how much it's really changed...

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

I hope that every one is having a wonderful Father's Day. Especially the dads.  I love my dad because he is my hero; be it rescuing me from a broken car, loving me or just spending time with me (or helping pay for stuff like gas...).  Enjoy the day with your dads :)

After our 5k

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

That Bizarre Things Mormon Youth Do: Part 2

Last week I gave you the "what."  What are exactly are missions.  And then I left you on a cliff hanger... but trust me, at that point in time I still didn't know where I was going.  This week is the WHERE.  Are you ready?

I am going to the NEW MEXICO ALBUQUERQUE mission, SPANISH speaking.  I report in October to the Mexico MTC!

Now what exactly does that mean?  Well for starters it first means I'll be flying to Mexico.  Actually... first I'll be getting a passport... but besides that I'll start off in Mexico City.  While I currently do not know the exact amoung of time I am in the Missionary Training Center (MTC), I'll most likely be there from six to eight weeks (that is from current estimations of friends learning their mission language in the MTC).  In the MTC I will be learning Spanish (thank goodness I already know un poquito), along with how to teach.  Our goal as missionaries is to share about God and Jesus Christ and if we cannot effectively teach, then where would that put us?
Mission boundaries
After the MTC and learning how to be a missionary I will fly to New Mexico and start teaching there.  The exact area I can possibly be serving in is actually pretty large, but remember that I'll be speaking Spanish.  And honestly I probably won't see the whole part of my mission.  The Mission Home, or center of the mission,  is located in Albuquerque.  And from there I will be assigned to different areas of the mission to teach!  And as you can see from the map, the mission stretches from all across the state so while I might be serving in the New Mexico Albuquerque mission, I might actually be Truth or Consquences, NM or El Paso, TX.

And now FUN FACTS about anything related to my mission (or missions in general)....
  • The Provo MTC will reach a peak of 3,611 missionaries on July 10th (read about that here).  And for the record, that is JUST the Provo MTC.  There are still 14 other MTCs in the world.  Not all of them are as big as Provo.  I have a friend at the England MTC who reported that there are 52 of them in the MTC and that is a large group.  But still... that's a lot of missionaries
  • The Mexico MTC is opening end of June, beginning of July.  It is replacing a current Church school, Benemérito de las Américas.  150 missionaries are expected to be in the first group sent through the MTC but it will increase as time goes on. The capacity is estimated to exceed 1,500 if needed.
  • Mexico MTC
  • The Mexico MTC will serve missionaries going to Mexico, central American, South American and US Spanish speaking missions (though the Provo MTC will still have teach some Spanish speakers)
New Mexico facts:
Albuquerque New Mexico Temple
  • Nickname: Land of Enchantment, State motto: Crescit eundo (it grows as it goes)
  • 5th largest state in the US
  • average elevation is 5,700 ft.
  • climate is semi-arid to arid
  • 46.3% of the population is Hispanic/Latino according to the 2010 census (remember... I'm speaking Spanish)
  • 28% of the population speaks Spanish
  • Some of the Spanish spoken is the New Mexico dialect which is based off of archaic 17th century Castilian Spanish
  • New Mexico has the highest concentration of PhD holders (due to all the research facilities)
  • important center of Native American culture
  • New Mexico has many large artistic communities (Yay! Art :) )
  • Early October hosts the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.  Hopefully I'll get to see it next year (this October I'll be in Mexico...) but if not, I can always go back a visit :)
Doesn't this make you want to visit New Mexico?