Warning: Long journey ahead.
On a day where most people would sleep in, Zeke struggled out of bed at 6:00 am in preparation for a long-haul with his _wife_. Well, he also picked up two other girls on his way. Note to self: line up on the right lane next time going across the Truck Crossing border – the lane splits into 4 instead of 2.
On our way to Seattle, I, in need of more than 4 hours of sleep, fell asleep in the corner between the headrest and the window, only to be woken on occasion by fits of coughing and upon arrival in Seattle, WA. Being in Seattle as a visitor as opposed to a tourist is quite different. But, I distinctly had the feeling that I was in America, because of the street names, historical buildings and such, and the hills of Seattle reminded me of SF Bay; I think Seattle would be a nice place to live, not to mention that they have a pretty hip Christian contemporary radio station (104.5 Spirit FM).
Our friend, Tip, who was staying at Harborview Medical Center due to a vehicle-related bicycle accident, from what others told me, seems to be doing better than before. I believe that God really watched over him because his injuries could have definitely been much worse. Admittedly, due to his current condition, I don’t think I would’ve recognized him if I saw him on the street. The first feeling when I saw him this morning was a heart-wrenching “ouch!”, followed by a wave of admiration at how he seems to be handling things quite well, given the situation. He’s even quite a good sport about the mush of food that the hospital feeds him. I think instead of us visiting him to keep him from his boredom being cooped up in a room, it felt like he was entertaining us! The stories he told just made us laugh and made me think back to who he was back when I knew him a few years ago. Molls was right on the card – he’s such a good storyteller. In fact, he should be telling you this story, not me!
As a froshie in my second term at school, Tip kept me company (and kept me up) until the wee hours of my morning (and his no doubt, although he had a 3-hour advantage). He updated me on everything making sure that I knew how everyone back ‘home’ was doing with interesting stories via ICQ, telephone and even via snail mail, until the birds would start to chirp and the sky brightened; a definite signal that I was to be in bed. The things I remembered most from our conversations was his love for triathalon (I learned what Shimano parts were from him!), spending time with his friends, and his dream to become a pharmacist. As friends come and go, it was not until today that I found out that he is in Seattle precisely because of the fulfilment of his dream, which is quite exciting!
During the few hours that he had to do his daily therapy exercises, we headed out to grab a bite to eat and to look at motorcycle accessories for Zeke. On our way down Aurora Avenue (this is mainly for future reference in case my memory fails), I saw the Oh Oberto’s Factory Outlet for its beef jerky from the corner of my eye. I can’t believe my mom actually said, “So coool!” when I went home and showed her what I got for her – she got so excited that she asked me if I remember where I got them and wondered why I didn’t get anymore for her. Ah yes, and Zeke got his passenger seat for his bike…so now all he needs is the extra helmet, so that the passenger won’t get killed if s/he falls on a turn or something.
On our way back to visit Tip again, we stepped off the elevator and as door closed again on the couple that entered, the lady upon seeing Zeke’s hoodie excitedly says, “SFU? Canadians! HIIIII!” Lol, it was pretty funny – as if Canadians were a novelty in the States. After spending another 1.5 hours with Tip and everyone else, we started our journey back to Seattle. Who would’ve thought the roads in the States were so bad? Shortly before 20:00 in Shagit valley (er, Skagit Valley), the roads became extra treacherous and bumpy. To our horror, it was actually the right tire in the front that had a huge gash in it.
So, we had a gaping gash and hole in our tire (as opposed to a flat). God definitely was watching over us in the midst of this. Because the right tire blew gradually, steering to the shoulder on the right wasn’t too bad – Zeke didn’t lose control and we ended up on the shoulder just before a small bridge, where there was no shoulder to stop. we spent the longest time trying to get the jack out of the compartment in the trunk – but thankfully, he had a manual, so Molls found a short line explaining how to unscrew the jack. Goes to show you that manuals are useful =).
When we were almost finished changing the tire (more like Zeke was done), an ’92? Accord pulled up behind us and a guy with something in his hand came creeping up. Molls and I were pretty scared that he wanted to kill us. Turns out, he was a nice American (angel?) with a flashlight who made sure we were actually in trouble and weren’t faking it so he passed us once before turning back to help (smart idea) by offering us advice on where to go to purchase a replacement tire since the spare was not a full-size one and wasn’t meant to go fast or on long-hauls. with about 30-40 minutes to spare (no pun intended) before closing time, we found Sears who charged us $101+ USD for just ONE tire. The mechanic asked for Zeke’s name and the conversation went like this:
M: First name? [starts to type]
E: Ezekiel – E-Zed-E…
M: [blank stare]
M: [continues to type]
Forget about value; talk about timing – any later and we would’ve not been able to get to Sears in time. Well, at least dinner was cheap – $1.00 McChicken’s, which tastes tons better than Canada’s version. Along the way, we passed by Chuck E. Cheese’s (Molls and I were talking about it), the outlets in Burlington (I wanted to shop there earlier), and even Krispy Kreme (they had originally wanted some but I told them that it’s probably better to get them in Delta).
During the 15 mins we had dinner in the car, one of them said something that just caused my mind to pause to notice a difference and blurt out, “Hey! You’ve changed!” Funny, how God uses the time apart and this situation to let me see how He responded to what was on my heart a few years ago and let me see a positive change in my friend’s character/outlook of life. This causes me to wonder if I’ve changed for the better over time? And, somehow in my self-reflection, I’m not sure that I have…
By the time we reached Blaine, WA, we filled up at a gas station that I wasn’t familiar with, and after much exploration, connected to the I5 right at the Peace Arch Border (oops, we had wanted Truck Crossing) and finally made it back to Canada (and no extra taxes – phew!). Zeke told me the next morning that when he reached home, this time, the rear tire on the left side of this car blew. Thank God that He kept us safe and that Zeke had already reached home.
Speaking of cars, I sure feel like the black sheep. My sister just bought a 2001 Honda Civic SIG Coupe. So, now every member of our family has a car ‘cept me.
Maybe I’ll just be different and get a motorcycle. Just kidding =).