Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Celebrations All Around (The Great Pacific Northwest Adventure of 2017)

Originally Hubby Tony and I thought we would be the only members of our family attending our niece's college graduation in Olympia.  We booked a flight into Seattle, and Tony arranged for a rental car at the airport and reserved a generic chain hotel in Tacoma ( halfway in between the two cities).  However, at the beginning of April we were thrilled beyond words to find out that Son Brian, DIL Nicole, and Grandbaby Jay were also planning to be there. When we received a text from Nicole letting us know they had found an Airbnb house big enough for all of us right on Puget Sound we quickly cancelled our generic digs.

We left for Seattle on Thursday night. The flight was scheduled to arrive at 9:30 PM, and we figured we'd be at the house a couple of hours after that.  However, nothing went according to plan, and we pulled into the parking area at 1:45 AM.  Everything was dark and it was a little tricky to find the right door to go in, but once we figured that out it didn't take us long to fall into bed.

The house was arranged on two levels, with Brian and family on the floor above us.  A staircase connected the two.  That meant we could all have our privacy, but still spend as much time as possible cuddling with this cutie:

There he goes!
The college's original plan was to hold the graduation on campus in Olympia, but at the last minute thy changed the location to a stadium in Tacoma.  That worked out well for us, since it was a lot closer to our house.  However, there wasn't enough room in the lot for all the cars and we had to park several blocks away.  The line to get into the stadium was long, and once we got inside we couldn't find the other family members who were saving us seats.  But it all worked out, and we were able to watch Michelle walk across the stage and accept her diploma.

Because of Jay's schedule we passed on the after-graduation group dinner, but were able to find a good Mexican restaurant not too far from the house.  The graduation party wasn't until Saturday night, so we had most of the day to relax.  The celebration was hosted by the parents of one of Michelle's friends (and fellow graduate).  The family is Hawaiian by heritage, which gave the event an exotic feel.  In addition to large pans of white rice and macaroni salad, the buffet line included:
  • Kalua pua'a (roast pork)
  • Chicken Long Rice (almost like a soup with noodles)
  • Lau Lau (steamed pork wrapped in taro leaves)
  • Poi (boiled taro root mixed with water until it reaches a smooth consistency)
  • Poke (bite-sized pieces of raw fish garnished with salt, onions, and sesame oil)
  • Squid Luau (squid and luau leaves cooked in coconut milk and pureed)
  • Lomilomi salmon. (small pieces of salmon mixed with tomatoes and onions)
I'm an adventurous eater, so I tried a little bit of everything.  Some I really liked; some I can cross off my bucket list and not eat again.  After dinner a small band of relatives played Hawaiian tunes, then a group of hula dancers got up and performed several numbers.

When the show was over the graduates cut and served the cake. By this time Jay was getting tired, so we said our goodbyes.  It had been a very full weekend, and wonderful first part of our adventure.

Five years ago today: Half Baked


  1. What a lovely occasion it's so great that your family attended, including baby Jay!

  2. What a way to celebrate graduation it was nice that the families were able to combine the partygoer everyone

  3. Good grief That previous message is a mess! I am using my phone during the 10 days we are away in the northwest. Your niece was fortunate that the families could combine celebrations. That's what I was trying to say.

    1. Yes, it was. Since the majority of our family is in the Midwest, not many people were able to come. By ourselves, it would have been a very small celebration.