Washington state, etc.

Well, I've only been here officially for two days, but this is what I've noticed so far. People here are different. Observations:

1. Everything (i.e. everyone) is calmer here. No one seems to be in a terrible rush, and everyone is a bit quieter. When we came out of the Baskin Robbins in Olympia last night, I felt like my family had been yelling (even though we weren't). Isn't this how it is in England?

2. Everyone here is SO nice. Maybe it's just the places we've been to on the west coast so far, but I feel like any of the people I met on any given day, I could have easily hung out with that same night. They are that inviting.

3. The green movement must have started in this state. Two days here, and I've already heard about the politics (both sides), the timber that is being cut down, and have been bombarded with various green/Mother Earth products in various gift shops at every location we've stopped at.

4. Snoqualmie (via I 90) is the MOST epic place I have ever driven through in my entire life. Is there a grad school here?

5. Any foliage is double the size it is in Minnesota. There are vines and ferns everywhere, even in the urban parts. The millions of pine trees are 10x bigger and thicker.

6. 60% of the people here are in their 20's. At least from what I've seen.

7. You might think that everyone in the Seattle area is a drifter, about to go rock climbing, or a hitchhiker. That's just how they dress here.

8. Most of the news on TV is about things like logging trucks and rivers. Tonight we saw a headline about three people who fell over a waterfall?

9. They don't blast their air conditioning inside here. It's always a comfortable temperature whether it's ShopKo, a nice restaurant, or a gas station.

10. No bugs! No mosquitoes, no flies, nothing. We can leave the sliding door wide open, and it doesn't make a difference.

11. Amazing mountain views from every parking lot? Yes.

12. If I wanted to officially belong in the Seattle area, I'd probably have to get a tattoo. It seems to be required.

13. Best place to live in the country? (Mild winters, mild summers, seaside, mountain ranges everywhere, all the hiking/canoeing/etc. you could ever want, urban/rural life comfortably near each other, coffee all over the place). Could be.

Also, something completely off topic, but I've been thinking a lot about my friendships during this trip. This little blurb here is an excerpt from C.S. Lewis' The Four Loves via The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller. I love how Lewis/Keller shed light on this particular aspect of friendship. Makes me miss and appreciate my friends back home all the more and understand more fully what it is to have kinship with the Lord:

"C.S. Lewis was part of a famous circle of friends called the Inklings, which included J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of The Lord of the Rings, and also the author Charles Williams, who died unexpectedly after World War II. In his book, The Four Loves, Lewis wrote a striking meditation on his death in an essay entitled "Friendship":

'In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets. Now that Charles [Williams] is dead, I shall never again see Ronald's [Tolkien's] reactions to a specifically Charles joke. Far from having more of Ronald, having him "to myself" now that Charles is away, I have less of Ronald...In this, Friendship exhibits a glorious "nearness by resemblance" to heaven itself where the very multitude of the blessed (which no man can number) increases the fruition which each of us has of God. For every soul, seeing him in her own way, doubtless communicates that unique vision to all the rest. That, says an old author, is why the Seraphim in Isaiah's vision are crying "Holy, Holy, Holy" to one another (Isaiah 6:3). The more we thus share the Heavenly Bread between us, the more we shall have.'"