Dating at Christmas
Coming to My Senses review

Snapshots of the PNW

My flight got in later than planned. It was pitch black and cold when my friend's car pulled up to the terminal. I threw my weekender bag in the back and jumped inside, hungry for warmth, thrilled to be here at long last.

We first met at a grammar school volleyball camp in junior high. Several years ago we reconnected at church. We've been friends ever since.

We'd talked about this visit ever since Linda moved to Seattle four and a half years ago. I'd been to Spokane and the Oregon coast and wanted to experience more of the Pacific Northwest. The stars hadn't aligned until now.

Her car zipped us toward her home, past the city skyline, past the glow of the Space Needle. It was strange to finally see the landmark in person. Neither of us could remember the Frasier theme song but we laughed about it anyway.


The time zone change threw me off but the silver lining was time to read in the early morning hours while my friend and her roommate continued to sleep. An introvert's vacation dream.

A chance to rest and recharge. A little extra time to dream.


We shopped at Buffalo Exchange and the biggest, most ginormous Goodwill I've ever seen. I stopped at the Book Larder, which will forever be known as cookbook heaven. We walked through Pike Place Market and I left my mark on the disgusting yet fascinating Gum Wall.

We tucked into scones and crepes and tea lattes and molten chocolate cakes and one of the best sandwiches of my life. I didn't spy Molly Wizenberg anywhere but I sure did delight in pizza at Delancey and drinks at Essex. 

We walked the beach at Golden Gardens Park and the wind whipped through my hair and my eyes watered from the chill. But I wouldn't trade that beauty for everything. I couldn't get over the mountains, seemingly everywhere I looked in Seattle.

I had mentally prepared myself for gray cloudy, rainy, frigid days. (On the other hand, I chose not to bring my winter coat. I'm in a bit of denial.) And instead we feasted on the sun and weather in the upper 40s or 50s. One gift after another.


One morning we sat at Remedy Tea and talked for a couple of hours. Faith, community, callings, work, singleness, social justice. I swear we covered it all. We heard each other's hearts. We offered solidarity. We offered a listening ear.

My tea steeped and her coffee brewed and we tucked into muffins. But the star of the show was the conversation. It always is.

It's amazing the gifts we unknowingly give one another when we take the time to be still. To sit, unhurried and unhindered. To let words meander. To let ideas sink or swim. To truly see one another.


Toward the end of the week, Linda's car pointed toward British Columbia. We crossed the border and there I was on Canadian soil for the first time.

We headed to Claire's house and later to Idelette's. It was surreal and magical to see these Amahoro friends for the second time this year, especially since Kelley and her daughter flew up for the occasion.

Kelley asked about the Enneagram and the words scarcely left her mouth before I yelled, "I've got the cards!" and popped out of my chair to retrieve them. We took those first steps in figuring out everyone's type and then let the conversation fly free.

I sat on Idelette's famous red couch. I drank tea. I talked with my friends. They got to know my friend. Did I mention it was surreal?

For American Thanksgiving, our Canadian friends made a feast. Two delicious turkeys and we all contributed the rest. I walked in the door and Sarah barely let me set down the green bean casserole before hugging me. When sister-friends reunite, it doesn't matter if you've seen them a couple of months prior. You're going to milk every moment you can before you have to go your separate ways.

I met husbands and kids and the house was chaotic and exactly as it should be.

We gathered around the table and by the end of the night, my cheeks hurt from smiling and laughing so much. We traded stories and talked about our callings and even what we're grateful for. We teased each other. A few found a way to joke about the Enneagram and I thought my heart would burst.

I left Idelette's house that night nourished. By the delicious food, yes, but more so by the company. I don't know when we'll be in the same room again. Maybe in the spring, maybe the fall.

These are my people. My long-distance friends. There's never enough time together. And yet, there's always just enough time to ask a necessary question, share a word of encouragement, a hug.


What incomparable gifts: forever friends, sunshine, amazing food, a soul reset.