The day starts early as the alarm clock wakes me up just after four a.m. I pack my last things, have breakfast and get ready to go. My Airbnb host drives me to the train station. I thought it was just a friendly act of him, but when we arrive he tells me that it costs 50 dollars. I should have gone in discussion with him, but at the moment I’m so tired of all the travel trouble that I just hand him the money. Later during the day I still find it a bummer that I let myself get ripped off this way, but at least I made it to the station in time.
At the station they announce that the train is not riding because some mud slides have damaged the train tracks. We have to line up for busses. Were I was disappointed about this yesterday when I got the e-mail, I decided already that I want to believe something good will come out of this. And indeed it does. Behind me in the line is a tall guy standing with his girlfriend. He starts talking to me and soon we find out that we’re both Dutch. What a fun surprise! In the bus we get to sit next to each other and talk a lot. He moved to Vancouver almost a year ago and enjoys being able to speak Dutch again. She’s a Canadian web designer. We might work together sometime. This is my favorite part of traveling, meeting new interesting people.
The bus takes us to the American border in less than an hour. There we have to go through customs. Other than I’m used to at the airport are these guys really unfriendly. They ask what I’m going to do in America, how long I’m staying and with who and then they ask all the questions another time. Fortunately they don’t stop us from traveling further and about two hours later we arrive in Seattle. I don’t know what it exactly is, but as soon as we drive in America I feel different. It feels a bit like coming home again. When I walk around in Seattle and see the American flags waving, I realize again how much I love this country. At about 10 in the morning we arrive at the station and at 2.20pm my next train will depart in the direction of Olympia where my friends live. So I have a couple of hours in Seattle. I know exactly where I want to go: Pikes Place Market to get a coffee at the first Starbucks. Unlike when I was there in Spring, there is almost no waiting line this time. I get my coffee and walk around at the market. I see at the map that the Starbucks roastery is only a fifteen minutes walk from here. That’s another place I’ve still wanting to visit, so I walk there. It’s nice to see the big roasting machines and one of the guys that works there tells me how it works. I stay there for a while and then walk further in downtown to get a Christmas gift for my friends before I walk back to the station. I arrive there perfectly on time and I’m happy that the next part is actually by train and not by bus. It’s only an hour and before I know it, I get off the train to see my friends waiting for me. It’s great to see them again after about half a year.
We drive to their home where the rest of the family is. I’m very happy to see everyone again and to stay with them for a couple of days. We watch Home Alone together. I still love that movie every year around Christmas. Then we have dinner together and play a board game. My friends have a great loving family and make me feel like home immediately. They have a big Christmas tree and there are even some presents for me under it. How exciting! Sadly I can only stay until Monday with them, because on Tuesday is my flight to my grandparents, but I’ll enjoy every moment of it. The nice thing is that they’re only a couple of hours away from Vancouver, so I could come here again some time quite easily.
It’s an interesting adventure to stay in Vancouver for a while, but for now I’m really happy to be back in America. I can’t quite put a finger on it, but something is different here. Maybe it’s because I’ve been so often in America and that it feels like home or maybe there really is a distinction between Americans and Canadians. I haven’t completely figured that out yet. The coming two weeks I’m surrounded by friends and family and that makes me very happy.