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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

Seattle…It Smells like Teen Spirit – Community Service Hawaii & Alaska

Our journey to Seattle began with lots of excitement at the airport, as the final World Cup match was being broadcasted throughout the terminal. Our group of 21 brought a large crowd to cheer on Argentina. It was really neat to be in an environment where travelers from everywhere joined together in the name of soccer. Even though Argentina didn’t come out on top, the mood of our group wasn’t dampened. Samuel had everyone laughing at our gate (including other travelers) at his attempt to speak German to two little girls who were hanging around our group waiting for their flight to Germany. After about 15 minutes of relentless effort, a man sitting next to Samuel leans over and says: “That was a good effort, but the funny thing is, you were trying to speak German to two Albanian girls.”
It was so great to land in Seattle and walk outside into the warm evening air. We also had a very touching experience getting to take in our first sunset together as a “family” since our trip began- keep in mind that the sun never really set in Alaska. The sky was streaked with beautiful reds and purples which made us hopeful for perfect weather the following day. As Gillian recounted a classic saying, “Red sky at night, sailors delight, red sky in the morning, sailors take warning”.The following day was delightful indeed and jam-packed with some of Seattle’s best activities. A portion of the morning was spent exploring the Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle. The Market opened in 1907 as a public place for local farmers, craftspeople, and merchants to come together to sell their goods. The Market’s missions and founding goal: allowing consumers to “Meet the Producer”. For us, Pike Place was not only a place to meet the producers but a treat for our senses, and our stomachs. The market was hustling and bustling with people from all walks of life. Fish mongers were throwing around the daily catch. Fresh produce and baked goods lined the hallways. Vendors had all sorts of unique items on display for sale. Buskers were jamming in the streets. The original Starbucks had a line-up which seemed to go on forever. Lauren, Vivian, and Gillian enjoyed some fresh grapefruit, while Harrison noshed on a pint of fresh raspberries. Carly R. sipped on a cold Starbucks beverage, and Samantha enjoyed a freshly baked pastry.

The fun and games continued at WhirlyBall of Washington. Picture bumper cars, mixed with scoop ball, mixed with basketball. You have to be on high alert because you never know when your car is going to get smashed by an opponent; it could happen when you’re going for the ball, it could happen when you’re taking a shot, it could happen when you least expect it. Yellow car 21 seemed to be taking the brunt of the hits, especially when Trip Leader Karlee was behind the wheel. The taller people in our group seemed to do very well, which could be a result of having a slightly longer arm span to reach out and grab the ball with their scoops. Alli, Nikki, Abby, Lauren, and Amanda dominated on the court. Jake could manipulate his car like none other, and Harrison had a sure fire shot. Karly K. was focused and determined and was able to make long catches from Samuel and Trip Director Trevor. James was loud and in your face. Each 10 minute game was filled with action, penalties, and most importantly laughter. It really was fun for the entire AH-Dos family.

Community Service Hawaii & AlaskaNot only is Seattle home to Starbucks, Microsoft, Costco, Boeing, Expedia, and Amazon, but Grunge-Punk Music. Nirvana, a band that started in the Washington underground music scene, is one of the most famous Grunge bands of all time. At the Experience Music Project (EMP) our group got the chance to learn all about Nirvana and front runner Kurt Cobain, along with other influential music, pop culture, and science fiction of the times. The band t-shirts worn by Carly R. and Karly K. were perfect for the occasion. The 5 guys got in touch with their inner D.J’s in the interactive mixing room- watch out Avicci, AH-Dos is breaking into the electric music scene. Vivian, Gillian, and Samantha got “thrifty” in some oversized fur coats, Macklemore style. Amanda, Karly W. and Gillian formed their own band “The Grateful AH-Dos”, and belted out the lyrics to “We Got the Beat” by the Go-Gos. Experience music we did, and in the words of Macklemore “I write to the beat, and let life play the guitar strings”.
We had a chance to go back to Pike Place Market before dinner which was another neat experience in itself. The streets were quiet compared to the hustle and bustle earlier in the day, and all the vendors were packing up their stalls for the night. This worked in our favour as the group was actually able to make it inside the original Starbucks to pick up some goodies and swag. We made a visit to the famous gum wall which was packed with chewed Orbit, Trident, Extra, and Stride. Amanda, Nikki, and Karly W. were some of the brave ones who got close up to the wall to add their own gum.

We experienced another beautiful sunset atop the Space Needle which illuminated the Seattle skyline. Being 520 feet in the sky was the perfect way to take in the views of the city below. The 360 degree views of the glistening water and distant mountains made for another amazing photo-opportunity. Kennedy looked over in awe, while Isabel and Lindsey captured some “Insta-worthy” selfies. James was super excited about his new purchase at the bottom of the Needle, a mini space laser beam-pew, pew! Our night ended with a spontaneous gymnastics performance by a little girl outside of our bus who flipped and flopped like she was in the Olympics. Our group cheered her on with all our might which probably made her night.

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