We left Bethel at 5 a.m. Monday morning, drove to Chicago, and boarded a plane for Seattle. We arrived sometime in the early afternoon. When we boarded our bus at the airport, we knew the week was going to be awesome because we were going to have the same awesome bus driver the entire week! MarySue! She took us to Salt Water State Park for our first taste of beautiful Washington. Even though it was freezing and our fingers were numb after being outside for only a few minutes, we toughed it out and explored the water line.
Our first concert went very well.
Tuesday morning, we traveled to Portland. It was a beautiful city. Most of us headed to Powell's Books as soon as we got off the
bus. The store took up an entire city block and was four storeys (yes, that actually is a word!) high. I have never seen that many books in one place in my life. The best part was that everything was half the price of any bookstore around here. I spent the rest of my time in Chinatown.
My friend and I were told to visit a particular Chinese restaurant, which we did. The food was excellent. After walking around, looking in different shops for a while, we went to Voodoo Donuts, which apparently has been on the food network because of its unique donuts.
I was boring and just got a regular donut (the best donut I've had in my life!), but same was adventurous and got the voodoo donut.
After our concert, three other girls and I stayed with a school teacher and a college professor that night. The husband had fun teasing me. Surprise.
We spent the entire morning traveling back to Washington on Wednesday. The long bus ride gave us plenty of time to see the beautiful mountains.
We did stop at a beautiful waterfall along the way, though, called Multnomah Falls.
By the time we arrived at the church that evening, it was basically time for us to begin rehearsing for that night's concert. One of the guys in our choir had to go to the hospital because of an infection in his hand. Before leaving for tour, he had visited a doctor because his hand had started swelling. That doctor said that it wasn't an infection. Several doctors later, he found out it actually was an infection stemming from an accident that had happened in high school. He made it back in time for the concert, but was only allowed to sing his solo. That night, we stayed with a sweet widow from the church.
Thursday morning, Chuck went in for his first surgery. They made an incision and left it open so the fluid could drain out. He was told that he might have to have up to two more surgeries before the infection was completely gone. We left Chuck, his fiancee, and sister in Moses Lake and went to Davis High School in Yakima and sang for the high school choir, as well as any other students interested in listening to us. One of the teachers at this school used to be in the Bethel Choir several years ago. She had an awesome time showing us off to her students. After singing, we were given the afternoon to peruse the town. Another girl and I headed to an authentic taco place and had wonderful enchiladas and pineapple juice. We spent the rest of our time looking through the several antique shops the town offered. That evening, we sang at a church that just happened to be next door to my host family's home. They had several horse, donkeys, dogs, and cats.
Friday morning, we headed to a town on an island called Oak Harbor. While we were traveling, Chuck was having his second surgery on his hand. To get there, we had to cross a 900 ft. long bridge set 180 ft. above the water. MarySue dropped us off before we reached the bridge so we could walk across.
It was very cool to look out across the water, but it was sooo high.
After we had crossed the bridge, we were able to walk down some trails to a rocky beach.
After leaving Deception Pass, we headed to the WWII Fort Casey that was built right into the side of a hill, overlooking the water.
It was so cool to walk through the fort, trying to imagine what each room was used for.
After leaving the fort, we went to the church we were singing at that night. Two Bethel alumni who graduated last year and used to be in the choir go there. My roommate and two other girls actually got to stay with them that night. We went to a bonfire after the concert, as did several other choir members and their host families. It was an awesome time to get to know each other better, learn about our host families, and relive hilarious stories from last year's choir tour.
When we arrived at the church on Saturday morning, we received news that one of the guys in our choir, Dan, had broken his leg that morning. Apparently he was paintballing, slipped on the dewy grass while running down a hill, and snapped his leg.
We delayed for about an hour, trying to figure out what would be happening with him. He was taken to the hospital on the island we were on, but they didn't have the doctors needed to treat him. Ultimately, he was taken to Seattle and underwent a 4 1/2 hour surgery to set the two places where his bone had snapped. The rest of us went to Seattle as planned to spend our free day. We explored Pike's Market and all of the shops along the piers, as well as some of the shops in the more main part of town. After several hours there, the entire group met up again and visited the Space Needle and the Experience Music Project. A few people ventured inside the Space Needle, but most of us were content to hang around outside, taking pictures and visiting the tourist shops.
We headed directly to the church in Federal Way that we would be singing at the next morning. Because our director was still with the boy who broke his leg, our choir president walked us through the concert schedule and practiced with us a bit. Then came our choir party. We had Chinese food, revealed who our prayer partners were, then gave our last gifts. Before we had completely finished, our host families came to pick us up.
Sunday, morning, we sang our last concert. It was kind of sad, knowing that all of the seniors would be leaving us and moving on with their lives, but also exciting because the long week was drawing to a close. After a delicious taco salad lunch provided by the church and more cookies than I have ever seen in my life, we headed to the Seattle airport. Sadly, we had to say goodbye to MarySue, but she gave us all her email address and facebook name, so we can still keep in touch with her. She definitely made the entire week a blast. We left the two sick members, as well as three others, in two different towns in Washington. They were all able to come home today. Our flights on Sunday were uneventful, though a bit bumpy at times. We arrived at Bethel around 3 a.m. I'm pretty sure all of us crashed as soon as we hit our warm, comfy beds.