On August 21, 2017, my 22nd birthday, and the 4th birthday that I spent with Cole, he surprised me with two plane tickets. For years, I’d dreamed of going to the rainy coffee capital of the country, and the backdrop of the Twilight movies, Seattle.
Four months later, after my last final, we watched YouTube videos on how to pack for a week in a carry-on, and made our way to DFW. Together, we navigated the airport, successfully found our terminal and boarded the plane. I hadn’t flown in over five years, but I was uncharacteristically calm as the plane took off and we climbed to cruising altitude.
Stepping off at SEA-TAC felt like entering a foreign country. I’ve never seen so many dogs in an airport. There was even a little recreation area with doggy water fountains and fake grass. We ate fresh grilled fish tacos with mango salsa at a surprisingly high-quality airport counter and took in the huge crowds from all over the world.
Part of what I love most about traveling with Cole is that he takes all the stress off of me. I don’t have to make any decisions, and I trust him 100%. So when he decided that we should take public transportation from the airport into the city, I said, “Yeah, let’s do it!”
I’ve never lived in a big city, have no sense of direction, and wouldn’t even be able to follow my GPS if it didn’t voice turn-by-turn directions, because I never learned to read a map. Cole is the exact opposite. He moved to Dallas alone when he was 17. Not only can he read a map, he can draw one. He navigated the railway system like a local and we quickly made it to our hotel.
We checked in to The Motif Seattle right as cocktail hour began. Each night, The Motif staff serves complimentary wine in the lobby. We enjoyed sampling the reds before going up to our room.
We woke early the next morning to catch the fishermen unloading their catch at Pike’s Place Market. They sing as they toss the fish assembly line style from the dock to the open market displays. If you’ve never smelled fresh raw fish at 6am, I would suggest this go to the top of your Seattle list.
After this, we ate breakfast at Soundview Café in the market, and loved it so much that we returned for their potatoes each morning! We sat at a corner table with a large window and enjoyed watching the barges come into and out of the sound.
We explored the entire market and left our mark on the iconic gum wall. Later on, we stopped into a dispensary. This was an interesting experience. At the door, we gave a “bouncer” our IDs before stepping inside to be met by an older guy, who told us he’d be our “bud-tender.” After explaining that we’re from Texas, and were just window shopping, we took a brief tour around the store. The walls were lined with display cases, filled with jars of different types of marijuana. There was something for everything – headaches, heart burn, depression, muscle pain, insomnia, literally everything. Along with the actually buds were sodas, lip balms, candies, chips, baked goods, lotions, oils, and other THC infused products. A year later and I still think my jacket smells like marijuana…so you may want to skip out on this one!
To avoid Uber costs, we took the Metro to the International District for lunch and dined at Tai Tung, a family restaurant that’s been open since 1935. We tried rice, cashew chicken and Oksusu cha, or corn tea, made by steeping roasted corn kernels in hot water. I enjoyed the tea, Cole stuck to water, and we even learned to ask for the ticket in Chinese.
That night, we ventured down to the Great Wheel and got a bit nervous when it stopped turning while we were at the very top for the third round. Eventually, we got back to the ground and we both felt sick, but the view of the city from the top was so beautiful and worth it.
For dinner, we stopped in to The Crab Pot, where Cole ate King Crab like the king he is, and I had crab cakes.
The next day, we ventured to the Biscuit B*tch, which has amazing food but a less than tasteful atmosphere. Cole hated it so much that he waited outside while I got our food. There were couples with small children, but we definitely wouldn’t consider it a family friendly location.
Though it was freezing and pouring rain, we went up to the observation deck of the Space Needle. We wouldn’t see much because the skies were so cloudy and it was hard to keep our eyes open with all the wind and rain.
Soaked and freezing, we popped into a nearby coffee house to warm up and dry out. We both ordered a Holiday Blend latte from Honor Coffee and planned the rest of our day.
The next morning when I woke up, Cole wasn’t there so I went down to the lobby for hot apple cider and tried to call him. This is where the story gets really good. He didn’t answer, but he showed back up a few minutes later with a car. He had gone to rent a Dodge Challenger and was trying to make it back before I woke up, to surprise me.
That afternoon, we drove to Snoqualmie Falls and “Greatest Love Story” by LANCO played on the way up. Once there, we hiked to the lookout and took in the beautiful, breathtaking waterfall.
We sat on a fallen log and I noticed that Cole’s breath was literally gone and his legs were shaking. I thought maybe he was just not adjusting well to the altitude, so I got him some water and then began snapping pictures.
Cole ventured out to a rock and requested a photo be taken with the polaroid. When I turned around to grab it from my bag, Cole quickly got down on one knee and proposed when I turned back around!
He later revealed he was shaking because he was nervous- not out of shape! He had planned this trip for two years and wanted everything to go as perfectly as he’d imagined. And it did. It was so perfect. So magical. More than I could have ever dreamed of or deserved. I am truly blessed to marry such a sweet, thoughtful, selfless man in just two short weeks!
And there you go folks – travel guide turned engagement story! I hope you enjoyed following along with us, and thank you for reading!