My father, when my family moved out to the Seattle-area from the suburbs of Philly, decided to take advantage of all of the cool places his new home had to offer. There were great and fun things to do all over Philly that he never did while he lived there. Almost all of us are guilty of this. We live near Mt. Rushmore or Tokyo Tower or Pike Place Market, but we never go. Why? Because we take it for granted. We think, “Oh. I could go do that whenever.” or “Only tourists do those things.” But, hey. There are treasures all around us, but we assume them to be trash.

PC; Thoughtsofhomes PikePlace Fish Market

People always want to get out to do something fun. I understand. It’s fun, dare I say essential, to get out of town sometimes. However, there are lots of treasures in our own backyard we look over. If you think about it, your town is probably exotic or exciting to someone out in the world. Why are you not one of those people?

PC: Thoughtsofhomes Harbor Seals seen on the Whale Watching Tour in Port Townsend.

I asked myself that question when I thought about applying for JET. I wanted myself to be happy whether I got accepted or not, and if I didn’t get accepted, I started to realize that America is actually a really exotic place to live if you recognize it as such.

PC: Thoughtsofhomes Trail of the Patriarchs– Mt. Rainier National Park

At my local library, you can sign up for a library card in seven different languages. There is a section of my town which looks like it was cut right out of a section of a Korean strip mall– no English to be found. There are several parks hidden all over my town and a fifteen-minute drive down the road leads me to the Puget Sound where I took my cousin who had never seen an ocean before just a week ago. I mean, it’s technically not the ocean, but it’s salt water with waves and sand and that was exotic to my cousin.

PC: Thoughtsofhomes Edmonds Beach– Edmonds, WA

If I drive thirty minutes east, I can see farms and the entrances to the passes through the Cascade Mountains which are sprinkled with hikes, lakes, waterfalls, and cliffs. Two hours north is Canada and three hours south is Portland, both of which I ashamedly have not visited in the eleven years I have lived here. Well, I went to the non-downtown area of Portland and had Voodoo Donuts. Which, if you check out the link, is incredibly “Portland”.

PC: Thoughtsofhomes– Mt. Rainier Natl. Park

When my cousins came to visit, I was able to be a bit of a “tourist” in my own backyard.  However, until I settle down and get a job, I am a bit on-hold for travelling about the area. However, I am making a trip to Lake Washington today to visit a friend and I’ll write a bit about that and take some pictures for you. I also want to write more about my cousins’ visit before all of my memories fade! More pictures to come with that as well.

I have some pictures of Lake Washington down at the bottom of the page at the instagram widget if you’d like to take a look!