Tag Archives: Washington

you’re breaking your ground.

okay, please play this song while reading. i’m obsessed with Bon Iver and love listening to this song while driving.

i have been in WA for 3 weeks now and while it’s been an adjustment on many levels, i must confess, i really like it here. the weather can be gloomy and dark, but it has truly made me appreciate the sunshine. and this place is absolutely stunning when the sun shines. the days are slowly getting longer and instead of pure darkness while driving to work in the morning, i drive with the sun rise. and the shades of yellow, lavender, and pink in the sky make my heart flutter. i’m serious.

clear skies & sunrise

there’s a church just down the street from the hospital that the parking garage faces. instagram followers have seen this steeple in many photos, as there are days that i simply can’t get enough of what i see. gosh, itsn’t it gorgeous?!

while at work, i stare out of patient windows and admire the sunshine. i told a few of my co-workers that i wanted to eat lunch outside because it looked so nice out. they laughed a little and reminded me that it may look nice, but it’s still in the 30’s outside. they get a kick out of this california girl and her immediate draw to the sun. so while i’m stuck inside during the day, i leave the hospital at sunset. a few days ago, i walked outside and smiled from ear-to-ear as i looked up, with squinted eyes, and saw these clouds before me…

God-painted clouds from February 2nd

God is quite the artist! and as i walked towards my car, Mt. Rainer stood boldly and beautifully, covered in snow for the cities to see. i’m working on getting a picture of the mountain, and often think about pulling my car over just about to snap a quick shot. i’m telling you, something about this place has awakened my senses to the incredible beauty that i’m surrounded by.

okay, enough about the weather. oh wait, one more thing- it’s supposed to be sunny all weekend! which means i can actually be outside during the day and soak up those rays!! :) okay, now i’m done. so, my internship! there really wasn’t much to say last time i posted. but now that i’ve finished two, solid, 40+ hour weeks, i have a little more to write about. well, for starters- i LOVE it. being at the hospital, working with patients and families- my internship has confirmed, 100%, that this is what i’m supposed to be doing with my life. i’ve heard from so many people, “gosh, that must be so hard”, or “i just don’t think i can work with sick kids”, or “kids shouldn’t have to be in the hospital, it’s so sad”- yes. i validate those things. some of the kids i work with are incredibly sick. some get better quickly, some slowly, and some just won’t get better at all. but something that i’m learning and recognizing is that the environment of the hospital does not stop a kid from being a kid. the patients still want to play, still laugh and smile, and still hold on to hope that they will get better.

emergency entrance on my walk to and from the parking garage

one of the units at the hospital is shared with an adult neuro unit, the door to that unit was open one day and i saw an elderly lady lying on her bed with her husband next to her. i got choked up as i glanced at what could have been a final moment together. this was probably not the case- but the feeling of the pediatric unit versus the adult unit is so different. don’t get me wrong, there have been moments in the past two weeks that i wanted to break down in tears for things that some of these patients and parents are going through. but on a day to day basis, i remain humbled, honored, and thankful to be a small part of their hospital experience. the beauty and joy of my job is to make the hospital a kid-friendly environment. while there are many components to what i do, on a very basic level, part of my job is to bring comfort and smiles. thank you Lord, for bringing me to this place, this career. may i use it to honor You daily…

now, i wish there was a smoother way to transition, but i’m stumped (and too tired to think). so here goes the next thing:

my daily life here pretty much consists of working and working some more. i’m up before 6am and don’t get home till after 5pm. so i’m pretty tuckered out and ready for bed around 8pm ;) Kelsey has invited me out with some friends a few weeknights, but unfortunately- i’m pretty boring after those long days! but i have found some time to explore. Kelsey and i went to a delicious coffee shop in Tacoma. sadly i’ve only been once. not quite living up to my coffee-shop junkie reputation. but give me a little more time. i’ll get there!

delicious mocha from Metronome Coffee

we went to Seattle last weekend, walked around University Village in the rain and then hung out at a great brewery with our friends Chelsea and Bino. today we went to Seattle to see Oklahoma! and it was phenomenal. did i mention we had front row seats?! i’m so spoiled!! it was truly a perfect day.

me & Kels with Curly at the 5th Ave Theater

gosh, i think that’s about it for updates. i’m continually in awe of God’s creation, absolutely loving my internship, and beyond blessed to be on this adventure! Psalm 9:1-2.

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sunshine to snowfall.

i’ve been in Washington for 6 days. and it has been quite an adventure!

before i start chatting about Washington, i just have to say that i have been blessed with the best friends of all time. while i was in southern Cal, packing up my stuff, my roommates and friends had planned a surprise going away party. it was so great to be with friends who have been so supportive along this journey! saying goodbye, or “see you later”, was harder than i expected. while i may not have showed it then, tears fell from the Pasadena apartment to the place where the 210 meets I-5. it was a bittersweet feeling to drive away from dear friends and everything that was familiar, knowing that i was going to place that could sometimes be lonely and unknown. but the whole time, i knew that this internship in Washington was a once in a lifetime opportunity that would be something i looked back on for many years!

moving on… the drive up here was absolutely gorgeous. it took mom, dad, and i (and a VERY tightly packed car) 11 hours to drive from our house in northern Cal to my aunt and uncle’s house just outside of portland. it was a long drive, we left before 6am and chugged along I-5 for the day. watching the sunrise, seeing the majesty of Mt. Shasta, driving through Oregon’s green landscapes, and slowing down somewhere between Mt. Hood and Mt. Saint Helens- it was a drive much more exciting than from the Bay Area to L.A. we stayed the night at my dad’s sisters and had a great time catching up with my aunt and uncle and my cousins. and then it was off to Puyallup!

it was a short drive up to Puyallup and coming up to the Rochester home was such a great feeling! being greeted by Kelsey and her family was the perfect welcome. my parents help me set up my room in the Rochester house, with a few touches of my own stuff, it felt like home. later that night my friend Brett met us for dinner. it was so great catching up and exciting to know that hanging out with him could be come a more regular thing again. after spending the first night in my new home, Kelsey and i had a delicious breakfast with our parents. it was so fun to have everyone sitting around the table together. we were just missing the two younger siblings! :) Kelsey and i took my parents to the train station after breakfast, and they embarked on their long journey home.

not long after they left, it began to snow. yes- snow. as a born and raised California girl, this was quite a change for me! i have visited the snow a few times, but never lived or driven in it! luckily, Kelsey and i stayed at home and watched “White Christmas”, the weather made it feel appropriate even though the date didn’t. i have to put this video in because, well, it makes me smile and i can’t get it out of my head :)

the next morning, we went to church in Tacoma and it was awesome! i loved being there and am looking forward to jumping back into that weekly routine with Kelsey and Brett. as the day went on, the snow continued to fall, making me a little nervous to get to my first day of work that next day. while i was becoming unsure about driving to work, i was positive that watching snowfall was both mesmerizing and peaceful.

after much talk about getting to and from the hospital, Kelsey’s wonderful parents offered to take me there and back to ease my stress. this is just one example of how hospitable the Rochesters have been. i truly am beyond blessed to be here with them! they have coached me through getting around the city, and in the snow nonetheless! there are absolutely no words for how thankful i am for them welcoming me into their home and their lives. may God richly bless them!

okay, i wish i had more to write about the start of my internship. but it has only been two days! the first day was filled with talking through assignments and paperwork. and then yesterday i got to see kiddos! i am so thankful to be at this hospital. from what i can tell, it’s an amazing program that is truly focused on education and developmental appropriateness for the patients- which i LOVE! i have phenomenal supervisors that are really committed to helping me learn and guiding me in the process of becoming a great child life specialist. i am looking forward to the months ahead!

all that to say, day 3 of the internship was put on hold due to a snow day! there have been record amounts of snow in the past 24 hours and it’s been nuts! i’ve learned to take things one day at a time, therefore, i have no clue if i’m going to work tomorrow! but i did very much enjoy my day today :)

well, that’s it for now! i really am doing well here. i’m missing lots of friends and family, wishing you all could have been here to play in the snow! but don’t worry about me, i’m having fun and staying safe! staying warm… well that’s a different story ;)


the old and the new.

my “once-a-month posts” skipped November and almost missed December.

as i looked through photos on my iPhone, i realized that a lot that happened in two months. telling you about all the details would take far too long and let’s be honest- no one wants to read that much. so without writing too much, i’ll just say that November and December consisted of writing my thesis. and working. and turning 23. and Hayley & Matt getting engaged. and having Thanksgiving in SoCal for the first time. and working Black Friday. and drinking LOTS of coffee. and surviving a crazy windstorm. and buying a Disneyland pass. and going to Disneyland in the rain with my roomies. and finding the perfect rain coat. and spending time with friends. and spending at home, without friends, just me & my thesis. and saying goodbye to some lovely co-workers. and finally making it home for Christmas. PHEW. told you it was a lot.

okay, let’s back track for a second. finishing my thesis was a huge deal. in fact, i almost cried while it was printing. realizing that i was truly done was a great feeling and absolutely surreal at the same time. even after turning it in, i was still thinking about what was on my to-do list. it was a joyous feeling to remember that every single thing on that to-do list had been crossed off! i praise GOD for carrying me through that journey. there were days i felt like i hit a wall and couldn’t write another word. i felt stir-crazy and cross-eyed from sitting in the same place, staring at my computer. but with the God’s strength and mercy- it’s done! i could not have done it without the support from my family, amazing friends, and roommates (now i feel like i’m giving an award speech…) but seriously. i finished my Master’s Thesis. and i couldn’t be more thankful, happy, and relived.

after finishing my thesis, i had one last week of work at Sephora. the Old Town Pasadena Cast will always have a special place in my heart. working there has always been a dream. (afterall, i did my senior project in high school all about makeup!) i feel so honored to have been part of the grand opening of a brand new store, to understand some of the behind-the-scenes of such a well-known company, to have learned SO much, and to have met such incredible people. i very much loved my time there. and will definitely miss it! even the 5am “ops” shifts! so, holler to my Old Town crew- you guys are awesome. miss you already. i promise i’ll be back to visit! <3 Tristen

and now, i have approximately 2 weeks until i am in Washington. my mom, sister, and i are headed to SoCal this week to pack up all my stuff. then i’m back in the Bay for a few days, and off to the Northwest for a little while!! i can’t believe this time is actually here. i’ve been thinking about it for a few months and now, it’s REAL. i’m feeling a bit nervous and definitely excited. i also feel confident that Tacoma is where God wants me to be for my internship. that confidence and peace is what i’m holding on to. if i let doubt creep in, i start to panic and wonder what i’ll do without my community of friends and comfort zone. but i know that i’m gonna be okay :) and that it’s 4-5 months of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. so let the packing and driving begin!! with that said, i’ve been playing with the idea of having a pen pal or two. i’m thinking, hand-written, snail-mail notes. they don’t have to be pages long. but i think it would be something fun, just like a little piece of home to find in the mailbox. anyone interested? :)

via Typeverything

well, that’s all for this… year. wow! i am thankful for the adventure of 2011 and can’t wait to discover what God has in store for 2012!

Happy New Year!!


movin’ on up! literally.

apparently i’m on a blog-once-a-month schedule… life is nuts.

a lot has happened in this past month! i mentioned in my last post that i was applying to internship programs for the final portion of my Master’s degree. and after a grueling process of too many interviews and loads of anticipation- i have accepted an internship in Tacoma, Washington!

my internship begins in January. which means i’m moving in less than two months! i can’t believe it’s all real. i applied to this program in Washington with the chance of getting an offer and transferring my life to another state for a few months. one regret from college was that i never studied abroad or did anything that took me out of my immediate community and comfort zone. i thought this to be the perfect opportunity to move somewhere for a few months, experience life outside of California, and push myself to try something new.

well, as i check the weather there almost daily- i’m definitely pushing myself to something different! for example here is the current match-up:

my dad says it’s just as cold in Washington as it is in the Bay Area. which is true. but the last few years, i’ve been freezing cold at home! i mean, we’re talking a 20-30 degree temperature difference! yikes!! okay, okay. i’m not going to complain about the weather. there’s a solution: get a jacket. i’m going to be just fine. the truth is, i’m getting exactly what i asked for. i took this chance and it’s real. i have no idea what to expect, but i’m going to move to Washington. and this is truly the opportunity of a lifetime.

internship location aside, i couldn’t be more excited for this dream career to start becoming more of a reality. i feel like i’ve been so out of the loop with child life. taking the summer off, being out of the hospital for over a year, and currently only taking one class (that doesn’t really discuss child life)- sometimes i have to stop and remind myself of what it is that i’ll be doing someday. and honestly, i can’t wait to do child life 5 days a week. i’m SO lucky!

as the details of all this unfolds and the mental processing continues, i’ll write more. but for today, i need to get some work done on this thesis that has seen more procrastination that it deserves. so i leave with this thought that brings such hope in times of uncertainty…

via pinterest


the story of seattle.

this is the story of seattle (and puyallup and tacoma).

i left from burbank, ca (it’s gotta be one of the smallest airports in California) on a cloudy august morning, walking up an old fashion stairway to the plane.

i traveled with this awesome red-leather, 1960’s carry-on bag. i found it at a consignment shop in glendora and i’m in love with it. it fits perfectly under the seats of the plane and holds a surprisingly great amount of things.

i had a layover in Oakland, which was great for this reason:

with my non-fat iced carmel latte in hand, i waited to board the plane for my vacation to the great pacific northwest. i packed for rain, sunshine, and everything in between. it turned out to be one of the most beautiful weekends they had all summer…

i was greeted in baggage claim by Kelsey’s lovely mom, Marjie, with coffee in hand (apparently, that is the Rochester tradition). i immediately felt welcomed and beyond thrilled to be there. we took the scenic route from Seattle to Puyallup and finally arrived at the Rochester residence where i found my beautiful roommate! being reunited with Kels was a huge blessing. after spending the whole year together, being apart for two months was difficult. as both of us were in the midst of life transitions, we treasured our time together. sitting on the couch with her and simply catching up on life was just what we both needed.

Kelsey was the greatest host of all time. she planned out the most perfect things to do while i was there. we spent our first day in Seattle with Brett and had a blast enjoying the sunshine and each other’s company. we walked around Pike Place and they endured the crowd of tourists with me as we walked in and out the shops in the marketplace. we found some interesting creatures along the way- a large otter, named Elliot and an enormous troll that lives under a bridge.

we had dinner on the water front and then picked up ice cream cones from a local ice cream shop. Kelsey and Brett were sure to take me to the places where we could best see the cityscape… who wouldn’t want to sit and look at this all day?!

with seaplanes taking off and landing right in front of us and the warm sun shining down on us- Gas Works park was the most perfect place to enjoy our delicious dessert. then we headed to Kerry park where we found loads of photographers, a bride and groom, and another gorgeous view of the city.

watching the evening become night, with the moon shining and the city glowing, i took a deep breath and took it all in. how could someone NOT want to live here? (this is when every native of Washington says, just wait till it rains…)

the next day, Kelsey and I packed a picnic and had lunch in downtown puyallup. we laid our blanket out next to the rose garden and people-watched as a farmer’s market was coming to a close.

we met up with Brett in a neighboring town and we walked in and out of antique stores. Kelsey found a steal on two beautiful chandeliers, while Brett and i decided we would survive without the collection of fishing poles, creepy dolls, and baseball cards. later that night we barbecued some tasty kabobs at Kelsey’s, sipped on a glass of wine on the porch, and continued to catch up on life. a perfect summer night.

my last full day in Washington turned out to be just as lovely as the previous two. it started with a tour of a children’s hospital in Tacoma. as i am in the process of interviewing for internships, i thought it would be beneficial to see one of the hospitals i applied to. the tour was great and i was so thankful for the opportunity to really get a feel for the hospital and the Child Life program there. more on all that later…

afterwards Kelsey and i drove over to Point Defiance in Tacoma, still dressed in the “casual professional” clothes from our tour, and sat on the “beach” for a while. just an FYI- there is no sand on this beach, just little rocks. but it was beautiful nonetheless…


much to our surprise, it didn’t rain a single drop that day! we both planned for rainy afternoon and brought boots, fleece, and scarves. so we were a bit unprepared for the warm sunshine. but we didn’t let that stop us. Kelsey had a spontaneous urge to go kayaking, so we went. in our nice clothes, wedge heels, and glitter flip-flops. we were on the water for about an hour, and while we had some difficulty steering, we had a blast paddling our way around.

after the kayaking adventure, we headed over to the Point Defiance flower garden. it was like heaven on earth. beautiful blooms and stunning colors. i’ll let the flowers speak for themselves :)

last but not least, Brett met up with us in Tacoma for another lovely dinner on the water. it was the most perfect way to end a perfect vacation. gorgeous sunset, watching the moon rise, delicious food, and great company- it just doesn’t get much better.

final thoughts? i LOVE washington. and i can’t wait to go back!! rain or shine ;)