Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Car Shops and Sushi

I have two main stories to tell in this blog, one from home and one from Spokane. Last Wednesday (6/22), I drove home to participate in some wedding activities (Bridesmaid Tea, Rehearsal and Rehearsal dinner, and wedding) of a good friend from my home church, Cassie Shaw (now Cassie Plucknett). It was so good to be home and spend time with family and friends. I had a lovely couple hours with my grandpa at his farm on Thursday and enjoyed my graduation party on Sunday. Thanks to all the friends and family who were able to make it to my party. I am so grateful for your support in my life!
On Friday, my dad wanted me to take my car to a shop in north Portland for a tune-up. I invited my friend Ruth Benzar to join me. We were at the shop by 9 a.m. on Friday. I expected that we'd be done by noon, if not sooner. "What are you planning to do while you wait?" The shop owner asked us. "We'll probably take a walk," I answered. "It'd better be a long walk," he said. "We don't expect to be done until 2 or 3 p.m." I was shocked, as I'm sure Ruth was, too. We left the shop and sat outside a nearby Starbucks, trying to decide what to do. In a burst of inspiration, we decided to walk to the University of Portland, Ruth's school, though we really had no idea how long it would take. What did it matter? We had all day.
After setting off in the direction of UP, we happened upon New Seasons, an upscale grocery store with tons of organic, ethnic, and whole grain food. Not paradise, per se, but something very close! We wandered through the store for a good half hour before deciding to buy our lunch here. We bought two freshly-baked rolls, a big yellow heirloom tomato, hummus, and a pint of Oregon strawberries. The walk to UP seemed long, especially because we were hungry. And I really think it was a long walk, perhaps six miles round trip. Halfway to UP, we got a call from Stan.
"Okay, your car is ready to go, Miss Brink."
10:52 a.m.
"Umm...we're a couple miles from the shop. Can the car hang out there for a couple hours?"
After his "yes," I hung up the phone and told Ruth the news. We were properly outraged. The folly of people! But soon we were able to see our situation in a better light. We resolved to continue our walk to UP, where we enjoyed our lunch immensely. And, as usually happens, the walk back to the shop didn't seem nearly as long. We were pleasantly full and had yet much to discuss and talk through. We retrieved my car and set off, an adventure under our belt that we couldn't have anticipated. Who knew that Stan the maintenance man was also a prophet? We had indeed had a long walk!
That's a rather long story, but the second story is too fresh in my mind to not write about. If you're bored, save the next story for another day. :o)
Today was June's FIRED lunch at work. (See the previous post for an explanation.) The elected choice was Wasabi Bistro, a sushi place on Division and Hawthorne. I've had sushi once before and enjoyed it, so I was excited to try it a second time.
I ended up sitting by Bob Bowen, Bob Savage, and Jon Lewis, a VP, a long-time PI employee, and the president of PI, respectively. I ordered a Philadelphia roll, which is sushi with smoked salmon, avocado, and cream cheese. My plate came with eight tidy sushi rolls and a pair of chopsticks. Everyone else at the table picked up their chopsticks with confidence and began to eat. I had a choice before me. I could fake chopstick confidence or look like a total novice. I decided to look like what I was and admitted my ineptitude to the three men.
I was promptly shown three different ways to hold my chopsticks by Bob, Jon, and Robert Huggins. I rotated back and forth between the methods, not wanting to offend anyone. I was actually able to manuever pretty well. But I did not want to put the whole sushi roll in my mouth at once. I was sure it would be a disaster. However, these men would have nothing of it. All of them have traveled in Japan and China and assured me that slurping noodles, chipmunk cheeks, and the like are common sights. They wouldn't continue eating until I had downed my roll. I did. They applauded. As I thought about it later, I figured this was a pretty good way to develop humility, all things considered. :o)
The only other mishap during lunch was that I swallowed an ice cube by mistake. My face must have looked ghastly because I thought Jon was going to freak out. But there was no real cause for alarm. Fortunately, I felt better when Bob Savage admitted that when he had eaten wasabi (a VERY spicy paste) for the first time, he hadn't known it was hot and so ate the whole ball of it on his plate. He claimed that he went unconscious for a full minute and saw bright lights. In light of this, I'd swallow an ice cube any day. :o)
Other than that, I had a delightful lunch. It was so fun to get to know people better and feel comfortable with them. Thanks God! And thanks to you for reading both stories.
Wishing you a blessed Fourth of July weekend! May it be fun and restful!

1 comment:

  1. Oh yes, eating foreign food is a great way to develop humility. I can't count the number of times I've sat down to eat here and felt like I was four years old again.

    I've just caught up on all your posts and really appreciate this window into your life. I especially enjoyed the post about graduation as it was particularly difficult for me to miss that event. You look great in your robes and hat! Do you realize what a talent that is? I looked like I'd been stuffed into a mushroom costume...

    I am so stoked about your job with Partners! What a great opportunity. I don't know too much about the organization, but it seems pretty neat.

    Looking forward to more posts Elizabeth. I hope you are enjoying my old digs. :-) Glad you got Keiley's room repainted. (Do you remember the multicolor striped walls? I got a headache after five minutes in there!)

    Keep updating!