Carolina: Cruising Past 70: Babysitting in Seattle, a Grand Nanny's Tale

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Babysitting in Seattle, a Grand Nanny's Tale

the Seattle skyline on a typically cloudy day
view of downtown Seattle from our plane
After three months of babysitting in Calgary, I am now in Seattle taking care of Kenji, my nine and a half-year-old grandson. His Dad has taken up a new post in  California and his Mom, my eldest daughter, will follow as soon as she finishes a scholarship getting reskilled in IT. In the meantime, before the next school year begins, Kenji is alone at home while his mom works and studies, eldest sister works in California, and another sister is away in college.

Seattle was home to me for a few years when I first migrated to the US. I was an adjunct professor in three schools of higher learning and was a volunteer business counselor for SCORE, the nationwide non-profit organization of Retired Executives. I do not know the city like the palm of my hands, but I had lived in Seattle for several years. As a matter of fact, Seattle is where I met Bill and where we married and began our epic five-year RVing across North America.

one of the ferries that connect the cities of  Washington on Puget Sound
So what other visits can I make in a city which has become a second hometown to me (Manila being the first and Phoenix closing in as third)? It is more about the people, not the place; and more about the drives rather than the destination. With full days of babysitting, making sure Kenji eats well, gets his exercise outdoors, and is not too glued to his iPad, I am taking the opportunity to visit with the friends I made in the city. And, while doing that, I see the sites that have consistently placed Seattle among the Top 50 Cities to live in and visit. 

One day, I took Kenji on a trip to Bremerton, to the stunningly charming home of my friend from the St, John the Baptist Parish Church Filipino-American Association. Her husband Fred and Bill were the two token Caucasians who founded the group with a few other friends.  Upon arrival in the town, the couple brought us to the Bug Museum where Kenji was astonished by giant spiders that decorated the walls and insects that you could not tell from dry leaves. There was also a small reptile section where I got scared by a huge Albino Burmese Python on display. It was the only time the color yellow made me cringe instead of sizzle.

the Bug Museum: giant spiders as decor, insects that look like dried leaves, plus a yellow Albino Burmese python!
Then Irene and Fred brought us to their house where they served an all-American lunch: grilled burgers and hotdogs, chili, and potato salad. Even if there were scattered rain showers, grayish clouds covered the sky, and Mt. Rainier was hiding, the view from her spacious deck was still lovely. It looks out to the Puget Sound, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean, a system of interconnected marine waterways and basins, and the second largest estuary in the US. A new grotto and a well built by Fred added charm to the basement level that also looks out to the water. After lunch, we shared stories of our travels. When Fred talked about Nome, Alaska, I added it our September Alaska visit.

Irene and Fred, our sumptuous American lunch, and the view of the Sound from their home (Mt. Rainier hiding)

Kenji had told his mom he was quite apprehensive of the ferry ride that took us to Bremerton and back, of going too near the edge of the vessel and of the possibility of falling overboard. On the one-hour sailing to Bremerton, he focused on the mini-Lego blocks he had brought with him. In fact, he finished one design.  On the way home, he eased up, walked on the ship's deck and we finally had a ball taking selfie photos of us with views of the Bremerton harbor, ferries that were sailing on Puget Sound, and the Seattle skyline as we approached the city. It was a day well spent with my grandson.

with Kenji, leaving Seattle, focused on Lego, leaving Bremerton, walking on the outside deck!

the ferry ready to unload the vehicles and people she carried across the Sound
As I said in the beginning, it’s not the place that counts; it’s the people. And it’s not the destination that matters; it’s the drive. My first three weeks in Seattle was all about babysitting Kenji and the ferry ride we took from Seattle to Bremerton. Of course, a visit to the Bug Museum and visits with Irene and Fred were bonuses.

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