As Southwest Airlines Interns, we grew accustomed to middle seats and drooling on strangers.
Every now and then you’d get a less than completely full flight and it felt like winning the lottery, especially for long 3+ hour flights. There were 10 open seats and 6 of us total, all on a quest to the Pacific Northwest, a non-stop flight to Portland Oregon. We all had different plans consisting of hiking, sightseeing, exploring, and food tasting, nevertheless, the objective was to the most of our 46 and 1/2 hours before returning back work on Monday morning.
I had made plans to visit my best friend of 13 years, Joey.
He picked me up from the airport and the first stop was, of course, pizza.
Myself, Joey and his amazing boyfriend Tom parked the car and walked a few blocks to Sizzle Pies to try some larger than life uniquely flavored pizza slices. I chose the cranberry and goat cheese, and it did not disappoint.
After we stuffed ourselves full of pizza and craft beer, Joey gave me a nighttime driving tour of the city. We started on the outskirts, I was mesmerized by brightly lit buildings, nestled below the shadowy mountain silhouettes. I requested to take one of the bridges over into the downtown area, so a couple left turns later we accidentally drove ourselves right into the middle of a Black Lives Matter protest… with not one single person of color. It was humbling, yet awkward.
The next day, we woke up early. Joey and I stopped and got breakfast at a cute mom and pop shop across the street from his apartment. I ordered a Kombucha to-go and we took to the streets of Portland.
The city looked so different during the day and the best way to describe it, A Hipster’s Paradise.
I told Joey I wanted to get some good photos for my blog, so we hiked up into the cliffside for some pretty awesome views. We walked the scenic river trail East Bank Esplanade, alongside the Portland River. Downtown and found really artsy eclectic stores and specialty shops.
After our much needed nap, for dinner, we chose what is now my favorite food spot in Portland, ¿Por Qué No? I unlimited had chips salsa & queso, and prickly pear margaritas, and four different kind of delicious tacos… ¿Por Qué No?
Sunday morning, before heading back to the airport, Joey decided we would get donuts at Blue Star and then the last destination would be a surprise.
The surprise? The overlook, where I could see the entire city. The view was incredible.
All at once, I remembered everything that I’d done to get me to this point. Enrolling in at Michigan State University, staying up late night studying for exams, taking a chance by leaving Michigan, writing the Why Southwest? essay, getting the call that I got the internship, then onboarding process… it all played my head like a 15-second movie.
I felt a sense of accomplishment and happiness, but most importantly I was
Thankful, for my internship at Southwest Airlines.
Blessed, to have the ability and skills to make it this far.
Fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to see one of my best friends across the country.
I was so present in that very moment.
Stay tuned, for the next Southwest flight. I’ll be up, up, and away.
Next stop: San Fransisco