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My First Visit to Yakima, Washington (With a pit stop in Seattle)

What's a (certified and licensed) nurse practitioner to do while awaiting the credentialing and privileging process, and more information about orientation for her first nurse practitioner job? I suppose she could pick up more shifts as a registered nurse. Or she could make a quick domestic flight out to visit her little brother. And the latter is exactly what she -- I mean, I -- did!

Picture while at the Yakima Airport

My weekends are typically filled with shifts I work as a registered nurse. Having front loaded my shifts at the beginning of the month, I was able to carve out some spare time. Woo hoo!

For those who don't understand why working as a registered nurse has been tough for me, it has to do with a combination of these: living in San Jose (currently) and driving 2 hours or more to Sacramento for work; the fact that I work 8 hours on the evening shift (there are no options to do 12 hour shifts); and the fact that I am floated to different units every time I work (It's a fact that I'm the first to float because I work per diem, but it'd be nice to work more consistently with the same group especially with how little I work).

So, now that I've completed the minimum number of shifts I need for the month, I decided to make a trip out to Washington state to visit my younger brother. It has been some months since I have seen him, and like always, I love it when we just meet up and pick up like we see each other on the daily. This trip was just the perfect timing too because I was able to coordinate with my parents and have them meet us in Seattle, and it was just in time for my brother's birthday!

The journey began like this. I was to fly in from San Jose to Seattle, and my parents were to fly in from Ontario to Seattle. We would then meet my brother later that night (aka my little brother would pick us up from the airport). Then we would stay the night in the Seattle area. The following day, we had planned to do something in the Seattle area, then drive to Yakima (a 2 hour drive). From there, we would do whatever there is to do while in Yakima.

Of course, "whatever there is to do" is very broad. I tried to search Yelp for ideas while in Seattle and while in Yakima. Sure, there were the usual touristy things: Pike's place, Chihuly Glass Museum, the Space Needle. But I was hoping to find something different to do, something a little more...unique and would work well with the (then) predicted rainy weather those days.

Surprisingly, I couldn't really find anything to do in Seattle (that I haven't already done, or that would work for the rainy weather, or that wasn't touristy). The one thing that I did find was an escape room, but those were booked up for the times my family and I had wanted. So scratch that plan.

My brother came up with some places to take us to. We had dim sum while in Seattle Chinatown at a busy place called Honey Court Seafood Restaurant. The exterior of the restaurant looked a little old and tacky, matching with the other stores in the area. The interior looked surprisingly nicer with a fish tank of different kinds of small fish. My family and I waited a good hour until we were seated. After we were seated, we were served rather quickly with different dim sum carts coming by. We ordered the usual dim sum foods: har gow, siu mai, short ribs, gai lan, char siu in noodle, beef in noodle, egg tarts, and added a noodle dish (good luck since it was for my brother's and my dad's birthdays). We got a couple of dim sum dishes more, then we were full. The food overall was not bad, but it's nothing like the food like in socal or back in Asia.

For dessert, my family and I stopped by Dochi, per my brother's recommendation. The idea behind this donut is that they use mochi flour (hence, dochi), which makes the donut chewier. The donut was, in fact, chewier than the usual donut, but the price point of $3 per donut made me question whether or not it was worth the hype. The donuts tasted fresh; however, most of the flavor from the donuts came from the icing/frosting. The donut itself didn't really have much to it other than it's strangely chewy consistency/texture. In any case, it was worth the one-time try since I haven't tried such a donut before!

Next, my brother went shopping at the local Japanese supermarket Uwajimaya, and it was Asian foods and snacks galore. Not only could you get your fill of Japanese goodies, there were a lot of Asian branded goods as well. It was definitely the right place to go, since my brother was shopping for ingredients to make tonkotsu while at his place in Yakima. The ingredients were fresh and easy to find. My brother and I shopped efficiently, while our parents waited in the car. We took about 45 minutes, then we were on our way to Yakima.

Picture of Mt. Rainier from the flight back to San Jose

Having lived in bigger/more developed cities throughout my life, I've always wondered what it would be like to visit a place like Yakima. Per my brother, the city isn't exactly small. It's actually the third largest city in all of Washington state. Surprising, right? I haven't even heard of the town prior to my brother having to move there.

After crossing the Snoqualmie Pass and arriving in the city, I definitely got those "small town" feels. Maybe it was because of the rainy weather. Or the colors of the leaves in autumn. Or the fact that it reminded me like I was on a set of one of those Hallmark movies where one (or both) of the main characters was from a small town. Having spent a few days in Yakima and driving around with my brother to go shopping, I can definitely say there is a good/better and bad side to the city, as is true with most cities.

Pork tonkotsu from scratch

In general, there wasn't much to do in Yakima. There's the historic trolley ride, the arboretum, the farmer's market (on Sundays), and some local parks to visit. But that was about it. The rain only made the options of what to do fewer. My family and I ended up working as a family to cook meals and to get my brother set up with a TV while we were in Yakima. Once the TV was set up, we just had family movie nights. Most people would say that our trip was a waste, but it's time with family that matters most, right? At least the family that you care about?

So that was pretty much my Washington trip and my first trip to the city of Yakima. There wasn't much to do because of the weather, but there was a lot of delicious foods, family time, and memories. And, in the end, that's what matters most!

- Nicole G.
@nextwithnicole // @nursenicoleg

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