The Western Oregon Wolves!

The midpoint of the week has arrived, as well as the day that we were supposed tot ravel down to Portland. Well, we had a long day ahead!

It is said that distances in the USA are incomparable to the UK or Europe even, and so spending 3 hours in the minibus didn't seem like we got far, but in fact, we travelled half of the UK!

Anyhow, what awaited us was definitely worth it. First stop: street food vans (not sure whether there is a name for them). This is when the group had the chance to browse all different types of foods from all around the world, in a small block. It all smelled dangerously alluring , unhealthy but tasty. Everyone seemed to find their guilty pleasure.

Sorry, no pic of foods, so here's one of a man crossing the street!

Continuing from here, we were taken to the taste infused Salt & Straw, where the unique flavours of ice cream confused your taste buds - an illustrative example: blue cheese and pear flavour. Now, I know what your reaction to that is, but I was one of the brave once to taste it and it is delicious!! If YOU visit Portland, you will do yourself a flavour (ba dum tsss!) to pay this little parlour a visit.

Salt & Straw - Sea Salt Ice Cream Sundae!

From here, the road took us yet to another eating place - the queue-worthy Voodoo Doughnuts! It looks and feels the same as it sounds. One of the things for which I'd class this place as amazing is purely because they have glitter wall!! (See my Insta for proof) Furthermore, we actually queued for over 30 mins to have a bite of this sensation, and man, it was worth it. First of all, paying less than $5 for two humongous doughnuts is rather a good bargain, and secondly, these people really went all out with their creativity, ranging from Bacon and Maple Doughnut (for the record, there was an actually piece of bacon on it) to naming their products- for example the Vegan Cock-N-Balls (and yes, it is what it sounds it to be).  Not only this, but the employees were incredibly lovely and helpful too!

Personally thought their logos were great: "Magic is in the hole!" -being one of them.

Filled to the rooftop from here, we headed to the little nearby town, the home of the Western Oregon University, Monmouth. If I had to describe this place to someone non-American, it would go something like this: An exact copy of what you see in the movies. Seriously, no joke. The crossroads, the houses, the people - everything! Granted, the university itself takes up most of the population and space, while the town people suffer from lack of restaurant variety, but that is just me being comparative to other places.

Now the dorms. Here I cannot praise the movies, as the dorms were actually much smaller than I have seen in the movies, but with a little bit of personal touch bearable. As we would have seen the next day, they are all very uniform, while the system of getting into the building and into your dorm was more than perplexing.

After settling down into our shared rooms, we were swept out for some dinner at Yeasty Beasty. Funny name, eh? Anyway, pizza for dinner is a great idea, and going to an american diner was an experience in itself, which we shall not forget. It was so much fun, and I am pretty sure the staff were a bit struck as they saw a group of our size enter the tiny premises, but we fit and they catered for us, so thank you!
Picture by Andy

All in all, I don't think I have ever eaten so much in one day, or visited so many food-places in such comprised space of time.

This seems to have been the grumpy people's day. I'd say this is when I really felt the jet lag hitting, and so waking up early, no correction, getting out of the house early (early being 9 am) was somewhat of a will-tester.

Nevertheless, we made it to what seemed the other side of Seattle, to a homeless home ( a home for homeless people who thus become not-homeless but it's hard to explain, ok.) called the Evans House. They provide housing for people in need, to get them out of dangerous, likely self -inflicted, situations, often with a kind of mental disability. 

So after sitting through a good half an hour of talk given by the guys (for the purposes of this post, lets call them Ben and Bob), we signed couple of sheets and off we went painting! - Actually, we had to tape a whole floor before we got to painting. Overall, it seemed to be a good learning-bonding experience, where we go to see how much this organisation does for these people. At the start of it, one of the resident played us some of his music, which was very considerate of him, and his music taste was not all bad. 

Exceeding the supervisors' expectations, we managed to work through the first floor rapidly, and off we went to the last floor they needed to paint. Knowing the routing here, some of us grabbed the masking tape, some of us the cloth and spray bottle. It seems like we managed to get through the last floor even faster, perhaps due to more conversation. Interestingly, this floor had its own distinct smell - weed. Yes, apparently pot is legal in Washington, which is something I wasn't aware of before, but eh, we learn new things every day! Good news for some, as Bob was telling us how it reduced crime in some places as the police was able to focus on other crime too. However the residents on this floor seemed to be more talkative, especially about coke (no, not the drink). 

The Morning At Evans House

One could say you meet quite the characters here.

As we cleared up everything, we were ready to go to our next destination: Food Life Line. Our tight schedule did not allow for spare time, and so we ended up eating lunch in the car, which is not up to the expectation, but it gives the whole trip a certain feel, that now makes me sentimental about moments like these, as it allowed for much more connection. 

Once we arrived at the food bank, we were geared up for the first time - hair nets, plastic aprons, gloves and all that. It was merely embarrassing but we all got over the fact that it makes us look like lunch ladies quite quickly. While most of the group was working hard on some coconut stuff (I am unsure of what they were doing), and there was an isolated group of three of us that was sent off to another adventure. I feel comfortable calling it an adventure, as I am sure that Lauren (supervising staff) and Bathsheba (fellow participant) would agree. Why? Well, our supervisor, the guy that was telling us (more like bossing us around) what to do was hard to understand, and his manners of talking and explaining were far from familiar to me. First of all, he took ages to attend to us, but then the way he explained to us how to sort through few boxes of food took far longer. Once we finished, we waited around for another while, looking around and feeling guilty for not working, when he decided to acknowledge the fact that we need stuff to do. So we moved couple of boxes, and threw couple of boxes of lettuce out, but we got through that very quickly too. So at the end, we ended up sorting through bakery - desserts (they all looked delicious!), sliced bread (only the bread you can make TOAST with) and other (like rolls and buns and stuff). This way, we filled up different boxes up to 15 lb and stacked them onto palettes. It was nice once we got going.

At the end of the session, not even taking a break, the guy proceeded to tell us a bad joke that none of us guessed, however I would have said that it had more to do with his phonetics than our wit.

Anyhow, we finished, we did a great job, and off we were to the vans for some rest. Soon the group found itself sitting in yet another, local Starbucks, some sipping on some coffee, others soaking in the free WiFi, desperately getting hold of some family members at this time of the day (4 pm equalled around 11 pm in England). 

Headed back home, the drive seemed shorter, when finally we were gathering in the kitchen for some dinner. The lovely American team were cooking for us again, this time making some amazing tacos for us. During the preparation of the meal, I hung around in the kitchen, talking more with the Americans and generally, since I love cooking/baking/anything to do with creation of food I found it interesting to watch them make this food. Lauren and Lauren talked a lot about travelling and so it was something of an interest too. Since this was my first time eating tacos, I was excited, as it not only smelled good, but it looked sensationally good too! And I'd be lying if I denied that I liked it!

Once again, thank you guys for a splendid day and dinner!!

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