Monday, December 28, 2009

Welcome to Washington

On Tuesday, December 15th, 2009, I entered Washington state for the first time. And I've been here since then. It was actually very late, and dark, so I couldn't see much other than the road. Since my husband had been driving for most of that day along a very rainy Oregon coast and was too tired to keep going, but yet insisted on making it the rest of the way, I drove from the southern areas of the state along I-5 northwards until we got to Bellevue.

The only thing I could really notice about the state, which I'd noticed in Oregon as well (and maybe even in northern California) was the roads. First, the use of these round bumps in place of white paint to mark lane divisions. Easier to see in the rain and dark, even with glare from streetlights, and also a way to make you feel if you've crossed into another lane accidentally. And second, that Washington highway shields are a very funny shape. At first I thought it was a bush--and from far away it kind of looks that way--until I realized it was actually a silhouette of President Washington's profile! See how the little things amuse me! Of all the states we traveled through, this was definitely the most interesting. Most states will use circles, diamonds, squares, or even the shape of the state. But I've got to say that Washington takes the cake on this.

The first thing we did in on Wednesday after breakfast was to go pick out furniture for our new apartment. My husband had heard good reviews about Mor Furniture in Kent so that's where we went, and were pleased enough with the selection to buy a dining room table with chairs, a sofa and ottomans, and some mattresses. These items were delivered the same day. We also bought a recliner, however, but that item was back-ordered and hasn't yet come in.

Our next step was to purchase some essentials for the apartment--silverware, and cookware, for instance, but also bed linens and towels. But after a lot of time shopping at Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond, we were mostly set for the first day. I had to make many subsequent trips to both stores, plus a stop at a Wal-mart and a Pier 1 Imports, before becoming mostly satisfied with the apartment. I have some more things being shipped from home which should arrive next week, and today we finally ordered the tableware that I really wanted, so it should soon be on its way.

Since arriving we've been able to dine with a few different families in the area, and it's been nice to meet some other sisters. So far everyone I've met has a connection with Microsoft--usually that their husbands work there, and that's how we are connected. Microsoft seems to import its employees from all over the world, allowing for a tremendous amount of diversity in this area.

The last few days have also had unseasonably (I'm told) excellent weather, with plenty of sunshine (during the mere 8 hours that the sun is actually above the horizon), despite being more on the chilly side. One plus side to a short day, on the other hand, is that it's very easy to fast. This Sunday was Ashura--the 10th day of the first month of the Islamic calendar, a day Muslims are recommended to fast in order to remember Moses, and the liberation of the Jews from Egyptian slavery. It's recommended for Muslims to fast two days, either Ashura and the previous or following day. And with a fast lasting from 6am (the start time of fajr) until 4:30pm (maghrib), it's hard to complain. Although the summer is surely going to be a completely different story.

Although there are many things I miss about Raleigh (I'm sure to elaborate on these in subsequent posts) there are some things about Bellevue which just can't be beat, like the view of the mountains on a clear day, or a Starbucks in every nook and cranny. And it's time now to make it my home.


Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

ashura has nothing to do with the liberation of the jews.

Amy said...

Oh yes it does:

Ibn 'Abbas reported:

"The Prophet came to Madinah and found the Jews fasting on the day of 'Ashura. He said to them: 'What is this fast?' They said: 'A great day. Allah saved Moses and the tribes of Israel from their enemies on this day and therefore, Moses fasted on this day.' The Prophet said: 'We have more of a right to Moses than you,' so he fasted on that day also and ordered the people to fast on that day." [Bukhari and Muslim]

Anonymous said...

Owned .. infact .. 0wn3d :D

Anonymous said...

Believe me I am a jew.

Read this.

Anonymous said...

Yom Kippur is not ashura.

Anonymous said...

Main article: Day of Ashura

Ashura is commemorated by Shi'a Muslims on the ninth and tenth days of Muharram on the Islamic Calendar. Ashura is an Arabic word meaning "ten", and according to Sunni schools of thought it is a day of optional fasting. Jews in the city of Madina fasted only one day, on Yom Kippur, the 10th of Tishrei; so the Prophet Muhammad would fast too, believing that Muslims are closer to Prophet Moses than the Jews themselves. According to Islamic tradition, Muhammad fasted along with the neighboring Jewish communities on this occasion, and according to narrations, Muhammad fasted on both the 9th and 10th of Muharram.

By Islamic tradition, this day commemorates God saving Moses and the Israelites from Pharaoh in Egypt as they crossed the Red Sea (the Exodus day). According to Judaism, the Israelites left Egypt on the first day of Passover, and they crossed the Sea of Reeds seven days later on the 21st of Nisan, both of which are celebrated as holidays with meals.

According to Shi'a tradition, 10 Muharram is also the day on which Muhammad's grandson, Husayn ibn Ali, was martyred in the Battle of Karbala. For Shi'a Muslims, this is a day of mourning.