This post is over a year late, and I apologize for that! 😱 Even though some time has passed, I have a lot of fond memories from my time in Washington. For example, I used the Bumble BFF app to find new friends, I made some great new friends in my coworkers, and there was some amazing coffee. I also got to spend time with one of my oldest and truest friends, “Kermit” who lives in Seattle. I will do a separate post about Seattle as well ☺️
Here are some highlights from my 3rd travel assignment in Mt. Vernon, Washington:
Favorite brunch/dinner/everything restaurant: Ristretto Coffee Lounge. Even though it is technically a coffee lounge, they had everything here and it was so delicious. I used to head there after work and have a late cup of coffee with a sandwich for dinner. It is also a wine bar! Very unique in that way. Staff were also so friendly. My favorite thing to get there was a PNW mocha which was a white chocolate raspberry mocha!
Favorite coffee spot: Okay, even though I loved Ristretto there were two close seconds. One of them was Makeworth Coffee Roasters in Bellingham, WA! I loved this place especially on sunny days because the sun would shine through on the aesthetic of the place and it was just gorgeous. I would sit by one of the huge glass windows and sip my coffee and it was just magical. My third favorite was Whidbey Coffee. They had one of the coffee shops right in the hospital where I worked and I loved getting coffee there! One of my favorite things to order was the french toast latte. SO so so good. Are we really surprised Washington had the best coffee shops though? Yeah, that’s what I thought 😉
Favorite memory: I have quite a few memories from WA that are near and dear to me. The first one is meeting a couple of friends who I ended up staying in touch with: Jenna and Christine. Jenna in particular stayed the night one night and we watched “How to Be Single” aka my favorite movie and we had a great time watching that and eating good food 😍 Another is when my best friend Melissa visited and we went to Bellingham together as well as when my best friend Chris came up and we reconnected after 10+ years of absence from each other’s lives.
Where I stayed: I stayed at the Rustic Gardener’s Cottage which was an AirBnB right in Mount Vernon. It was a 2 bedroom with an incredibly comfortable bed and central heat. It was a gorgeous little place and I loved the natural light that would come in when it was sunny… as rare as that was 🤷🏼♀️
Where I worked: I worked at Skagit Valley Hospital in Mount Vernon, WA. It was a very different experience from Philadelphia. It was a level 3 trauma hospital for example so the main traumas were hip fractures and that sort of thing. A lot of it was discharge planning but I also worked in the emergency room where I frequently also worked with inpatient psych patients. I really truly believe that the weather impacts people so much out there.
I will never forget THIS about Washington: How much it rains. No, seriously. I knew it rained… but for the entire 3 months I was there I think I experienced 5 days that were sunny. Not joking! It was really hard on my mental health and I think it was probably pretty hard on everyone else’s too, even if they don’t realize it.
What I learned about culture around healthcare & mental healthcare: There is a major crisis amongst youth in Washington in particular and hardly any resources for psychiatric health. It is clear that resources there are top-down, in other words people who are able to make changes don’t realize the resources that are needed so instead they start lacking. They truly need lawmakers to see what is happening – there is a serious crisis with youth that are attempting suicide.
What I learned about myself: I need sun. I am a legit plant because without sun I cannot grow. I ended up having to leave the assignment a bit early because my depression had gotten so bad at one point. I am so thankful my boss at the time was very understanding.
Overall verdict: Honestly, I did enjoy my time there. Even though I had to cut it short due to weather and it impacting my own mental health, the people were great and there was such gorgeous scenery. I probably wouldn’t go back unless it was a summer assignment, but it was beautiful.