There are certain things you find yourself doing – eventually – after you move to the Pacific Northwest.
I think of these as inevitable, precious little moments which make up the transformation from a visitor to a resident but I think should also be rewarded with sweet little cloth badges much like the ones the Girl Guides get for their efforts in advancing their skill sets and life experiences. With incentive like that I would be sure to try many extra things I would otherwise leave to another day. Like maybe traversing a rock face with crampons and ropes while sporting killer ourdoorsy shoes and slugging back vitamin water while calling out to my dreadlocked friend that this was pretty rad and I feel totally alive. A little badge is all I would need, I’m sure. Well. It would help, a bit.
While maybe not that one, there are many badges I have already proudly collected and pinned to my PNW sash.
I have the badge for “Yoga Classes”, naturally. That one may as well be pinned to every resident as soon as they arrive. Then there’s a special one for feeling pain in a yoga class while looking at a nice view of mountains/forest/sky and I have recently earned the badges for “Chanting the Vibrations of my Various Chakras”. Yeah baby. One day I might even get the badge for doing “Yoga on a Beach” but I will need to get the badge for “Overcoming Agoraphobia” first.
I have the badges for “Pronouncing Quinoa Correctly”, for “Holding a Potluck Dinner” (but not yet the “Potluck for a Cause”), “Picking up Hitchhikers”, and the very hard to get “Actually Reading the Book for Book Club” badge. I have collected almost the full suite of “Friend & Acquaintance” badges: including the Artist, Eco-warrior, Academic, Carpenter, Musician, Publisher, Writer, Graphic designer, Movie maker, Teacher (including school, yoga and reflexology), Entrepreneur, Restauranteur, Real Estate Agent and Roller-Derby Team Member badges. I have various house guest badges, volunteering badges, hiking badges, ice skating badges, wild berry picking badges, badges for helicopter parenting, and also the ones for lax parenting. I am especially proud of the one I got for letting my kids run wild in the forest while I check facebook.
I accidentally got my badge for saying “right on” without even noticing it. And I said “toque” once which I believe is also badge.
Badges my PNW friends feel I need to earn which I may consider: The all important “Midnight Skinny Dipping in the Lake” badge, the “Road Trip to Portland” badge and the (terrifying) “Playing a Musical Instrument in front of People (Not just Trees)” badge. I still really want to get those badges for “Orca Sighting”, but not so much for “Bear Sighting”, or “Cougar in Your Backyard Sighting”.
Badges I haven’t got, but might happen any day: “Hitting or being Hit by a Deer” badge. Or the “Tattoo & Piercing” badge. Or the “Beaten-up Old Car Full of Moss Owner” badge.
It’s going to be a long time before I get the “Saying you Love the Beaches at Tofino” badge, and the “Complaining about Snow Badge” but otherwise I feel pretty good about my “Fearful in a Windstorm and Power Outage Badge”.
This afternoon I am working on my “Kale Chip” badge. I have already attempted this one and failed, making something that would be called a kale flap, or a kale rag. I have specific instructions from one of my chef friends (Friend and Acquaintance set: “Chef Friend who makes Incredible Jam” badge) to cook them slow at low. She makes a very fine kale chip so I am feeling positive. I will be stitching that little badge on by night-fall.
My kids are going for their own set of PNW badges (Racoon spotting, Bird feeder making, Lake Swimming, Camping, Matted Hair, Friends with Weird Names and Norwalk Virus to name a few). They both have the unlikely “Loving Kale” badge – who would have guessed? I guess the PNW creeps up on you.