Almost as soon as I thought things were starting to get better, when restrictions seemed to be loosening and I felt more and more comfortable going out, the city of Portland went right back into lockdown.
Just the week before, I had done the two things I was most looking forward to post-pandemic: Olympus Spa and Proud Mary.
Olympus Spa is a Korean Spa with locations in Tacoma and Lynwood, just south and north of Seattle. Ever since my first trip there in 2016, I have fallen in love with that place and try to go every time I am in Seattle. Unfortunately I didn't make it there before the lockdown in March, and I was dreaming of going ever since.
After eight months of closure, finally in October they announced they would reopen with a myriad of restrictions: 50% capacity reduction, appointment only, had to wear a mask at all times (even in the pools), temperature check at the door, signed consent form, everything sanitized, etc. But I didn't care - I wanted to go. So on a Thursday I called them up and booked the earliest appointment for Monday. I took off work and drove 3 hours north just for a day at the spa.
It was amazing. Even though my mask got wet. Even though breathing through a wet mask made me feel like I was being waterboarded. I still got to go in all the heated pools, savor the dry sauna, enjoy a decadent lunch at their Korean restaurant, hang out in the heated rooms, and get a full body scrub. And even better, I got to do it all with my best friend.
On the way back from Seattle I also got to check out a new cafe in the area: Olympia Roasters. We went to their flagship store in Olympia which is usually packed.
Emboldened by my success at the spa, I booked long-awaited reservations at the newly opening dining hall of Proud Mary. In December of last year I had taken a dear friend from Japan to Proud Mary and had been savoring their flat white and toast with scrambled eggs ever since. During the lockdown Proud Mary was offering takeout and delivery, but not their flat white and toast with scrambled eggs. So I waited and waited and finally made reservations and had my first in-door dining experience since March.
Again, it was wonderful. The food and flat white were exactly as I remembered. We even sat at the exact same table I sat at with my friend a year ago. I also appreciated the reduced capacity and 6-ft distance from other diners because the place was packed and I felt like I had a lot more space and privacy than before.
I was lucky to have these two incredible experiences before lockdown 2.0. Now Olympus Spa is closed again, and Proud Mary is back to takeout only. I am sad that this joy did not last, but grateful that I got to experience it while I could.