This coming Spring marks 15 years of my making the US my home - and 10 years of our family making the Pacific Northwest our home. When you relocate to a new place, there is always a lot to learn, including learning a new language. And I don't only mean a national language - English, in my case. Justin is a born and bred American, but for him too there is a need to learn to understand locals from time to time. Let me show you just a couple of examples of how and why. One occasion would be simply spelling and pronunciation that don't go hand-in-hand. While it's often the case with the English language, there also are other languages that get involved - like French or local Indian tribal languages. For instance, if you're driving I-5 visiting from out-of-state, you might read the name of the city Puyallup as PY-all-up, as in "pie", or perhaps POOY-all-up as in "pooh" (Winnie the, of course), and good luck asking about it then. The locals pronounce it PYU-all-up. Tricky, huh? Yet it's just one example, and every place has plenty - something that only locals know like the back of their hand, and what takes a lifetime for newcomers to learn.
Okay, okay, you probably think. That was cheating. Only Native Americans can know how to correctly pronounce words in their language. Of course the rest of the world needs to learn that, silly girl. And I agree. Let's talk about UPS though. Wait a minute, this one's easy - it's way too familiar to fellow Americans. But if you, like us, think that the widely known abbreviation UPS refers to United Parcel Service, the world's largest delivery company, you might get really confused when you are in the city of Tacoma. You might quite literally even get lost. Now I'm here to try to de-confuse you. When Tacomians tell you they live near UPS, they do not mean a mailing or distribution center at all! They refer to the University of Puget Sound, a private liberal arts college that also is one of the most significant urban reference points to know about the city.
While Justin and I were both unclear about it, Anya got the reference immediately - not only did she hear about this university, but she also has visited it with her school choir before. Don't get me wrong. We heard about the university, of course, nevertheless the first thing we both pictured when we heard UPS in Tacoma was the delivery service. How weird, we thought, to consider a shipping center a main city landmark. Little did we know! So in our regular attempts to explore the city, we made a point to finally stop by UPS in Tacoma.
The University of Puget Sound was founded by the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1888 in downtown Tacoma. Two cities were considered for the location, Port Townsend (then booming with business and called the City of Dreams - I wrote about it HERE) and Tacoma, which got a nickname City of Destiny. And for the University of Puget Sound, it really became a destiny.
While UPS still has ties with the United Methodist Church, it's no longer affiliated with the church and is the only independent liberal arts college in Western Washington. It offers bachelor degrees in Arts, Science, and Music, as well as Masters in Arts of Teaching, Education, Occupational Therapy and Doctors in Physical Therapy. It seems, there were quite a few presidents of the university who made major changes and whose vision made UPS what it is today. Rev. Dr. Edward H. Todd was a president from 1913 to 1942, stabilizing both financial and academic sides. He started the Million Dollar Campaign, raising money for buildings and equipment. This money moved UPS in 1924 to its current location. Most of the buildings were constructed during the presidency of Rev. Dr. R. Franklin Thompson (1942-1973).
We took a relaxing walk in the gorgeous campus in North End, the residential area of Tacoma. There are both original and newly constructed buildings, the latest addition being the Athletics and Aquatics Center completed in the Fall of 2016. The campus seems to be very quiet on weekends. We only saw a few college kids here and there and small groups of adults taking a walk, just like ourselves. It brought memories back. Justin is a University of Notre Dame graduate, and his college campus was as beautiful (only many times larger) as UPS. My alma mater, the Siberian Federal University (used to be called Krasnoyarsk State University in my time) wasn't nearly as pretty, rather minimal really - yet still the spirit of academic learning, the energy of youth, open-mindedness, freshness, curiosity about life, high hopes and dreams of the future rushed over me as soon as I stepped on the UPS grounds.
We were told that there are free events on campus, like concerts, so it's worth coming back, but I really just enjoyed being there, walking the beautiful wooded trails, admiring the thoughtful and elegant architecture, both old school and modern. It's a wonderful background for photos, and there are still many corners to explore, so I'm positive we will be back - as fellow explorers, students at heart. And I know there is still a lot to learn, but one thing I can guarantee for sure, and that is... we will never confuse our local UPS with a nation-wide parcel service, and that's a promise!
Photos by Justin
Location: University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA
Lace top - Eloquii
Skirt - Glamour X Lane Bryant
Coat - Ashley Stewart (old)
Tights - via Lane Bryant (old)
Boots - Aquatalia via Nordstrom Rack (old)
Purse - Michael Kors via TJ MAXX
Earrings - Chico's (old)
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