A year in Seattle

So it’s been about a year since I moved to Seattle from the bay area. (FYI, I am and always will be from Philadelphia, I lived in the bay area for five years.) Now that I’ve spent some time here, I thought it might be good idea to reflect a bit on the experience of being here so far.

You know, It’s hard moving to a new city in the middle of life (ok, maybe one third of the way through). It’s hard being thousands of miles away from all those that you know and love. It’s hard starting a new job and starting over again without any community. My last big move I had roommates and people that worked hard to make me feel welcomed. It was an amazing experience. Seattle is not a welcoming place, especially in winter. But frankly, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

The people here are pragmatic, smart, open minded, very kind and patient. It seems rare to find people in a rush to get anyplace. People complain a lot about traffic and parking, but drive everyplace and refuse to use public transit, it’s really strange. People are obsessed with biking. (as compared to other American cities). People are friendly, but in this weird aloof way. Most of the friends I’ve met aren’t from here. The natives seem to have little interest in showing the new guy around. (I’ll bet my experience would be different if I had breasts) People here are proud of their small city and invest in the relationships they have, and it’s a good thing. To place more value on existing relationships versus forge new ones is a ethos I value greatly, one seemingly missing from the bay area. They also love their coffee and beer, and rightly so, they do it right. They love sunlight and will call in sick when they see it. They love to read. They are dog friendly. They don’t let bad weather stop them. They work hard and are quick to smile even with the drizzle.

The city is very green as a metaphor and not. Most of the energy comes from hydroelectric. There are trees everywhere, the air is fresh and smells of pine and the sea. It’s clean, probably the cleanest city I’ve ever lived in. (except for the gum wall, seriously, that thing is horid). Farmers markets abound, rain or shine they are crowded, everyone recycles. You actually can get fined if you don’t. Hybrid cars seem almost to be the norm. On a clear day you can see 3 national parks from high points in the city. They treasure their natural resources, though it hasn’t always been that way. There is history here, but it’s not all European and colonial, it’s native and the names and many urban spaces reflect it.

So yeah, a hard but amazing and rewarding first year. I’ve made many new friends, learned a lot and grown a bit as well. It’s been an adventure for sure and I’m still excited to be here so long as Seattle will have me.

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