Somewhere very close to this date a decade ago, give or take a day/week/fortnight, I moved to Seattle. I was 87% just excited to live on my own, but at least 13% excited for the city itself. Both ultimately proved to be awesome sauce, as I'm now celebrating my diamond anniversary (wikipedia tells me 10 year anniversary is either diamond or aluminium / tin…um, I pick diamond, you wikidick). Mazeltov, I made it!
Shortly after the events of 9/11, this bright eyed, bushy tailed doe came blazing into town; wearing a lot of dark blue and light blue combos, likely having never eaten thai food, and terrified of bums.
The beginning of my residency here was during a young adult's most formative years, thus my learning of the city's cultural identity was initially overshadowed…by my more pressing need to become a slightly less ridiculous person. Strawberry soda is not for breakfast! There is such a thing as apartment buildings above a storefront! Girls in the dorm don't care that your high school football team won the 4A state championship title twice in your tenure there! It wasn't until I got some of those survival/common sense basics down that I was able to fully embrace my new home.
And embrace I have. Seattle, you can be my big spoon anytime.
Our romance timeline:
I was only in Seattle for three months of this year, but what a three months. COLLLLLEGE! Friends and fun and living in a closet sized dorm with two other white girls on the international floor, for some reason.
- My first college football games - high after a rose bowl win Slick Rick still gave me a winning season (8-3 regular season).
- I ate a lot of bagel sandwiches
- Spent all of my time in the University District, greek row especially - for the first month or two because we didn't know any better, for the rest just to steal natty light beer in our giant purses.
- I thought walking the length of the ave was asking a LOT.
Freshmen/sophomore year brought a little more comfort, a few extra pounds and my first apartment.
- Spent my first summer at home, interning at the ol' power plant. I missed Seattle a lot, and sleeping in more.
- First apartment! Oh, 12th and 42nd, you were the best. First new furniture, first and only land line that we never answered. 20'' TV of joy. We ate a lot of cake. Because we could.
- Brought my car up, had to parallel park a lot more than I was used to, meaning ever. Despicable at it, and got made fun of for driving too slow.
- Husky football went 7-5
- Started to venture out of U-District in small doses…to university village to read magazines.
Sophomore/Junior year I wasn't a new kid on the block anymore. I hadn't flunked out of college and had friends and knew my way around campus. Bitchez.
- Moved into a house near greek row & Ravenna with EIGHT girls. Lived in a basement. It was so cold I wore a hooded sweatshirt to bed and remember at least one occasion of poop coming up the pipes in the kitchen sinks.
- Ventured to other neighborhoods every once in awhile. You know, to see Guster.
- Husky Football went 6-6, but we won the apple cup.
- Ditched frat parties for cool house parties on the outskirts of U-dist, with fascinating themes like "dress in a brown paper bag" and "dress as something that starts with P". Had our own house parties, with fascinating themes like "crazy hats".
Junior/Senior year brought more depraved basement living with about 17 different people in the course of one school year, a final summer internship and a delightful blue house on Brooklyn my senior year.
- A lot of my friends studied abroad the end of the junior year. I was too broke so I played a lot of tetris instead.
- Spent 8,392 hours in the jack-in-the-box drive thru on 50th at embarrassing hours.
- Huskies went 1-10. Kill me.
- New fast forward best friend helped me explore far reaching neighborhoods, such as Ballard (for Wendy's) and Greenwood (for Taco Bell).
- Occasionally went to bars in other neighborhoods for special celebrations or dancing. Remember thinking Pike/Pine corridor was the most confusing place on earth.
End of college brought graduation, a shit ton of Reality Bites references, and escape from the U-Dist.
- A great/happy/sad-to end senior year. U-district centric (Dante'ss centric, really), but explored for parks and shows and froyo.
- Most of my friends moved away. I, on the other hand, moved to "Bed City" for 3 months…a single bedroom in a friend's place right next to I-5 I shared with another girl for $100 a month. Our room was a floor of two beds. Not my proudest moment.
- Eventually got my first grownup apartment in Lower Queen Anne. By grownup I mean we had a framed picture of Siegfried and Roy and some tigers we found in a yard once.
- I got a JOB, in a NEIGHBORHOOD, in which I commuted from my own, separate NEIGHBORHOOD. Grown up stuff!!
- Huskies went 2-9. Sigh.
- Whenever I was too broke to go to lunch with coworkers, which was often, I pretended I was busy or on a diet. But eventually I made it to still more new neighborhoods to real restaurants all over, like a real person! Pho and Phillies and Chili in Capitol Hill, Madison Park and Ballard…joy!
- Huskies go 5-7. Shrug?
- Went out in Belltown a lot. Because that's what young professionals do, right?
Studio apartment, suburbs, and no car.
- Got my first own apartment, 350 sq feet of glory on Capitol Hill. With a bathroom in the closet and plenty of homeless people outside to keep me company. No parking, got rid of my car, discovered you can walk just about anywhere.
- Started working at Microsoft, realized there's actually something beyond the 520 bridge beside the taco truck in Bellevue. Furthermore, that traffic is horrible and the suburbs suck.
- Huskies go 4-9. No comment.
- I walked downtown every weekend, and otherwise there was barely ever a reason to leave Capitol Hill.
I knew my shit now, guys. I was practically James in Look Who's Talking navigating the alleys of NYC like the back of his hand.
- Not only did I now know my way around, I knew bus routes. 545? Everyday. 550? 49? Been there. 43? 8? 16? 11? Ain't no thang.
- Unfortunately I get to know Redmond at this time too. Meh. Red Robin?
- Huskies were 0-12. So, yeaaah.
My MSN job moved to downtown Bellevue, completing my knowledge of the holy trinity that is interstate circumnavigation of Lake Washington.
- I kind of fell in love with the bus tunnel this year. And realized downtown Bellevue freaks me out…even if there is a Fatburger.
- Huskies went 5-7. It's been worse.
- My toot toot, vroom vroom scooter allowed me to back road it all over town, making it as far as Lake Forrest Park.
- I started writing for Seattlest, which demands no qualifications and pays nothing, but clearly made me a city pro.
Shortly before 2010 I moved to Northwest Capitol Hill, got a car again, and started working in Pioneer Square, aka the land of sandwiches.
- There's something about Pioneer Square that is unlike any other part of the city - it's gritty (what am I, a network describing its new cop drama?) but it's beautiful. Close to the international district, SoDo and the waterfront. Heavenly.
- Walking to work 2.3 miles each way made me like the city more.
- Having a car again just equaled going to Target in Northgate biweekly. Now I got made fun of for driving too fast.
- Hukies went 7-6 including the best upset of all time (#3 USC) and a Holiday Bowl in San Diego I got to attend, no biggie.
More SoDo-a-go-go, Lake Union wins my heart, and still cruising Capitol Hill.
- 8 more months were spent expanding my expertise of downtown and beyond, from afternoon coffee walks at the ferry terminal to hiding under the viaduct when raining.
- I started running the 6 miles around Lake Union almost every weekend, falling in love with the new SLU parks and the last mile back over the bridge to Eastlake.
- As of a month ago, I started working in Fremont - one of the neighborhoods I always avoided going out in, but turns out I’m quite fond of during the day.
- Huskies are 2-1, but I have faith.
I've thought about leaving for the far reaches multiple times, but it just hasn't happened. I love SF and NYC, but nothing has ever made me pull the trigger. Because I can't seem to leave this big, burly beaut. Seattle is too wonderful. We have amazing seafood. We have mountains and hiking and trees. We have artists and beards. We have great beer, technology and passive aggressive drivers. I became a person here. I got tattoos here, I've fallen in love here, I got my education and started a career here. Whatever it takes, or how my heart breaks, I will be right here waiting for you, Seattle. I will always love you. Cheers to another decade!