Impressions: The first five weeks (and one day) in Seattle

Just some flower I happened to walk past and had to photograph because my new iPhone has turned me in to a crazy person. Also, probably a little bit because flowers remind me of my grandma and I always have to stop and smell them.

Just some flower I happened to walk past and had to photograph because my new iPhone has turned me in to a crazy person. Also, probably a little bit because flowers remind me of my grandma and I always have to stop and smell them.

It’s my tendency to attack my subjects with long blocks of text that resemble nothing quite so much as a manifesto from some nutjob who wants to change the world. Getting started might take a minute or two, but stopping is a monumental effort akin to claiming the momentum of a runaway big rig.

But my thoughts and feelings during these first five weeks (and one day) in Seattle are far from cohesive. I chock it up to the fact that I haven’t yet established my rhythm, not really. I’ve got all the pieces–the job, apartment, the gym, the IMG_0055insurance, the proper Washington plates and license, the veterinarian, the grocery store less than a block from the apartment–but I haven’t yet gotten around to putting them together.

I still wonder what I’m going to think and feel when I wake up one day and finally recognize that this isn’t a vacation, that I’m not going home. As happy as I am, it’s that not going home bit that haunts me.

I hate bulletpoints, but that’s all I have right now, bulletpoints of impressions and thoughts and activities.

Like: I watched The Killing, which isn’t filmed in Seattle even though it’s supposedly set there, and that’s a terrible show to watch if you’ve just moved to Seattle. Also, I think it succeeded in finally turning me against the death penalty (which was really my only conservative belief).

I still can’t get enough golden poppies, or flowers in general. I thought Seattle would be more forest-like, but it’s incredibly lush in a weirdly tropical way. This aspect of it reminds me of the Isle of Arran in Scotland, which remains the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. I keep snapping photos of flowers on my iPhone and almost walked into a bush filled with bees today on my way to a Chinese restaurant near my apartment.

If everything goes according to plan, I won’t be a renter much longer. My plan, before the year is out, is to purchase a IMG_0054house. Nothing, including the completion of my first novel (Scourge of the Righteous Haddock) has ever brought me such wild, fierce joy.

But I’m also planning a trip to India for early next spring, before the hot, hot weather and before the monsoon. I was a little kid who dreamed constantly and savagely of travel. I wanted to go everywhere, see everything. But the big three were always India, Ireland, and Peru, and India was always first among these. I’ve seen Ireland and Peru. The thrill of knowing I’m going to India is not quite as sharp as my joy over buying a house, but the combination of the two terrifies me because too much happiness has always struck me as an imbalance that will right itself. I don’t want something to take away my dream of a house or India, and I hope that this fear is enough to naturally correct the imbalance.

Last week was food truck week at work. Each day a different food truck brought us work. I love food trucks, despite the fact that unless they’re vegetarian themed to begin with, I know I don’t stand a great chance of finding something I can eat.

Colin and I are still eating our way across Seattle. Butterbeer here. Chinese food there. Indian food around the corner. Our first Seattle pizza (a little fancy for my tastes, but damn if it wasn’t good and we ate it all in one single sitting). Cotton candy at some Norwegian heritage festival (during which I regaled Colin with what little Norwegian I remember IMG_0067from my trip to Norway three years ago).

It feels a little lonely sometimes if I’m being honest. But next month two of my closest friends are moving to Seattle,
just a 10-minute walk from our apartment. I met Maeva while working at New Times, and it’s sort of pathetic how much it means to me that I’m going to have a fellow writer and basement dweller to share this experience with. I married Maeva and Aileen last fall, and Colin shot the photos, after we shot engagement pictures at Ostrichland, of course. So you could say there’s a history there. And that REALLY means something, especially right now. It’s weird having a clean slate everywhere I go. I find that I don’t much care for it. I liked that, for better or worse, everyone in SLO knew me, either by reputation or because I’d painted them some weird color and thrown them in the middle of a photo shoot for the paper. How long will it take, I wonder, before my new coworkers know what madness I’m capable of? Will it matter as much here as it did there?

Oh, and I liked Mad Max. What the hell is that about? I guess maybe when an action film bothers to construct an
interesting, powerful female character, women are capable of appreciating it? Not so novel a thought, I guess.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my digital presence–what I can do better (probably just about everything) and wether the gains are worth the little free time I have (traffic and commuting, I fear, will make a true adult of me). So I IMG_0088joined Instagram. JaneEyreLikesButterbeer. To go with Jane Eyre Likes Cupcakes on WordPress and Jane Eyre Eats Pie on Pinterest. It’s long and easy to forget and yes, I know that’s bad but I can’t seem to help myself. At least I’ve got a theme going. I mostly blame the iPhone for Instagram. I couldn’t do it otherwise, and wouldn’t think to because I wouldn’t be pointing my phone at everything I eat or every flower I pass. I’m trying to cut myself some slack by reminding myself that I’m still processing this new environment, and maybe the iPhone is playing some role in that. But I needed something to do with the photos.

I don’t want to be an adult. I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately, because I feel like one more often than I care to, between the commuting to work and trying to remember I’m not supposed to curse there and then thinking about mortgages and interest rates. I tell myself that what matters is what I do with the house once I have it. And the answer is paint it wild colors and adopt a dog and continue to pamper the cats and maybe build them some ramps to run on and build a library I won’t have to fit into boxes in a year or three and fill it with art and write books there and bake pies and fill it with strange artifacts from my travels and welcome my friends and family who I miss so much.



  1. It’s way past my bed time but I had to take one last look at facebook and came across your blog. I guess I am what some people call a facebook stalker. Since you stayed up late to write your blog, I thougt it was only fair to let you know how much I enjoyed reading about your new journey, so far.
    You don’t know me. I’ve been following you for some time now and have really been enjoying what you write and how you write.
    I wish you all the best in your new adventure and can’t wait to read about your new job, your new environment, the house hunt and the big trip to India. Good night.

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