One year in Seattle …


I feel fairly confident that the pirate flag on our porch is the only such display in all of Maple Leaf. Hopefully, the neighbors have a sense of humor about living next to weirdos. 

I don’t think I’ll ever really forget the way I felt when I first arrived in Seattle that relatively sunny Sunday afternoon one year ago today. My car was so stuffed that I could barely move. Jack was beside himself, completely and utterly stressed by the enormity of what was happening. The car was covered in his (thankfully clean) cat litter from when I had to hit the breaks and the bag of cat litter in the back ripped open and flew everywhere (a stressful occasion on which I also got hit in the back of the head by an unopened bottle of Arbor Mist that was a going away present from coworkers).

Jack and I were alone. Colin and Cat Cat would not be joining us for several weeks. We’d never seen the apartment where we would be staying. We’d never seen the neighborhood, for that matter, never lived anywhere but California. I was glad to be out of the car after three days of driving in cramped quarters in the company of a cantankerous cat, but dreaded actually leaving the car and beginning a new life. Some people are born wanderers; I consider myself a world traveler but between my three week-long jaunts to Turkey and Peru I am very much a planter. The problem was, California was an impossibly expensive place to plant. Despite my best efforts, the best I could manage was one apartment after another. If I really wanted to plant, it seemed it would have to be somewhere else.

It feels like that was just yesterday. But it also feels like I’ve been in Seattle a lot longer than a year. I’m comfortable here, despite not having a very solid grasp of the bus lines, despite knowing next to nothing about the surrounding towns, and despite the occasional spasms of longing for landscapes drenched in gold and the smell of the ocean. I’m comfortable here because Seattle made room for me and all I had to do was ask.

Seattle gave me the home I spent all of my 20s in California longing for, the house where I can plant fruit trees in the yard, comfortable in the knowledge that I’ll be there to see them flourish. Seattle gave me the job I needed to make that house a reality, the job where I am fairly paid and appreciated.

And today, on my one-year anniversary with the aptly-named Emerald City, Seattle 12985425_10153807073003355_3357995585517177614_nfulfilled one more, equally important dream: a dog. To get the dog, I first needed a house. To get the house, I first needed a decently-paying job in a reasonable real estate market.

His fosters are dropping him off at our house tonight. His name is Leander. He’s from Mexico, where he was apparently found by the side of the road with one leg hanging loose. We think he’s half lab and half chihuahua; and no, I have no idea how that happened. But we plan to give him the best of homes, and are thrilled that he found a foster family that loved and cared for him so selflessly in the meantime. I don’t expect that the cats will be thrilled, but ever since I learned that we would be meeting him, I’ve been waking up with the feeling that it’s Christmas morning, a feeling I’ve had on so many occasions since I arrived one year ago.

I’m so grateful for my home. I’m so grateful for Leander. And one year from now, I can only imagine how that list will have grown.



  1. Really nice writing! Especially like your sentence, “I’m comfortable here because Seattle made room for me and all I had to do was ask.” What a great sentiment! Happy first year in Seattle!

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