Where I Call “Home”

This week marks two years that I have been a resident of Seattle. Last year I commemorated the anniversary with a post so I thought it only fitting that I keep the tradition alive. From the very first time I visited this amazing city many years ago, I knew there was something special calling me to this place. I took my time getting here or maybe, life unfolded as it should, but I eventually arrived and I have not regretted leaving Santa Cruz, CA for this urban mecca for one second. This is where I belong.

Living here is always a never-ending adventure. There are many things I could share with you about this great city but here are just ten observations about Seattle life you may or may not be aware of . . .

1. The Space Needle is not as tall as it appears in Grey’s Anatomy. It’s all about the angle of the picture but in reality, it’s dwarfed by downtown skyscrapers. It’s still a sight to behold, don’t get me wrong, but if you are driving in from the airport and you happen to spot a speck to the left of the urban metropolis, yeah, that’s the Needle. Surprise! Don’t believe everything you see on television.

2. Everyone is supposed to stop for pedestrians whether there is a sidewalk or not. I swear if some jaywalker decided to cross the damn freeway everyone would politely stop. That kind of ridiculousness would never fly in California. Seattle drivers drive slow and seem to be unable to operate their car in the rain regardless of the 9 months of practice they get EVERY YEAR. I am confounded by this mystery.

3. You better know how to parallel park lest you make an ass out of yourself holding up traffic while on your third attempt at backing your car in. Here’s a tip: Say hello to your neighbor* (pull up next to the car in front of the space you want- your cars should be lined up), back up the car while turning the wheel to angle your car into the space, then when your shoulders line up with the back of that car turn the wheel the other way, then you are backed into the space. Hopefully. Or just take the bus. We might all be safer that way.

*Double B, my BIL, taught me that trick.

4. Don’t bother driving downtown. The parking fees alone are worth the cab fare (if you live in Capital Hill like me at least) or be a good Seattleite and take public transportation. Seattleites love the bus or hoofing it around town.

5. Which brings me to my next point: There is a reason that Seattle is ranked one of the “most athletic” cities in the U.S. If you had to live under the oppressive gray skies we call home 9 months out of the year, wouldn’t you lace up your running shoes the moment it stopped raining? Wouldn’t you have to exercise to combat SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)? Yes. Yes you would. Trust me.

6. You can never be bored here. If you live here and you are bored, try leaving your house. In one day you could get a delicious brunch at one of the many tasty restaurants, go for a day hike at a park, see an author read from their book at a local bookstore, see a theater/musical performance, check out a new bar and eat a cupcake. For example. There is ALWAYS something to do here.

7. It’s rather imperative that you learn the difference between North, South, East and West because that’s how they describe things here. “Head north on 12th Ave. and then turn east at Pine.” Why can’t you just say turn RIGHT on 12th and LEFT on Pine?! I have gotten better about this but it seriously messed with my head the first year I tried to navigate around town. I felt like an idiot.

8. Washington requires only 20 day notice when moving out. Rentals move pretty fast here. And while we seem to be a very dog friendly town, it’s hard to find an apartment that will rent to dogs. Moving from California where I had to give 30 days notice to here where I couldn’t start looking until after the 10th was nerve wracking for this Type A girl. Thankfully, my sister was here to help- pick me up from the bathroom floor when I had a breakdown from the stress of apartment hunting and to do some leg work for me before I got here.

9. People don’t dress up here. Fleece and jeans are pretty standard. That stereotype is rather true. I purchased my first fleece within a few months of moving here but I am usually more dressed up than most people. Maybe that is because I work in the non-profit field and we are pretty relaxed when it comes to attire? I’d rather be a tad over-dressed than under-dressed though.

10. There really is coffee EVERYWHERE.

If you have never visited Seattle you are missing out. But if you hate the rain, try planning your trip for August or September. And then just try not to fall in love with the Emerald City. I double dog dare you not to! (It’s rather impossible.) (Yes, I am biased.)

89 thoughts on “Where I Call “Home”

  1. am i the first commenter? woo! that’s never happened before 😉

    i didn’t know you only moved to seattle two years ago – i figured you’d been there a long while. it sounds like a great place 🙂 there really isn’t anything to do round about where i live… but we do have the beach so i don’t complain 😉

    congratulations on the anniversary! 🙂

  2. What a nice plug for your city! I’ve been living in Miami for the past 4 years and now could write a nice long list of my own about this crazy, multi-cultural city.

    I don’t think I would do very well surrounded by fleece though. And the sun! I’m likely moving next year and I will miss the Florida sunshine so much.

    Thanks for the tips, I hope to visit Seattle sometime.

  3. I agree with all. We live in a great city.
    The “views” from any Seattle tv show/ movie always make me laugh.
    Mmmm, coffee.
    I am terrified I am going to hit a pedestrian. They do just pop out of nowhere. When I first moved here, no one ever got a speeding ticket. I now I see several cops every morning on my very short commute. It does seem like people have slowed down a bit. Or maybe we are all just so shocked that our cars are moving and not stuck in standstill traffic.

  4. Of the places I have lived, I would have to say that the Seattle area is by far my second favorite behind Sandy Eggo 🙂

    I really liked it there, and would even consider moving back some day. Really.

  5. Ys- you are the first! Weeee!

    Tricia- The fleece can be a bit much but I think I’d melt in Florida. I hear you guys have AC though. Smart!

    Kim- I have gotten TWO speeding tickets in two years! You can take the girl out of CA but you can’t take CA out of the girl. 😉

    Scotty- San Diego was on my list at one point… The beaches are so awesome. I miss the CA beaches.

  6. That pedestrian thing KILLED me when I visited! I was like…”what is the deal with these fucking people just stopping and going whenever they please?”.

    But as you know, I loved Seattle. *sniff*

  7. i’m always overdressed at work. it feels a little weird to regularly outdress the prez of my non-profit place. but i feel weirder dressing down that much.

    it just means i look good all day, and fit right in at my ballroom classes.

  8. Someday…I’ll make it to Seattle (my brother lives there, I should have been there by now)!

  9. OMG. I can’t believe I’ve been reading your blog over two years! I think I started reading it just about 60 days before the move.

    Time has flown by for sure!

    And you’ve changed and grown a whole bunch since you lived in Santa Cruz. And it’s all been for the good too!

  10. Oooh, you make me want to visit Seattle. It sounds so wonderful. I wish I could do a list like that for Baltimore, but unfortunately it would only be one: Close to DC, get there, NOW.

  11. I loved Seattle when I visited (and am trying to sort a trip out there in the next few months, actually! we’ll have to play)

  12. *sigh* I really need to get up there, I just don’t know when it could happen…(the boy and I are working on going to the Florida Keys in December for our next trip!)
    A city full of coffee is just FAR too appealing to me!

  13. I don’t know if I could handle that weather. After living in Miami I am weather spoiled! I would love to live in a city that was more accessible.

  14. Now I want to come visit! But then I would have to learn my North, South directions which I am terrible at! Seriously! Just the other day, my doctor was asking where I lived and I was trying to explain it and doing well until he said is that East or West of a certain street. I had no idea! My kids are better at that than I am!

  15. You just made me want to see Seattle even more. I’ve always thought of Seattle being a pretty cool town.

    One extra plug for the town that you failed to mention…

    SIZZLE LIVES THERE! Of course we all need to see Sizzle! ha. ha. She’ll even be our tour guide.


  16. shhhh! You’re giving away all the secrets. If you don’t watch out you’ll soon be getting a visit from the “no more Californians mafia”. 🙂

  17. What’s funny is that I never intended this post to be “ten reasons you should visit” and yet people are taking it that way. HA! I could really blow your minds with even awesomer facts but I care about you too much to maim you in that way.


  18. Don’t you just love our city? I loved your post this morning. I am glad to know you love the city the way I do.

    PS. I took the Elliot Bay Water Taxi home the other night…$3.00…totally awesome.

  19. My last visit was in college, which is longer ago that I like to admit. High time I high-tailed it up there. Yes, I am one of the masses that want to visit and you sweetened the pot (get it? coffee joke! haaaa! and now excuse me while I go get a life)

  20. #9 = YES! That is the number one thing I remember about my four years in Tacoma.

    I loved my time in the Pacific Northwest! I think it’s a nice place to call “home.”

  21. miss s,
    you kinda bascially just described portland, teehee

    well, with a few minor adjustments…like the amount of emo/alter/hip/queer/radical/weirdness we have might be higher

    and we have a bit less rain

    but how fitting that we both picked places much like ourselves

    much love-

  22. “I swear if some jaywalker decided to cross the damn freeway everyone would politely stop”

    That would NEVER happen in Chicago.

    I’ve always wanted to visit Seattle. One day!

  23. I love love love seattle and this post makes me want to move there even more!! I was born there and almost made the move out there after i graduated in december, but then I got a job here in NYC and decided to stick it out. I may head out that way though in a year though!:)

  24. It’s great to love the place where you live, which clearly you do. I know people from Seattle HATE L.A., but besides a few differences, it sounds pretty similar. I’m pretty sure the weather would make me suicidal though, exercise or not.

  25. Seattle is the greatest place to live/visit 3 months of the year (july-sept). We’ve got it all.

    The one thing that I noticed when I moved here (cripes…8 years ago) was how slow people drive on the freeway. Speed limit doesn’t exceed 60mph around Seattle; drivers rarely exceed 55.

    And the Space needle isn’t as tall as it is made out to be in most pictures/tv shows, but when it was completed in ’62 it WAS the tallest building west of the Mississippi River…as was the Smith Tower (completed in 1914). Both buildings are now dwarfed by many other buildings in Seattle.

    Glad you’re here, Sizzle.

  26. And, Elliot Bay Bookstore is there!! My very very favorite. I noticed the pedestrian thing up there as well (well, in Oregon), so refreshing, especially compared to California. I have to wait 20 minutes to cross the street at a CROSSWALK with a STROLLER. Makes me wish for a basket full of rotting eggs to pelt.

  27. Well, as you know, I visited Seattle in 2006, a mere 17 hours flying time (via Houston, my other pit stop!) I LOVED it! I drink tea from my beloved “Emerald City” mug every single day and would die if it got broken (yes must send you a picture to get me a just-in-case replacement!)
    Congrats on 2 years in such a beautiful part of the world! :o)

  28. You know what’s funny? You’ve always lived in Seattle ever since I’ve *known* you. It’s kinda strange for me to think there’s any home other than Seattle for you! Happy anniversary!

  29. I have a warm place in my heart for Seattle. It feels similar to home because of the NW vibe- only it’s infinitely more sophisticated than Alaska. Not to mention that I have lots of family and friends all around WA and OR. I could definitely live there and have often considered moving. I would enjoy some rain after living in the desert- at least for awhile. 🙂

  30. Sizzle – I found your blog not too long ago and love it. I’m a fellow Seattlite and love this particular post- so true! Funny, because I just made a post about a unique aspect of Seattle (www.threeplusthreeisthirtythree.blogspot.com) that I think you’ll find amusing and true 🙂

  31. Okay, so I’ve lived in the Seattle area almost my entire life and I do NOT stop for pedestrians unless they’re at a crosswalk (and sometimes not even at a crosswalk). But I have never understood the inability to drive in the rain either – it pisses me off so much! I blame all the Californians who have moved here…;)

  32. I hope I get to Seattle someday. I describe directions cardinally (NSEW) as well. Until the person gives me a confused look!

  33. You had me at “Eat a cupcake”.

    And? I LOVE GREY SKIES. They make me happy and upbeat. The glaring sun is just too harsh for me.

  34. WOW. Two years? That’s crazy! I can hardly believe it!

    And if it weren’t for that cloudy thing, I would totally fit in there. Fleece, running, all of it!

  35. Two years already, crazy. I remember all the pre-move anxiety, job hunting… nice to see how good you feel about being there now.

  36. I’m going on vacation to the NW here in a few months (to Portland). I’m so excited! I’ve always thought I’d love Seattle, except I probably wear too much makeup. 🙂

  37. They stop for pedestrians? What kind of craziness is that? In California we do no such thing, I will be moving in Seattle in two months and I am freaking about finding a place to live…help!

  38. oh my goodness… I miss Seattle so much. Everything you said is spot on. I am not native, but having lived in the Seattle area for a combined time of 24 years, over half my life, I can say this… when at a cross walk, I do NOT cross until the sign says I can. When people walk against the light, I am shocked and horrified. 🙂

    I’ve lived a lot of places, but when I come home to Seattle, something is my heart just sighs with happiness. It’s HOME. I belong there. Vancouver is similar enough to make me happy here, but I look forward to the possibility of moving back some day. The husband is open to it. I’ve never wanted to live anywhere else.

  39. I’ve always, always, always wanted to visit Seattle. And San Francisco. And Portland—maybe one day! (living on the East Coast doesn’t make it easy) Sounds like a great place to call home 🙂 I wish I could say the same about DC…I have a “love/hate” relationship with it 🙂

  40. right on the money with the parallel parking, being from DC myself, if you can’t parallel park, you don’t get your license.

    Hopefully one day we’ll get to travel to your amazing city.

  41. i can picture myself in seattle. seems like everything i hear about it (besides the rain and lack of dunkin donuts) are so … me.

    oh and i can’t parallel park for the life of me. sucks living in boston.

  42. I visited Seattle last year and it’s one city I really think I could be at home in… Love this perspective from someone who is 😉

  43. #3 made me laugh. When I worked on Queen Anne I got REALLY GOOD at parallel parking since I had no choice.
    #9 no people don’t dress up at all. When we moved to Vegas I got rid of a ton of fleece. I kept some but never wear it because a) it’s too hot and b) it’s not dressy enough to go out in!
    #10 Coffee. I do miss the espresso stands on EVERY corner. I am now a Starbucks girl because that is pretty much all that is around!

    And I do hate the rain and don’t miss it one bit or the never ending (it seems) gray skies! I will be back the end of August. Perfect time of year for a visit!

  44. Sizz, Seattle does not have Umbrella Man (like Santa Cruz does), and here in Colorado Springs – there’s coffee. Everywhere. 🙂

  45. If it weren’t for the rain and my serious SAD (I grew up in So Cal where it’s sunny all the time) I would totally consider moving to Seattle. I LOVED it when I visited (in June ’02). If I ever make it back there, I’m looking you up! 😉

  46. Been thinking of moving up there a lot this week, might be heading up to check it out in the next week or two, so your very timely post is helping me lean towards Seattle being good.

  47. I’ve driven through (bad hey?). But we are wanting to go. SO we could like meet up for coffee somewhere one day. Lots of stuff for families to do?

  48. LOVE Seattle… I spent 2 weeks there 2 years ago for work… Stayed at the Edgewater – great cocktails, love the trainbells, the view over the sound, the teddy bear on the bed and the fireplace and the little yellow bath ducky which I still have… I could go on and on – But my favorite sight is Mt. Ranier… It seems to float above the city. Magical!

  49. I haven’t been there since I was a wee, wee, wee kid and I don’t remember it. I’ll definitely have to put it on the to do list. And I think Seattle’s department of tourism will be calling you soon to thank you and offer you a goodwill ambassador position. When they do, you should take it. They’d probably let you fly some of us up there for free 😉

  50. yes, Seattle is a great town….though I haven’t lived in the city since my 20’s….but I’m usually an hour outside of it. It was fun coming to see you guys in the city recently….it made me miss it a bit and think ‘maybe we can live here again’?. But, think the suburbs are where we will be for a while.

  51. Congrats on the two years in Seattle! I agree, dog friendly, but difficult to find a rental that accepts them. Also, Seattle is where I perfected my parallel parking skills, but have yet to need them since!

  52. You know, I’ve only been to Seattle a handful of times but it’s always been sunny and gorgeous when I go. Which is weird because on all of my other trips, I am the Rain Goddess. Seriously. People in drought-affected states should send me a plane ticket.

    Are you all making up all of the rain because you don’t want too many people moving to your kick-ass city?

  53. Sounds like a very people friendly place, unlike NYC. I might just have to visit your lovely city sometime, never been.

  54. I always visited my aunts in Seattle during July and August, and LOVED the city! It was a cruel wake up call when I started at UW as a freshman and it I never saw the sun again 😦 Seattle on a sunny day… it’s the most beautiful place!

    After living in Seattle for five years, I was a master parallel parker! I was FAST, I could just whip my car around and into the tiniest spots in the blink of an eye!

    I do miss the “cool” factor of public transportation around the city. I haven’t lived anywhere else where it has been as acceptable to hop on a bus.

  55. I’m booking my ticket presently 🙂

    re: 7 — around here, everything is either “up or down”, and “in, out, and across”. Nothing screws me up more than having someone tell me to travel across a certain street, then go straight down for three blocks. Especially since there is no grid whatsoever in this Seaside Town, and even if there were, it would bear no resemblence to the compass points. Horse & buggy planning is my nemesis.

  56. You’ll be happy to know that Seattle is ranked at the very top of my list of ‘places I’d like to live’ (San diego is 2nd if you care to know).

    A few years ago, I visited Northern Washington and while I was in Seattle, I was seduced by it’s beautiful landscapes. The people were exceptional, friendly, and polite to say the least.

    Overall, I’m okay with lots of rain and the fact that EVERYTHING is green (even during the Summer) is something I could totally get over quickly.

    If I could pick up and move my kids there with me, I would’ve already done it. I shit you not!

  57. I only stop for the jaywalkers b/c they’re crazy enough to jump in front of moving vehicles. It’s just not worth the insurance hassle 🙂 But, you’re right, I was amazed that people could not drive better here in the rain. and yes, I’ve become far better at parallel parking than I used to be!

  58. Sorry, have to comment…again! Listening to NPR right now and they just said that Seattle ranks at the bottom of the list for worst drivers…or wait, did they mean the top?? Well, either way, what they were trying to say is that we are bad drivers! Perhaps it’s because we stop for all the pedestrians? 🙂

  59. Glad you like the city but christ on toast woman you are not supposed to tell everyone how awesome this city is. It’s a secret. It’s your duty as a Seattleite to just nod and agree when people talk about how rainy and miserable it is here. 🙂

  60. I do love Seattle. It’s no Portland, but, well 🙂

    Last time I was at the Space Needle I had the pleasure of puking in front of a tour bus full of Asian Tourists. AWESOME.

    But, I got a new coat out of the deal, so there’s that.

  61. you are my inspiration! i am thinking of moving, but i’m too scared… i’m glad it worked out for you – happy fourth : )

  62. The one thing I remember about Seattle is going there in January 2007 for a business trip, and the temperatures were in the upper 40s and lower 50s – and all the Seattlites (?) were bundled up with their hoods up and scarves around their faces. My coworkers and I, from Chicago, where a 30 degree winter day was a blessing, were walking around with our coats unzipped, enjoying the warm weather.

  63. I remembered when you moved there 🙂

    Wonderful, wonderful to read about my beloved Seattle. You nailed it!

  64. I visited Seattle for the first time in January and loved it. I didn’t really have too much time to explore, but I will say that the Space Needle was kind of a disappointment. (I thought it would be bigger). However, the views were amazing. And as a Midwestern girl, seeing mountains is pretty freakin’ exciting.

    Love all the coffee….and all of the amazing food at the Pike Place Market.

  65. That was a great review of your city! And a wonderful tip on parallel parking:)

    Pedestrians have the right of way here too for the most part. But the North, Sout, East thing? I’d be lost.

    I have never been to Seattle but have spent a lot of time in Vancouver. Similar climates from my understanding.

  66. 1. did you go to UCSC? i went to UCSC for almost 2 years. i really miss santa cruz. a lot.
    2. your comment on the seattle drivers is perfect for portland drivers too. le sigh.

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