Seattle’s Newest Edition

For those of you who’ve been reading this blog for some time, you know that I’ve got a tight circle of best friends– all of which are now scattered away from the place we used to call home. Jenny Two Times moved to Portland soon after I landed in Seattle which means we’re only three hours away from each other (it lessens the blow of being apart). James Dean and Natalie Wood moved inland away from the smallness of our former coastal town. Rae Rae and Run Run have always lived outside of The Cruz and despite teasing me with the possibility of relocating to the PNW, they remain in the Bay Area. (Le Sigh!)  Dumpling and his Jersey Girl hauled themselves across the country to North Carolina. Bird is the only one who still nicely settled in The Cruz with her hubby, The Ama, stepchildren, step-grandbaby and her job and schooling.

Because last week, a minor miracle occurred and my girl, Supple, finally moved to Seattle.

Well I’ll be.

This is no small feat as Supp and I came to Seattle on our first-ever visit together over ten years ago. We both knew that Seattle would one day be home to us- we instantly fell in love with it. It just took us longer than we imagined to actually relocate here though. Some perspective: Supple is not big on change. She inherited a strong worry streak from her Mom and godlovethem both, she can sometimes become paralyzed with indecision because of the fear of the unknown. I think we can all relate to that on some level, no? So for years (and years!), Supple visited here and talked about moving here and that was just it- visits and talk. And then she got a job. HERE. Talk about impetus. So she packed up her life and her cats and hauled ass to Seattle.

I remember how hard it was to leave behind the safety of The Cruz and that girl I was there to embark on a new, bigger life full of questions in a city that stops for all pedestrians regardless of their jaywalking, that is gray and wet 9 months out of the year, that barely can boast of a decent burrito (thank you Gorditos for rectifying this!). There were a lot of things about living here that I wish I had known when I arrived so I made a cheat sheet for Supple along with some other welcome gifts that are sure to come in handy during her transition from Californian to Seattleite.

From L to R: postcards, Theo's chocolates, map with neighborhoods marked, card with names/numbers of hair stylist & esthetician, a compass, vitamin D, cheat sheet to the Emerald City, Seattle Magazine (best restaurants edition).

Here’s what the cheat sheet says. . .

A Transplant’s Guide to Making it in the Emerald City

  1. You will get lost (repeatedly) but that’s how you learn your way around.
  2. Everyone speaks in N/W/S/E so a compass is your friend. Or better yet, a GPS.
  3. There are streets with the same name but only differentiated by S or SW or N or E which indicates which neighborhood they are in. I still don’t understand it.
  4. Pike or Pine? Pine St. is North of Pike St. Pine has an N in it so it’s North.
  5. Getting your driver’s license and renewing your license plate tabs are done at separate places. They like us to stand in line, apparently.
  6. There are lanes on the freeway that you need a pass for. Don’t accidentally get on one and get pulled over by a cop like some people. Cough.
  7. No one calls Interstate 5 “The 5.” It’s either I5 or 5.
  8. Hard liquor is only sold at state-run stores and they are not open on Sundays. Because of God.
  9. There is no WA State tax. Makes tax time less painful.
  10. Seattleites are very friendly but bad with follow through on plans. That’s what they call ‘The Seattle Freeze.”
  11. Best places to meet new folks are at (surprise, surprise) coffee shops, Underdog Sports leagues, trivia nights and through work. (From my friend Kevin)
  12. Get a Seattle Mariners home game schedule put it in your car and avoid the Alaska Way Viaduct/I-5 through downtown for the hour prior to the game.  Surface streets will get you through downtown and to other highway connections much faster. (From Kevin)
  13. Never, ever, ever, ever try and park on Pike Place when going to the Market.  (From Kevin)
  14. Don’t call Pike Place “Pike’s Place.” Unless you want to out yourself as a transplant.
  15. Be ready for people to whine that Ballard is too much of a pain to get to.  Tell them to kiss your ass because Ballard is rad and because it’s a pain to get to, we keep a great portion of the riff raff out. (From Kevin)
  16. There are three Targets and a bunch of Fred Meyers. There aren’t really any Long’s but the closest to it is Bartell’s.
  17. Anytime the weather is nice-go out and soak it up! Bike around Greenlake, visit the Japanese Gardens, Arboretum, Discovery Park. Seattle has a ton of awesome outdoor activities. (From my friend Jeni)
  18. People will say they went to “the beach” when they mean Alki Beach which is nothing like the beaches you are used to.
  19. Stumptown is better than Starbucks or Tully’s and everything is better than Seattle’s Best (blech!).
  20. In Washington, teriyaki is the California equivalent to the burrito.

Supple, if you haven’t figured it out already, I’m glad you’re here.

30 thoughts on “Seattle’s Newest Edition

  1. If I ever move to a new city, I’m going to request someone like you be there first. So sweet of you to help her like that! All the best to your friend in her new home!

  2. Yeah! Welcome to Seatlle Supple. You’re gonna love it! Makes me homesick for the PNW reading that list cause it’s SO true. And I so miss the Stumptown coffee.

  3. I was born here and I could totally use this kind of cheat sheet. I’ve never been a N/W/S/E direction giver or follower. I’m strictly a L/R & landmarks sort of girl, which doesn’t help when the neighborhoods & landmarks change. I still have to stop and think about N/W/S/E. And I’m not even that bad about it compared to other natives I know. Like a couple of my friends who several years ago got on the freeway and headed towards the wrong Vancouver, not realizing their error until 2 hours into their drive.

    Also, #19 is the best item on this list and anyone who tries to argue differently should really expand their coffee horizons. And yes, I go out of my way to stop for my Stumptown latte on the way to work. It is so worth it!

  4. You are such a great friend! Also – happy for you that one of your besties from California finally joined you! I remember when my roommate from before I was married moved here with her hubby – it made me SO happy. 🙂

  5. I lived in Seattle for eight years and I still got Pike and Pine mixed up. I miss Fred Meyer and I lived in Ballard 4 years before I moved to Cali. Right across the street from the Locks. It was awesome. They used to have this little wine and cheese shop called Grapes and they made the best grilled cheese sandwich. I guess it’s not there anymore, but when I came to visit a couple of years ago, Ballard got even cooler. Yeah, the Seattle Freeze. It’s true that it’s hard to get to know people who are originally from Seattle. Nice, but kind of distant.

  6. So! I totally just found out that a dear bloggy friend of mine is coming to visit/potentially moving to Seattle soon and very soon and I’m TOTALLY going to point her here because she was just! asking me about insider tips.


    Also: I can’t wait! to meet Supple.

  7. Pssst. Long’s no longer exists. They are now all CVS.

    And I’ve always thought that saying “the” in front of a highway number was a SoCal thing because none of my peeps in the East Bay do that.


    Freddies is a PNW staple.

    I miss Long’s! omg. SO much.

    Welcome to the PNW Supple.

    You’re gonna be just fine.

  9. Welcome, Supple!!

    I am a transplant too, but I’ve been here almost 8 years, so I feel like a local now. One thing I’d add to Sizzle’s AWESOME list is:

    You may think by looking at a map of Seattle that you can walk from ‘hood to ‘hood. They look close, but there are always bodies of water or major highways to cross and, most importantly, the DAMN HILLS to climb.

    I moved here from Boston where I walked 24/7 and I tried to do that here. Major fail.

  10. Do Seattlites develop the Seattle Freeze, or do we move here with it? I definitely have it. I suck. Maybe no one likes to go out because it is such a pain in the ass to park. And really who would want to go out in the suburbs, where it is easy to park. Yuk.

    Did you explain the whole don’t look desperate for friend thing… weren’t you the one who found that article in the Seattle Magazine about Seattlites making friends?

    And… you have to tell her what to call The Market. I know someone who calls it Pike’s and it BUGS THE SHIT OUT OF ME.

  11. Oh excellent call on the “the 5” vs. “I5” thing. Biggest out of town giveaway. Every time I see a show set in Seattle and they call it The I5, I freak out. “Do your RESEARCH BUDDY!!” 🙂

    19 years I lived there. 3 years gone up here in Canada and not a day goes by where I am not planning my return.

  12. Sizz…you are one of the main reasons I moved up here…well Angelica and the job as well.
    I can’ thank you enough for the welcome, the survivor kit and the confidence.
    Miracles do happen!

  13. Wonderful news for you– and wonderful Welcome for your friend!:-)

    I hope having her near is as happy as you expect it to be. It may take her a year to really adapt to the change, being a diehard from a certain geographic area. My mom complained for awhile that things weren’t like she was used to, here, for longer than THAT. Finally, she made the switch and decided things were actually better here, in some ways! heh. Looking back, I suppose we complained about things too… and having friends in place here made it so much better for us. You will be the silver lining, for Supple. No doubt.

  14. There is nothing better than having a BFF move close by. My BFF lived in Boston for seven years (I’m in central CA). I was so excited when she moved back, I hopped on a plane and made the drive back with her. We did it in 4.5 days with her driving a moving truck and me driving her car (Smokey and the Bandit style). There were a few mishaps during the trip, but in hind sight, it was a blast and we have some really good stories. 🙂

  15. yes! I am kerri anne’s aforementioned bloggy friend. I read this post right away (and forwarded to my friend who literally just moved there) but am just now commenting. this is awesomely helpful 🙂

  16. kapgar- Fred Meyer is a local chain of stores where you can get everything and anything. Full grocery store, plus clothing, furniture, auto, plants, toys, electronics etc etc. Basically everything you need in one place. Yay!

    I love your guide to Seattle Sizzle! Such a nice friend!

    PS. Some Liquor stores now open on Sundays! Like the one on 12th!

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