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.)