A 3 day weekend not chalked full of plans was the perfect opportunity to take a critical look at my blog (once again). But before I even had a chance to decide what direction to take this baby of mine into 2016, I noticed the date.
6 months, almost to the day, we moved to Washington and into our new home.
Woah. That shakes me up quite a bit. I lived in Alaska for just over 2 years. I have already been in Washington 1/4 of the time I spent in Alaska. It does not feel like that in the least. I vividly remember the moment we crossed the border from Canada into Washington. We were shrieking and laughing with excitement driving through farm land because we’d picked a border crossing in Central Washington, miles from I-5. I was texting everyone we knew with, “HEY – we’re alive!”. I stared at the mountains to our left and the hilly farmland to my right with intrigue. What would our home look like?!
Then we hit interstate 5 at Bellingham. We were in stop and go traffic for about 2-3 hours. We were exhausted from driving for four days straight through Canada. We were flustered to have to deal with brake lights and rush hour. I stared at Seattle as we passed by in amazement, but we had a million things to figure out in the next week so I knew visiting the city was out of the question. We had not been prepared for the infinite amount of people.
Living in Washington has basically been like that for the past 6 months.
I lived in Minneapolis for college. I understand urban environments. I adored Minneapolis. Western Washington is like taking Minneapolis and pumping it full of crack and spreading everyone out over a big area but the traffic doesn’t get better and the amount of people per square mile isn’t reduced.
Don’t get me wrong – I love Washington. I really do. I love the amount of things there are to do here. I love how picturesque and beautiful it is no matter what season; from the mountains to the ocean to the forests in between. I love the weather. I mean it’s currently mid-January and almost 50 degrees with a light drizzling rain?! I love our little town nestled away from the major cities but within a very short drive to all of them.
But after 6 months, I can see its flaws too. My husband tried to explain this to me before we moved. I remember the conversations very clearly. “Everywhere on earth has positives and negatives. There is no perfect place.”
Damn. I think he was right this time.
Western Washington’s population does drive me a bit crazy. The roads are always busy. The grocery stores are always busy. The ski resorts are always busy. Even the hiking trails are busy. Everywhere is always busy.
People are also very West Coast. I was told by a coworker my second week of work that he could tell I was from the Midwest by how often I smiled at people. Yes, by how often I smiled. People aren’t outwardly rude, but they all seem very apathetic. Why smile at strangers? Why lend a hand to someone who just dropped a few things? etc.
All in all – 6 months in Western Washington has taught me A LOT. The good and some of the not so good. It’s taught me that I took for granted how peaceful Alaska was. It’s taught me that as I age, I enjoy my time away from people (Oh God – I’m my parents). But most importantly I’ve learned no matter where we go or choose to settle*, every place has its triumphs and its drawbacks. The key is not to dwell on the latter.
After I just spent a blog post dwelling. Do as I say, not as I do…
Well, I’m off to hit up the grocery store while the Seahawks game is still on! This is my new strategy to avoid people. I’ll report back and let you know how it goes.
“And it never failed that during the dry years the people forgot about the rich years, and during the wet years they lost all memory of the dry years. It was always that way.”
― John Steinbeck
*Unless we move to Bora Bora or an island country outside the hurricane belt without snakes