Seattle First Impressions

It’s taken me longer than it should have to post an update on the Great Seattle Move of August 2014. Honestly, I can hardly believe I’m here. And have been here, for almost a month now. It’s been a crazy whirlwind of a month: getting our bearings, apartment hunting and finally nesting in our new place (I liked that last bit best).

It’s been really stressful at times, wonderful at others, and only now am I able to sit down and take stock of my new situation. So here goes:

I Will Never Not Hate Apartment Hunting

Maybe that is less of a Seattle observation than a personal one, but it has never been more apparent.

Before we even bought our plane tickets, I knew that apartment hunting was going to be the worst part of moving. Sayulita pretty much pounded that into my head , and although we had the advantage of more time, no language barrier and a much larger selection here in Seattle, it was still an incredibly stressful experience.

It was made worse by an apartment that fell through at the very last minute, leaving us to start our search from scratch nearly two weeks in. Luckily a chance Craigslist ad, a last minute apartment visit and a split-second decision landed us in an even better situation: a condo for rent by owner, just a couple blocks away from the first apartment, with more light, more space and a cheaper price tag. Hooray!

Capitol Hill is Awesome

We looked at a few different neighborhoods around central Seattle, but I’m so happy we landed in Capitol Hill. Sure it’s a bit loud, and some of the residents are a bit strange, but it’s never boring. It’s the hip, urban center of Seattle, home of Dan Savage, grunge music and more. There are so many bars and restaurants that I just don’t know how we’ll ever try them all (of course we have to try them all, I’m a completist). There is a brilliant Sunday farmer’s market, a place down the street that sells 32-oz of horchata for $2 and you can walk to Pike’s Place in like 20-minutes. I will be a happy, busy girl here.

Owning Things is Still Really Weird

We live here?!

Last month I shared my ambivalence about furnishing an apartment, and that still holds true. As Mike and I sat in our freshly-painted, totally empty apartment, it was clear we needed to do some serious shopping to make the place liveable. Lucky for us, the landlord threw in a comfy couch and bed, but we still needed desks, plates, towels, a blender, a dresser, the list just went on and on.

The shopping bit was fun, and I still get an electric shot of joy every time I walk into my new, well-stocked kitchen, but I still can’t get over the feeling that we live in a very homey AirBNB. I think it may take a few months to convince my brain that we are in fast, at home.

People in Seattle are Crazy Nice

In fairness, she has to be nice to me, she is my best friend

Maybe it’s my inherently business-like East Coast nature, but I can’t get over how warm and friendly everyone is here. From the checker at the supermarket to the lady at the gym, everyone is just super, super nice.

Of course there is still the infamous Seattle Freeze to contend with (is it a myth? I hope so). Luckily we have quite a few friends in the area already and we are open to making more.

Nature is a Big Deal

Most big cities that I have lived in in the past have been somewhat divorced from their natural surroundings. Seattle isn’t like that. In fact, it’s nickname as The Emerald City makes so much sense, with leafy trees and parks everywhere, the sound, several enormous lakes, and mountains rising up in the distance. Soon, I’m told, there will be water pouring from the sky as well, but at this point it’s been about 95% delightfully sunny days.

It’s not surprising that hiking, camping and kayaking are all popular here, and people flock out of the city into the wilderness on the weekends. While I’m not much of a camper myself, I can certainly appreciate the incredibly natural beauty that surrounds the city.

The Food is Whoa

Heirloom Tomato Benedict from Portage Bay Cafe

Not a surprise really, and one of my main motivations for wanting to move here. The food in Seattle is fantastic. A ton of variety, with a strong international representation (particularly Japanese, Vietnamese and Korean… still looking for good Chinese) and an emphasis on fresh, seasonal, local ingredients. I’ve only dipped my toe in and I couldn’t be happier.

Seattle is Basically Exactly What I Expected

So many times I have moved abroad without any real idea of what I was getting myself into. This time things are different, and I had a pretty good idea of what life in Seattle would look like. It has definitely lived up to my expectations. It’s cool, it’s fun, it’s beautiful and it’s full of opportunity. Basically, I think we’re really going to like it here.

25 thoughts on “Seattle First Impressions”

  1. I can’t wait to check out Seattle in a few weeks. It’s one of the places I have a feeling I’ll really love and want to move to, so I’ll have to get your thoughts on calling it home after you’ve been there a little longer! (This is the first I’m hearing of this Seattle Freeze thing — I really hope its a myth!)

  2. When I saw the picture of the food, I wanted to move too.
    Seattle looks like such a nice place!
    Looking forward to more blogposts about the city.

  3. I can relate to the apartment hunting and furnishing of said apartment. After 7 years living in London and Vancouver and 18 months of travelling, we just moved into a 2 bedroom apartment in Sydney that we had to completely furnish. Very stressful but we managed to get everything off gumtree and got some really nice pieces too. It still feels weird having our own space with our own furniture (In London and Vancouver we lived in furnished apartments) but I am loving it! We even just put our spare room on AirBnB ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Welcome to the West Coast :). I hope you’ll like Seattle. I can relate to your move as we moved to Canada 6 years ago and our friends had rented an apartment for us – completely empty… And yes, nature is a big thing in this part of the US and it is so beautiful ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Ooooh, I am facing the same thing myself…will probably have to move back to Canada after 2+ years living abroad. I am not looking forward to the apartment hunt either.

    I didn’t know there was a name for the ‘Seattle Freeze’, and I hope it doesn’t happen to you – but it’s definitely a real thing in her sister city to the north (Vancouver, Canada). I had such a hard time with it when I moved there. It two me two YEARS to get a good group of friends in Vancouver. It only took me a couple weeks to meet solid new friends in other cities in Canada.

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