May 5th marked our one year Seattle-versary. To celebrate (because we love any excuse to celebrate), we took a 30 minute ferry ride to Bainbridge Island for dinner. We had fish and chips at a pub on the water. I love when we do stuff like that. I love that we get to do stuff like that. Growing up in the Midwest, “ferry” and “island” weren’t a part of my vernacular, so the fact that they are now is pretty cool.
I went home last month, where I got to spend a little bit of time with a lot of people. “Seattle is beautiful!” I’d say. I think they were asking me how it was on an emotional level, but I decided to respond with the adjective that I associate most-consistently with Seattle. Seattle IS beautiful…rain or shine. (And guess what? The rain is not so bad. ) There’s never a polar vortex here in the winter, just clouds and rain. Seattle is surrounded by mountains- the Cascades to the east and the Olympics to the west. Mt. Rainier sits 60 miles in the distance, but it doesn’t look like it’s 60 miles away. It looks like it’s a big ole mountain, just out of reach. And that’s just where the beauty begins. It’s the Evergreen State, after all, and it’s lush and green as can be. It’s a place you should see if you haven’t already.
The nature is what brought us here in the first place. Brandon (my boyfriend) likes to climb and hike on mountainous terrain and I like to hike around and look at mountainous terrain. We also love a good city. Seattle has both, so we moved here. We also saw the merits in getting out and being somewhere new and different. There were no jobs or schools calling us out here, just the place itself. We saved our money, loaded up the van, and headed west. How romantic, I know.
Initially, my biggest fear was something happening to our relationship. This would be our first time living together. Those things go bad, you know. Actually, upon moving out here we heard a few stories about people breaking up after moving. That was scary. Turns out that so far, our relationship, now having been tested for a year, has proven pretty true. Things feel solid. I have gotten to know Brandon reeeeeeally well and it turns out, despite the fact that he leaves his coffee grounds in the sink, he’s better than I ever thought he was (which was pretty damn good). He is good to his core and I’m incredibly lucky to have him as a partner. This is the first time in my life I’ve ever felt that I truly had a partner and one I know won’t let me down. I don’t want to go on and on and jinx things here, so I’ll stop there.
A year ago feels recent and distant. I’m able to mark change the most when I look around at our apartment. It’s small and not ideal, but it’s ours. When we moved here, we had a bed. That bed was like our island of living in the first few weeks, as it was the only place to sit or put things. Then one day we got a couch. Then a table…then Brandon did some shelving and so on and so forth. I remember (and probably always should) that I thought that the coffee table really brought the living room together. Something as small as that helped our space feel more like a home. When I think of things that way, I can’t help but think we’ve come a long way.
The struggles have been jobs, money, missing our family/friends and adjusting to a city with no grid and winding, hilly streets with changing names. We have never been in a dire spot, but it has been continual process of trying to find something better- specifically jobs. With six jobs between us in a year (one of which was offered to Brandon, but then they never got back to him about a start date), multiple trips to the doctor (turns out, I have a bunch of food allergies), a bout of pneumonia (me), unethical bosses (him), and a now close and familiar relationship with our GPS, I can say that this year has required a lot of work and a lot of patience.
Also, Seattle is not Chicago and when you’re used to one city, it’s hard to adjust to another. When talking about natural beauty, politics, and access to fresh food, Seattle wins. When it comes to public transit, rental prices, unmatched architecture, access to pizza at all hours of the night, flat, bike-able streets, and the best people in the country, Chicago wins.
Speaking of Chicago people, that is what we miss the most. That is what makes it the hardest. My home foundation is there, and both mine and Brandon’s college and post-college foundations are there. I can’t speak for both of us, but for me, it’s hard to replicate the feeling of my parents’ porch, sitting around my cousins’ kitchen table, or staying up til 5 am with my best friends, talking on a couch in Ravenswood. It’s hard to imagine rebuilding that. In truth, I know that there’s no rebuilding, just starting over.
In the meantime, we intend to embrace this special place. Because it is special.
And y’know, beautiful.