Well, it has been a year since we packed up our lives in Minnesota and moved across the country to Seattle Washington! Washington State and the Pacific Northwest has been such an incredible place to explore, get to know better and call home. It has been a dream for over ten years to live out here and it has been really great to see and experience what that dream is really like. Although it has been in a unique set of parameters as we have also had a baby and have navigated the post pandemic whiplash of getting sick 1,000 times. I feel like we are really still getting to know our new home, planting seeds and feeling grounded. It truly does take time to feel established in a new home.
Our home itself has been such an incredible space for us. We call it the “Frog Haus” as it backs up to a wetland nature preserve and the time of year we moved in the spring the frogs were out croaking the night away. It was the kids’ idea. Plus the house is green! I can’t make this stuff up. We have slowly purchased new furniture and lighting pieces for our new home and it is finally really coming together. I purchased a lot right away and then felt like, “Oh wait, I don’t want to rush this process and regret a purchase.” Slow and steady truly wins the race when it comes to interior design for me. I want our home to be a collection of our life over the years, not just one time and that specific style I was really into then. I know, I know I can always resell or swap it out later on but I would much rather wait to buy the perfect piece or wait until I stumble upon the perfect vintage find then buy some broken in 6 months MDF crap from IKEA. I want my home to be funky, quirky and a collection of our life over the years. With that, our home is coming together but spaces and corners are still unfinished and that is intentional.
Like I said before, we have been postpartum this first year of living in Washington so it has been a lot of just getting settled and grounded in our neighborhood and space. We have done lots of nesting, cooking in our dreamy new kitchen and enjoying our new neighborhood. There is a nature trail in the backyard and a really great neighborhood walk or loop that I have been doing. I have met some neighbors and have a couple of good mom friends I like to go on walks with now which is so incredible! There is nothing quite like getting a random text from your neighbor on a sunny day in Seattle saying, “Hey free for a walk in 15 minutes?”. All winter long!
A transition that I was not as prepared for as moving into a new state was going from city living to suburban life. Living in the suburbs has its pros for sure and I am loving it overall but I do miss the city life sometimes. I miss the fun, vibey and trendy spots. The really good restaurants that are in the city, cute coffee shops and trendy shopping spots. The suburbs are fine, I just wish I had more spots to take Juni for a lunch date or order takeout from. I’ve exhausted all of our options here in our suburb and I am kind of bored with our four spots. Our suburb does have a Costco (organic produce) and PCC (natural food store with organic food options) which is A MUST for me. I can’t live so far out that I don’t have access to fresh organic food.
Something else I was not expecting prior to moving to Washington is everyone’s general disposition for being “anti-social” or to themselves. Locals or Seattlites call it the “Seattle Freeze” and I definitely feel the “Seattle Freeze” from people from Washington or that live here. A lot of the friends that I have made or connections I have made have been from fellow transplants that have moved here from other states. Seattlites really focus on their core group and don’t really let any new people in easily. At one point I’ve even asked to join others in hang outs and have been told “No, you can’t come join us.” Yes, just like Regina George, “You can’t sit with us.” I was at first really taken back like, “who does that?” After thinking about it, it was kind of nice that they were so honest and that people around here have good boundaries. I feel like Minnesotans will say yes and then never text you back and do it to you but not to your face in a passive aggressive way. At least Washington folks are straight up, to the point and honest? HA!
Another thing that really has surprised me about the west coast and Washington’s general vibe is that people here come off as really competitive! At least in my suburb they seem like that. Parents have their 4-5 year olds signed up for a different activities every night and drive them all around the city to the best private schools and enrichment activities. It is quite overwhelming. If you are not on it at 12:00am when registration opens for things you are waitlisted. Piano lessons, soccer classes, swim lessons, tennis, golf, fencing, hockey, gymnastics, coding for kids, mandarin, ASL lessons etc. You name it, they have their kids signed up for it. I’m over here thinking where the heck are all of these kids? The bus stop is packed with kids but the neighborhood is crickets. Can we bring back the 90s childhood vibe where kids were bored and knocking on their neighbors doors to play and were out riding their bikes and throwing balls in the front yard? Those were the good ol days. It also feels very competitive between adults and families too. Where do you work? What car do you drive? Where do you live? Where are you a member? And so on.
The pacific northwest is quite popular and it is BUSY HERE! The airbnbs, camp sites, schools, hikes, parking spots, ferry tickets, traffic, you name it – It is busy and hard to get to. It kind of feels like the PNW and Washington was never designed to support the amount of people that want to be here and they keep building more houses but it just isn’t for this many people.
As I reflect on the last year, something I keep coming back to is that no matter where you live there will be something less ideal, something to complain about or something you want to fix. No matter where you live, dishwashers break… things need repairs and you will always want to improve your home. Everywhere in the world people complain about the weather. “Oh I could never live there, it rains too much.” “Oh I could never live there, it is freezing there! Below zero?” There is always weather to complain about and it really truly is a mindset and perspective. Moving will not solve your problems either. If you think moving into a bigger, better and more luxurious home will solve your problems… you are wrong. Having four toilets to clean is a lot of work. A kitchen island is a beast to wipe down and keep your counters clear. It truly is all perspective.
If you have been dreaming of moving across the country or living somewhere new there is no better time than the present to do it. A year will fly by and you can always move back, you can always move again. But, you can’t get that year back if you have been unhappy where you have been. I see so many people stuck, frozen and limit themselves to what they know or what is comfortable for them. “Well, this is easy and safe” or justifying why they are where they are. If you are convincing yourself daily or trying to sell yourself on your current reality you have the ability to change your life. You truly do. A year ago when we packed up and moved from Minnesota to Washington I was excited, nervous and honestly felt a relief. “Yay, I finally jumped and did it and took the risk.” Remember, nothing in this life is forever.