Friday, September 25, 2015

Ode to the Emerald City

Fourteen years ago, a young woman in her early 20s packed a moving truck and moved to Seattle. She had no job lined-up on the other end, a minimal cash cushion and zero experience with the area. But she had an aching desire to follow her dreams and to answer the call for adventure. To take a chance only a few she knew had taken of leaving home and going into the unknown. 

Choosing Seattle wasn't by accident. A couple of years before she spent winter break traveling to California with college friends for the Rose bowl and immediately became hooked by the beauty of the west coast. It was the following year, though, when she went to visit friends in Seattle that she knew she had found her new home. A land where sea and mountains met, filled with endless possibilities for adventure. 

And so she traveled from the home she had known for 22 years, leaving behind family and the safety net to start a new life. Many thought she would fail, returning home within a couple of years in order to start a life. Others chastised her for pursuing what seemed both impossible and frivolous. Still she pressed forward and embraced her new life in the Emerald City.

Seattle gets it's nickname of the Emerald City for two reasons. The first being that it is surrounded and filled with greenery. The second being due to the fact that the city stays green throughout winter months, due to the endemic plant life. The beauty is this area is truly unmatched anywhere else in the world and with easy access to both the mountains and the sea, it's an outdoors-minded individuals dream. That first winter in Seattle, I spent more time exploring the local ski areas and hiking trails than I ever had in the midwest and rock-climbing became a regular activity with friends. Like Dorothy, I found myself mystified by this new land. I swore I would never leave

Two-and-a-half weeks ago, Grey and I packed our family into two vehicles and traveled to the airport. Loaded with 2 cats, 2 kids and some carry-on luggage, we boarded a plane to leave this magical place we had called home. As the plane climbed above the city and rounded Mt. Rainer, reflected back on the past 14 years. All the good and the bad that came from this place.

In a weird way, both Grey and I feel like we broke up with Seattle. Both of us came to this place seeking a change and adventure. In fact, we literally arrived a day apart from one another and lived only a couple of miles away from one another before we met. While dating and during the early years of our marriage, we spent a lot of time exploring the outdoors and the city together. It wasn't long before we were claimed by natives as being natives. Seattle was a part of us.

And then things changed. As infertility hit, so did the economic crash. The condo we purchased was in the heart of a region that was seeing a socioeconomic war, which only worsen as tech came into the area. Suddenly, our Emerald City wasn't as green as it once was. The laid-back nature began to disappear and the culture rapidly shifted. Inside of Emerald, people started referring to it as the Crystal City, with glitz and luxury pushing from those immigrating in pushing out the natives. Dear friends left, seeking new homes. And we felt left behind.

There's been a lot of good things that have come from this move. Two weeks ago Grey started his new position, which he is greatly enjoying. Our new apartment is lovely, with a garden on the property that the Beats readily explore and easy access to parks. And I started the dream postdoc that I had all but given up on this week. The spirit of hope and adventure is definitely alive in our house. 

But we're mourning what we left. Because a part of us will always belong to Seattle. The Emerald City is where so much changed. Where, even though we faced the trauma of infertility, Grey and I also forged a relationship that is stronger than ever. Where we learned hard lessons that have taught us who we truly are and that we are stronger than we ever knew. The place where the Beats were born and we closed a chapter in our lives. That despite the bad, the good that is inherent to this place. The beautiful memories we will always have of our time there. 

The rain will forever flow through our veins. 


  1. Very eloquent and lovely. I'm so excited for you as you start this new adventure. Soon you'll have lots of new and wonderful memories of your new home too.

  2. I'm originally from Tacoma and in some ways I long to go back to the Pacific Northwest for all the reasons you cite above. What a wonderful, magical place. I feel similarly to Washington, DC where I was for 14 years prior to landing in North Carolina. So much good happened there and it feels more like home than the Northwest. But it was time to move on. I wish you luck as you settle in to your new home.

  3. Such a big change is bound to bring up some complicated emotions. How wonderful to be on this great new adventure, though.

  4. Although I'll miss having you closer, I am so excited for you and this opportunity you have. It's bound to be bittersweet. But, I have friends over in Boston, so I'll come visit!

  5. What a lovely tribute to your lives so far. Seattle will always be a part of your life. But we all make our destiny (well to some extent) so I'm sure this next phase will have its own deep meaning and eventually, mythology too.

  6. Moving is hard... I've done a lot of it in my life (albeit not in the past 25 years). The thing I've found is that there is good & bad -- things you'll miss and things you won't -- everywhere. It's up to you to make the most of it. And I know you will. :)

  7. Thanks for sharing this story with us. Seattle is also one of my favorite cities, and it is actually the place that I met my husband for the first time. We were poor college students, but that did not keep us from having a good time. Change is difficult, but I know that you will be able to win out.

    Naomi Walters @ Chicora Real Estate


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