I’ve been ruminating a lot about my future lately, and one thing is certain: I’d like to stick around in Seattle. Here’s why:
This is actually a huge deal for me. If you knew me when I lived in Texas, then you would have certainly heard my complaints about the heat. Some people may scoff at the fact that one of the main reasons why I wanted to move away was because of the weather, but I honestly don’t understand how people can stand to live in a place where five months out of the year it’s consistently over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. I don’t hate many things, but I certainly hated that. In Seattle it’s rare for it to reach the high 80s. Most homes don’t have air conditioning because we simply don’t need it. There’s also the fact that I absolutely love cold weather. Wool socks, recycled cashmere arm warmers, and a fake cashmere scarf are among my favorite items of clothing. It’s so much easier to be comfortable and cute on a cold day. Let’s be honest, uncontrollable sweating just isn’t cute. I’ll admit the rain and the gray aren’t a total joy, but I’ll take it over heat any day. Rain just gives me an excuse to stay home and read.
Living in the urbs
I spent the first part of my life growing up in a really small town—perhaps hamlet is the right term—in New York State. After that, our family moved to the northern suburbs of Austin, Texas where owning a car was necessary. Everything was spread out and far away. High school was about a 15-20 minute drive from home and downtown was about 40 minutes. Plus the summer heat made it unbearable to walk even short distances. Now I live in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle where anything I could possibly want is within walking distance: grocery stores and the farmers market, my library branch, many of my friends’ homes, parks, movie theaters and concert venues, dozens of excellent restaurants, and Downtown. Not to mention my job. If I can’t walk, I can probably bike or walk to a bus that can get me where I need to go. To be more concise, I have a Walk Score of 97.
Not owning a car
A perk of residing in Capitol Hill is that I’ve lived in Seattle for nearly four years without a car. I’m actually rarely in a car for that matter. Not only is it healthier for the environment, but for me also. Biking, walking, and occasional bussing are my main modes of getting around the city. Not owning a car also saves me a great amount of money and worry. No insurance, gas, and maintenance, nor worrying about my car getting broken into or endlessly looking for a parking spot. Walking and riding is healthy and stress-free.
In relation to a flat, plain place like Central Texas, Seattle is saturated with natural beauty. Evergreens, lakes, and mountains are all around. Ask my friends; I still gasp and remark every time I see the Cascades and Olympics. Although I don’t like the bustling of downtown, it’s easy to find respite in one of dozens of parks and spend an afternoon laying in the sun and reading a book.
The Seattle Public Library system holds a special place in my heart. It seems too good to be true that I get free access to books, DVDs, and CDs from a giant city-wide collection, plus museum passes, author readings, and other events. As someone who doesn’t make much money and loves reading and watching movies, the library is a huge part of my life. I love the libraries so much, a friend and I are biking to all 27 SPL branches. Not only are they amazing resources for our community, but also beautiful buildings.
All cities have their faults, and Seattle is no exception. However, there are many things I love about the culture of Seattle. People here love the outdoors; Hiking, biking, camping, and skiing are normal activities. There are community gardens and p-patches—even traffic circles have trees and flowers. Every neighborhood has a farmers market. Small, independent businesses flourish. There are tons of free festivals and events in the summer. We recycle and compost.