To this day, one of my favorite TV shows of all time is Dark Angel. I could spend hours discussing the adventures of Max Guevara and her transgenic friends trying to escape the clutches of the evil Manticore. Call me a nerd, I’m ok with that. The imagery of Jessica Alba sitting on a ramshackle Space Needle taught me at least one thing: someday I had to get to Seattle. As I grew to love the characters and the incredibly absurd plot lines, I also grew to love the city in which it was set. Seattle became my paragon of urban life, my favorite city in the world. And a city I had never been to.
Every so often, the universe would shout at me, reminding me that Seattle was there, looming in the distance, waiting. The skyline peeking out of a magazine ad. Misheard lyrics of popular songs. And of course, the Grey-Sloan Memorial hospital, previously know as Seattle Grace. These glimpses fed my daydreams, guiding me closer to the day I would explore this magical place.
Sixteen years later, I finally made it.
Anticipation mounted as my train sped towards its destination. What if I hated the place? I didn’t think that was possible, but in general I hate cities. I hate almost everything about city life. There are too many people, too much noise. Everyone is always in a rush. No one is friendly. There was literally no good reason I should like Seattle, except for the fact that I should love Seattle. It’s my happy place. For me, Seattle represents adulthood and stability – a future where I belong someplace. But all of that could shatter when I disembarked at King Street Station.
Spoiler: it didn’t.
There are few better ways to explore a city than to walk around aimlessly. There are also distinct advantages to shamelessly taking advantage of every single possible tourist attraction. These were my strategies for my first trip to Seattle. The Space Needle was first on my list, closely followed by whatever else I happened to stumble into. I ate delicious crumpets in Pike’s Place Market. I walked up to Kerry Park. I walked up and down, around and around. I turned down streets that I thought were interesting, and ended up in Occidental Square eating food truck food. I didn’t make it onto a Ferry Boat, but there is always time for that. I even went to see the new Star Wars movie for the first time. It was a pretty spectacular trip. How can you not like a city that prizes a wall covered with used chewing gum?
Since my initial trip I’ve been back to Seattle twice. The first was for a job interview. The second was to find an apartment. Not to bury the lead but in the next few weeks I’ll be starting a job at a great organization called VillageReach – and I literally could not be more excited. I will be fulfilling my dream of becoming a resident of Seattle.
Or at least I hope I will. The apartment thing is harder than it sounds. In fact, today I will be back in Seattle to continue my hunt for a place to live. I’m sure I’ll find something. But, the at least pieces are falling together.
Not that every second of my time in Seattle has been rosy-colored. I left my ID at home during my first trip, so I didn’t get to explore the local breweries (and felt a bit like a con artist when I had to check into my hostel). I also lost my car somewhere on one of the many 55th streets… or was it 55th ave? I somehow ended up in a forest very distraught about the possibility of never finding it again. I did, but only after walking six miles in a circle around my car. I haven’t quite nailed down the street grid.
Moving to Seattle is, in some ways, scarier than any of my other moves. Moving to England involved moving into a dorm room. Moving to Botswana was all facilitated by the United States Government. Moving around northern Virginia or to Portland was a piece of cake – there was familiarity and a back-up plan. Seattle doesn’t have any of those. It’s a brand new city with brand new potential. I have every intention of landing on my feet. How could I not? After all, Seattle has a plan for me.