I’m in Seattle right now and the grass is green! That’s why the change in the header and my title. When I moved from South Dakota to Chicago sixteen years ago, I was in for a huge culture shock. Some people couldn’t understand my accent (Oh, ya’knooow!) and I’d have to repeat myself. When I worked at White Hen Pantry, I’d say things like, “Do you want a sack?” and they would say “What? A sock?” “Noooooo, I mean a bag.” “A beg?” “Furgit it!” I didn’t even know that I had to tip a cab driver! I learned very quickly.
Another thing I found weird in Chicago was that people seemed very interested in heritage. I’d get, “where is your family from?” “South Dakota” “No, your ancestors in Europe?” “What? Why?” Of course, Chicago is a little bigger than where I came from – I grew up in a town of a thousand people (Alcester – where everyone already knew everything about you) and went to a college town (Brookings) that was maybe ten thousand. Last I checked, Chicago has around eight million folks.
I can’t wait to encounter more strange things in Seattle. For instance, pedestrians are more important than cars – can you believe it? Whenever I j-walk, cars totally stop and no one honks impatiently. The other day I drove through a crosswalk with pedestrians waiting to cross and I felt guilty! Strange. In Chicago, you have to wait until the road is clear and then run across. Even when the “walk” sign appears.
My dad and I went to Pike Place Market last week and a merchant asked if we were locals or visiting. I said I had just moved. She said she moved to Seattle 30 years ago from Connecticut. She loves it but said that what she found when she met people was that they would be very friendly and exchange numbers. But when it came to getting together with new-found friends they would be too busy to meet up. Others have confirmed that rumor. I’ve met one new friend and she hasn’t blown me off! She moved from Chicago last summer.
I arrived in Seattle about a week ago. Olya left me a message today and said that Chicago was bitter cold, so cold that it hurt. It’s been nice here — mid-50s and sunny which I’ve heard is a bit unusual. I’ve been warned that it will get gray and rainy, but not too cold!
I decided to scoot out of Chicago to see if I want to settle on the West coast. And to avoid another bitter winter! My initial decision was to move everything to Seattle and settle here. But without a job, I felt it might be best to hang out at Larissa’s for a couple months. I’m renting a room in her house and will be looking for freelance web work. This change has been very exciting but I do miss Chicago right now (my family, friends, cats).
I’m very lucky to be able to have this opportunity. Stacy is taking care of my cats and I get to roam if I want! Where should I go? Portland? San Diego? Thailand?
For now, I’ll go to Golden Gardens . . . to take Woody (Larissa’s dog) for a run.