Saturday, January 26, 2013

Day 26: But It Always Rains There!


As a Californian, I have often been told that I am required at some point to move to either Portland or Seattle.  It's what we do.  We invade.  Then we tell other people not to move where we are because we're now a part of the land and don't want anyone else to invade.  It's a bit silly, really.

I have many friends who live in Seattle (and a few in Portland, too) - people who grew up with me in Northern California.  None of them real estate developers, so they don't have much reason to feel guilty for moving elsewhere.  Besides, haven't you heard of the greying of California?  NorCal, at least, suffers from this affliction.

But since I now live in the DC Area, you may be asking yourself why I'm even talking about this.  Well, I have a dear friend in Seattle who wants me to move there.  I have considered this, moving there, for quite a while.  In fact, before I took my brother's offer to move here, I had wanted to check out Seattle and see if it would be a good place for me.  All of my research said it would be.  But having done a cross-country move twice already, I have a bit more hesitation this time, not to mention the logistics looking quite impossible.  Still, it's worth looking into.
And so I have looked at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (a.k.a. Seattle PI), an online newspaper for the Seattle Metro Area, for reasons why I should or should not consider eventually moving there.
Let's start with the pros (condensed version, based on what I actually give a care about):

The population of Seattle is known for being: laid-back, often introverted, intelligent, liberal and gay-friendly.  They are also known for dressing just as they please and allowing jeans just about anywhere.

Seattle offers amazing food and drink: lots of coffee shops (excellent coffee), vegan options, quirky donut shops, excellent sushi, great burgers (at Dick's Drive-In, at least) and ice cream (Molly Moon's), not far from Washington's wine country and home to many a brewery and craft-beer bar.
Seattle's weather is described as always gloomy and rainy, but they also have amazing fall foliage, snowy but rarely harsh winters (and the city shuts down every time they get a decent amount of snow, which I love the idea of because I'm a snow-wuss) and short but mild summers.

If you want to travel outside of Seattle for a weekend, two of your options are going north to Canada or south to Portland.  If you want to go further, there are two international airports in Seattle (SeaTac and King International/a.k.a. Boeing Field).

Seattle also has excellent public transit for the metro area.

Seattle is a great place for people who love mountains, forests and being on the water, not to mention all the green you get from that rain.  It's also known for clean air and beautiful sunsets.

Seattleites think reading is sexy.  Their library is amazing.  It's said to be one of the country's top literary cities.  Why haven't I moved there yet?

And let's not forget that Seattle is known for its music scene and lack of income taxes.

This is all sounding quite perfect for me.  But let's not forget the cons:

The "Seattle Freeze" is what outsiders refer to the way they're treated by Seattleites.  Meaning it's hard to make friends.  However, I already have a lot of friends there...

Evidently Seattle is prone to earthquakes.  But I'm from California, so...

It gets dark earlier in Seattle than California or Virginia.  Okay, that could be depressing...

It rains all the time.  It actually mists, mostly.  I don't mind getting misty, though I may have to get contact lenses again...

Lots of naked people and folks using body paint.  Did I mention I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area?

Rent is not cheap.  But I already have an offer from a friend to share a 3-bedroom house for not much more than I was paying for a 1-bedroom apartment in California.  And I would only be paying half the rent, of course.

Higher price of gas.  Well, Virginia is a bit cheaper, but I am still used to California gas prices.

Infestation of chickens.  Um...that's weird...

You'll have to wait for great pizza.  Where I live, I can't even get good pizza, so I can live with that.

Too many singles, not enough family-services.  That's not actually a con for me.

Green-nazis.  I am not as green/sustainability/etc. knowledgeable as I'd like to be, but I would welcome a chance to learn more and to actually have services available to me to make it easier, which Seattle does.

Narrow freeways + too many cars = lots of traffic.  So, the same as the Bay and DC Areas then?

Longer travel time (flying).  I can't avoid this no matter where I live.  I have family and friends on both coasts, not to mention family in another country.

Severe weather shuts down the city.  I've already been through a hurricane and a heat wave here  (at the same time) that caused a major power outage.  And I hate driving in the snow, though I'm capable of doing it safely.  
So...what to do?

And then there are the cons I just don't care about:

Few or no good barbecue places.  Cold beaches.  Losing sports team. 


  1. "Lots of naked people and folks using body paint. Did I mention I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area?"

    I had a coughing fit from laughing so hard at this one!

    I personally couldn't handle the extra darkness. I actualy notice the few extra minutes from the Bay Area to down here by San Diego.

  2. Oh man, it would be hard to go from sunny San Diego with its nice warm beaches to chilly, wet, dark Seattle. I really have to go check it out and see how I feel about the dark and the ever-present mist. I know people who have lived there for several years and still love it, so I'll just have to figure out how I'd do. I can tell you this much, though...I would NOT miss the hot and humid summers of Virginia!


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