Tuesday, August 31, 2010

We Heart Seattle

We weren't supposed to fall in love with the city. Seattle was intended to serve as a means to an end. To Dominic and I, moving to Seattle was a haphazard response to some post-Peace Corps decision making. We knew we loved one another -- but we knew it in Armenia. How would things work in our own country? Where could we test out the relationship's strength on "neutral ground"?

I'm from Columbus, Ohio. Dominic is from Sacramento, California. We were not about to drag one another to our home turf after two years abroad. We needed to date like real Americans and we didn't want to be overwhelmed.*

For Dominic and I love was inevitable. For Sarah, Dominic and Seattle the love came as a surprise.

I'm nostalgic for the city where the sun really does shine and the neighbors know my name. So, here is a list of the loves I have for Seattle:

The views:
  • From Kerry Park: I would run from my house to Dominic's house while we were still dating, pausing for a minute to admire the early dawn at Kerry Park. I would stand there, feeling totally defeated by the recession, and pray that God would bless me with work in one of the offices that stand in the skyline from this viewpoint. He did.
  • From Pier 66: I didn't have to be leaving on a cruise to admire the view of the Sound (and the city skyline) from this pier. From the top of the stairs it was a perfect place to soak up the sun, admire the water, and peek through the free telescopes.
  • From the top of the Needle: Touristy? Definitely. But this landmark was a visit we saved for our last celebration in the city. From above, we could map out our routes to work, pick out our four-story apartment building, and admire the places that had somehow become perfectly familiar.
  • From the Alaskan Way Viaduct: No matter what your politics on the issue, driving in to downtown from 99-South as the sun sets in the evening is a beautiful scene. I can still remember arriving via the viaduct on my first day in Seattle. I couldn't believe how close I was to the water.

Dress Code
When Dominic began working he was teased and called the "office consultant" for wearing dress pants and a button down shirt with the sleeves rolled up. I ended up standing out in my office as well where jeans and t-shirts were the norm. Although it took some getting used to, Seattle fashion taught us about comfort (i.e. flats, Velcro if possible), function (i.e. Gortex -- it was often wet) and coordination (the more gray/black you wear to match the weather the better).

Salmon, butternut squash ravioli
It's not just the fish and flavors, it's the fact that the food in abundance here is the food I can't get enough of. Picking fresh berries from neighborhood parks, fishing out of the lakes and rivers, growing container gardens of fresh vegetables. What could be better?

The Institutions
  • Dominic and I might not get out a lot, but we built a mighty fine community at Bethany Presbyterian. We fell in love with the strong leadership, opportunities to gather with other Christians, and passionate outreach ministries.
  • I don't want to speak for Dom, but I am certain he loved every minute spent playing basketball on his club team last year. He would come home tired and frustrated but always pining to get back on the court the next week.
  • The Seattle Center: From outdoor plays and big screen movies to concerts, festivals and dance classes, living within walking distance of the Seattle Center was like having a free fairground in our backyard. Without a doubt we'll find plenty to keep us occupied in NY, but this space in Seattle was familiar, local, and a great meeting spot for mid-week lunch dates.
I think I'll skip the people we fell in love with or I might drip tears on my keyboard. To our friends and family in Seattle, we love you. Thank you for everything!

Without a doubt, Dominic and I will be loving New York City in no time. We will build our community, discover our favorite outings, and dine like royalty on the diverse ethnic cuisine of the city. According to Forbes.com, we're moving up from No. 3 to number one in the America's Coolest Cities ranking. Pretty soon you'll hear me singing "I heart NY".

*Interestingly enough, NYC was eliminated from the moving short list. Too expensive...

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