The fascination of living in the big city - Seattle, Washington.
What's It Really Like Here?When I was dreaming about the big move from Arkansas to the techie metropolis of Seattle, I searched the internet for anything that would give me a taste of what to expect. I found a lot to look forward to! Since my arrival in August 2000, becoming a Seattleite has been an excellent adventure.
First impression was that this city is really huge. The city is very stretched out so it just seems to go on forever. Having traveled a lot in my life, I knew that some things would always be the same. Still, I have experienced many firsts here.
I had to adjust to a big cultural change from the South. Before, I had considered life in Arkansas to be quite casual. Now, it seems very formal in some way, perhaps as a reflection of the conservative atmosphere. There's not much conservative about the Emerald City.
Seattelites seem to be more liberal and have open-minded attitudes. Folks care about others and do things for those less fortunate. There is a feeling of community that, from my experience, is exceptional for this city-size.
The cost of living is considerably higher. The monthly amount required to live high on the hog in Fort Smith - and this includes cable tv with all the channels, broadband internet, eating out 3-4 times per week, and driving a gas hog of a vehicle all around the county - would barely pay for an apartment in my neighborhood.
Food Prices and Selection
Washington prides itself on its chicken industry, although deep down I believe they don't touch Tyson. Despite the huge chicken industry, chicken tends to be just as expensive as beef. Back home, beef was at least 2-3 times more expensive. I cannot find a can of regular Ranch Beans, and you wouldn't believe what they charge for potted meat!
Caffeine For Blood and Other Stereotypes
There really is a coffeeshop on every corner. They are not all Starbucks, but I've never seen an area you had to walk more than two blocks to get a cup of coffee. Other things you can count on seeing:
Realities of Daily Life
Imagining a bustling city that never slept, I looked forward to finding all kinds of entertainment and distractions available 24 hours a day. However, I did not anticipate the traffic that would accompany such constant goings-on.
Entertainment and Enlightenment
The cultural opportunities in Seattle seem endless. There are many museums and historical sites to see. This is a major stop on concert tours with big name bands. So many theaters are listed for this region, there are always plays, musicals and shows to be seen.
I have seen Broadway shows, comedians, and concerts. These were big firsts for me. I also began attending Mariners games. I never knew how much I would love seeing Major League baseball games!
Newspapers in the Area
There are not only two major newspapers here, there are also several smaller publications that present alternative stories and event announcements. These include:
Should You Move to Seattle?
If you want to move here to get rich, meet celebrities, or live the glamorous life of grunge, please allow me to persuade you to rethink those thoughts.
You Won't Get Rich Quicker
Remember the dot-com bust? We are still recovering from that, in addition to the shipyard strikes and the large amounts of people who get laid off from huge companies. We seem to be recovering economically slower than the rest of the country. However, we have a huge number of entrepreneurs combined with a massive amount of creative energy everywhere, and we still have the highest number of millionaire-level donors to nonprofits than anywhere else.
We Politely Ignore Celebrities
Perhaps you have heard reports or seen articles about celebrities in this area. Perhaps celebrities have visited here. Maybe Drew Barrymore has been rumored to party here. Perhaps celebrities live here. Perhaps people like to shop here. Perhaps they come specifically for a bowl of Ivar's Clam Chowder. I just don't see paparazzi milling about... so there must not be any celebrities here. Unless they want to be noticed. Otherwise, everyone falls under the title of welcome tourist.
Grunge was just one of the alternative lifestyles that began here and fascinated the nation. Not many people carry on that torch, though. I have found that most people have had some level of involvement with it but it was in the past. They've moved on. The interesting thing to me is the sheer volume of alternative lifestyles represented here. Grunge will always be represented, as will punk, as Goths and Hippies and every other subculture seem to be. The subconscious community attitude sesm to be that what we do sets the trends. We're just working on the next one.
What makes Seattle a good choice.
Surpring numbers of people migrate to the Pacific Northwest each year. People come with their attitudes and expectations, but if you stay, this place seems to change you. I sense Seattle is developing a feeling of welcoming refugees. If you face daily acts of oppression; if you are from a place that is struggling to keep up with modern attitudes, knowledge or technology; or if you feel hunger pangs for more freedom, Seattle may be a good choice for you.
Globally Diverse Population
Lots of people immigrate to this area from every continent. I've rarely seen a place where so many languages are spoken. That people seek escape from oppression does not mean life will be perfect, but at least you have a fighting chance. One of our challenges is meeting the needs of the newly transplanted people. However, Seattleites are polite, hospitable and caring folk who keep trying to improve.
Continual Forward Movement
I've heard this city called progressive. To me, that's like saying the Pacific Ocean is a good-size puddle. Lots of things are changing in our world, a number of which seem to originate from here. For the most people, folks here embrace the changes that come with accepting new ways of thinking. For example, it seems that nearly everyone has a cell phone.
A Touch of wild West Mentality
My interest in this area led me to read about its history. During times of western expansion in our country, the survivors were strong, hardy people (you had to be in those days) yearning for freedom (financial, religious, legal, etc.) and motivated to achieve their goals (Oregon or Bust, do whatever it takes). As settlements grew into towns, the folks retained a polite respect of each other's privacy.
That atmosphere is still here today, celebrated in the neighborhood festivals and reflected in local traditions. Compared to the age of other countries, we're young, newly settled, still exploring new frontiers and this makes us seem a little exciting.
Most people have liked my Southern drawl, saying it is charming. With each year that goes by, though, I believe it fades a little more, allowing me to feel more and more like a Seattleite all the time.
Discover your dreams and dare to live free.
Paisley Press: Seattle Home
created 11 July 2000
2 April 2004copyright 2000-2004 by Paisley Blue