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Why are you so set on moving to Seattle? What is it you like about the place? Why do you feel you won't be happy until you move there?

Enough people have asked me this question lately, I think it's worth an in-depth explanation.

Why the West Coast?
meerkat299 is from northern CA and has never felt at home out here
Both of us like being near ocean and Real Mountains
Cities are newer and better designed
More environmentally conscious (in general)

Why Seattle in particular?
I think I would have trouble dealing with the drought conditions of northern CA
ezzie00 and alegria_a are there
we both really like the feel of the city (more on that below)
climate is mild and consistent - none of this dithering winter/summer crap.
evergreens! that means no allergies!
homeschooling- and libertarian-friendly
close to Canada in case something goes (more) horribly wrong with this country

So what is it about Seattle?
We visited there in August with Seattle already high on our list of prospective places to end up. But even without that pre-formed bias, I just loved the city. I spent a week walking around downtown trying to pin down what it was. Some of the factors were the geographical/climate type features I mentioned above - but the most remarkable was the unavoidable conviction that the people there are there because they want to be; they're doing what they want to do; in a much higher proportion than you will find in most places.

shoebox_bird mentioned at the time that the city felt to her a lot like Pittsburgh - to me it felt a lot like a revved-up Santa Cruz or a newer San Francisco. It does have a lot of the nicer features of Pittsburgh - eclectic architecture scattered over many eras; three-dimensional; the climate averages out to be similar (Pittsburgh just has a *much* larger standard deviation). And like northern CA, it's liberal (in the non-political sense) and easygoing, but you have the overlying intense focus of people seeking and achieving their life's work.

There seems to be a big independent arts/music scene; there are parks and national forests everywhere, and two other large cities within a reasonable drive. Lots of large independent bookstores. The roads aren't in magnificent shape but at least the layout is designed pretty well.

Why do you feel you won't be happy until you move there?
We do know that where you live does not solve all your problems, and we aren't expecting it to. But just as having a messy house drains on you day after day and makes it more difficult to enjoy the things that are good, so does living in a geographical environment that doesn't suit you. I imagine living in a place where I look outside and see green mountains every day - where the air is cool and moist, and my sinuses don't constantly fight to stay functional. I imagine living in a place where I don't wake up with itchy eyes and throat half the year, where I don't go through a box of kleenex a week. I imagine having my immune system not be constantly off-balance because it never knows what temperature it's going to be tomorrow. These things will make a significant difference in my quality of life.

Also, I am a control freak in some (ok, most) regards. Even if I liked it okay here, everything in me rebels against staying because it's the path of least resistance. I want to *choose* my environment, and if I stayed here or moved back to Pittsburgh, I would never be sure that it wasn't simply because it was the straightforward, easy path.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 23rd, 2002 10:38 am (UTC)
When do you think you'll be moving?
Apr. 23rd, 2002 10:50 am (UTC)
we are shooting for early fall, but it depends on many factors, primarily our job situations and wyndam.
Apr. 23rd, 2002 11:29 am (UTC)

sigh, i was going to answer this, but i ended up with quite the rant, and it hardly seems fair. The devils advocate in me forces me to expose the reality of some of the comments above, and doesn't spend a lot of time on the mountains, music scene, or the not-quite-gentrified parts of the city.
I'll put my other post on my own journal, and not take up space here.
Apr. 23rd, 2002 11:55 am (UTC)
Joy and I would love to have you guys move out here, but in all fairness I wanted to warn you of one thing. Moss. It's everywhere here, so if you have any allergies to moss, molds, mildew, or some types of tree pollen, you will still have allergies here. I occasionally suffer allergies, but it is usually the effect of the cats, not of the weather. And as long as you keep your yard neat, you should have no trouble. :)

Seattle is good, Seattle is fun, everyone wants to move to Seattle, don't you?
Apr. 23rd, 2002 12:29 pm (UTC)
while I am somewhat allergic to mold/mildew, etc., it's nowhere near as bad as my allergies to deciduous tree pollen. so my 'no allergies!' should be qualified to 'less of the things I'm most allergic to'.
Apr. 23rd, 2002 12:38 pm (UTC)
Makes sense. My main reason for never leaving the N.Midwest and/or NE area is the fact that I *like* the weather and the scenery here. (Where here = not in the city, but I'm going to fix that RealSoonNowTM.) I need rolling hills, creeks, trees alternating with farm-fields, (preferably cornfields, but that's negotiable) and climate changes, even if the climate changes can give my sinuses fits. And I couldn't live on the coast -- too weird. Just walking around Revere makes me touchy sometimes.
Apr. 23rd, 2002 01:58 pm (UTC)
The big problem I'd have with Seattle is the many months of constant gray and drizzle from late fall through early spring. Two years in Eugene and the gray was already starting to suck my soul; Seattle is worse in that respect. Spend a week or two there in January before you decide on anything.

What are these Northern Californian "drought conditions" you're referring to? It's not exactly a dry place. While there's occasionally water rationing in the summers, perhaps once every five years, that's because Southern California steals the North's water, not because the North doesn't have enough for itself.

(Yes, I'm biased, I wish you wanted to move to Northern California...)
Apr. 23rd, 2002 02:21 pm (UTC)
I'm going from the stories Jarrett has told me - there are cycles of n years where it's ok, n years of drought, and it's coming up on time for another drought (I think n is ~5-8, I'm not sure). and it's the water rationing I don't think I could deal with. I like my long showers :(
Apr. 23rd, 2002 03:43 pm (UTC)
Yes, California has a climate cycle of around 30 years. For most of the eighties, California was in a pretty large drought, and as Alanj mentioned, Northern CA was sending most of it's water to Los Angeles. Based on the 30 year cycle, the 2010s will also be hard on CA as far as water goes, especially since California's population will be about 15% greater for the next drought.

By the end of the last drought ~12 years ago, much of the most populus areas of N. CA. were on Mandatory Rationing of water (all water shut off for non-compliance). In the worst areas, it was rationed down to 50 gallons/day for every household. This may seem like a lot to some of you, but showers use about 3-5 gallons every minute. Therefore, in a house with 4 people. Each person can average no more than 3 minutes for a shower, which leaves them with about 2 gallons for cooking and flushing toilets (which average 1 gallon per flush if they are water savers). In the mean time, Los Angeles was on "recommended" rationing. I am not bitter....really.

As far as the greyness from late Fall through early Spring, the evergreens make this much more barable. This greyness affects the whole western coastline, north of central CA. I spent 18 years in Northern California, and then spent 4 years in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh was much worse because the only about 3% of the trees there are evergreen so that everything was grey: sky, roads, roofs, and trees.
Apr. 23rd, 2002 04:32 pm (UTC)
Well, OK. My personal experience is that I don't recall ever experiencing pain as a result of water rationing, even in the worst drought summers, and my family was not especially frugal with water or quick in the shower. Maybe we were conserving more than I realized, and I didn't notice because I was a kid, but I wasn't all *that* young in the late 80's. We were a three-person family, so I guess that might have helped some.

As for greyness, I lived in and near Santa Rosa until I was 18 and didn't find the winter weather disturbing. (As you mention, the evergreens helped.) I lived in Eugene for two years and the greyness seemed far more unrelenting and intolerable. The constant drizzle didn't help. My impression was that the grey season lasted longer and was less often interrupted by occasional nice days.

Again, perhaps I'm misremembering. It'd be interesting to look for statistics on average cloud cover, etc.
Apr. 23rd, 2002 02:42 pm (UTC)
There's two major differences between Seattle's "grey season" and that of Pittsburgh. In Seattle, in spite of long grey times, there is sun at least once a week (this has held true since I moved here last May). Pittsburgh, no go - it can be cloudy for a month, and refuse to rain/snow/sleet or anything else. Also, Seattle isn't called the Emerald City for nothing - there's so much green stuff here during the winter that it isn't nearly as depressing as Pittsburgh, where not only is the sky grey but so are the trees, the grass, etc. :)

move to Seattle, hk, move to Seattle....
Apr. 23rd, 2002 01:59 pm (UTC)
And when it comes to climate and mountains and evergreens... I hear ya. I really do. I don't have allergies, but I still can't stay here too much longer.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


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