I moved from the Greater NY Area to the Greater Seattle Area exactly two years after I moved from the Greater Los Angeles Area to the Greater NY Area. It left my nerves frayed.
First of all, I’ve never had so much stuff. Thankfully, my move was being taken care of, so I could ship as much as I wanted. However, a friend who’d just moved the same way said it took him six weeks to get his stuff. So began the mad scramble of ‘what goes in baggage, what gets shipped’. There was this endless cycle of weighing, packing, weighing, unpacking. That was a fun few days.
And finally there were six large men in my apartment packing my stuff into boxes. So the moving company had made a mistake with my address. So there they were driving around trying to see what they got wrong, my name or my address. They google my name and come across the blogpost on moving, and decide okay, we got the name right. And find me on FAcebook. They narrate to me this saga, and say ‘So there we were, on 22nd and 21st, we totally knew what you looked like, so we’re trying to find someone around there who looks like you’. Good humored, friendly people, but man was I shocked at how much people are able to glean off of a single search.
The actual flying to the Northwest was a wee bit trickier. The snowstorm had grounded all flights. JFK was a madhouse. You did not want to be behind the desk at the international terminal just then. Amid the sea of blonde, sharply dressed women and fast-talking Wall Street types yelling at the agents, there I was, diminutive with huge baggage, and I shed many tears and begged the kind lady to put me on the first flight out.
She did. One of the few advantages of being quick to tears.
It turns out Minnesota has a really swell international airport. It is definitely much nicer than the one at Los Angeles. Though, for the first time, I came across Chinese being served with a side of mayo and mustard and no hot sauce.
I’ve been exhausted with my packed days that I’m taking my time setting my place up. It certainly is complicated by how much paper has been used to pack my stuff into boxes, and it kills me to have to throw all of that away.
That said, it is insane the amount of space there is for one person in these new apartment blocks that dot Seattle. I have nearly twice the space I had in Astoria. There’s even a patio, not just a fire escape. I even have my own washer and dryer, which is great because for the first time in ten years (apart from when I lived at home for a year) that I can do my laundry in non-communal facilities.
There’s shelving and so much closet space, I really don’t know what to do with so much. I’m pretty sure though that before this week is done, I’ll find stuff to put in it.
Of course, you must never compare any city to New York City because that is always, always an unfair comparison. I’m yet to find stuff to do around here, but that’s mainly because my evenings have been spent at home, eating and sleeping and exercising. However, finding stuff to do is much harder than in NY. Everything I usually do costs a little extra, and improv clubs usually are open only close to the weekend, during which time I have other stuff to do and other people to meet anyway.So, no, I haven’t yet checked out the Seattle improv scene.
That said, there isn’t anything outside that ‘draws’ you the way Broadway in Astoria did, or like how the action around the Columbia campus draws you if you live in Morningside. Going out here is an effort, one that is worth putting in.
I was always annoyed by the people outside my window in Astoria, especially when I was sick. My window faced the street, and it was quite a happening street too, thanks to the shawarma guy at the end of the street. So there’d be a steady stream of people standing outside the apartment, talking on their phones, sheltering from the rain or snow, sharing a smoke, kids playing… and it used to scare me enough to sleep with a hammer under my pillow. I later got used to it, and yelled at some of the noisier folk and those who annoyed me on Saturday mornings.
Now however I miss the noise. It added an extra sense of the world to me. Now there’s only silence. No Vasily cooing to his Kyriaki. No yelling at Nino to come home and do his homework. No Ms. Bruno scrambling up the stairs on her crutches. No Jose cussing the landlord in Spanglish. Stuff feels less real. It feels very Kamal Haasan in Pushpak.
People dress a lot more subdued here. A scarf and beret and wool coat and nice boots, which would have been underdressed for NY looks like overkill here. Oh well, need to go shopping for weatherproof, snappy, no-nonsense jackets.
The sun rises at 8am here, if at all. It’s been rainy on and off. Seattle lives up to its reputation. The topography of Seattle makes it such that I who walked four miles on NY streets without batting an eyelid am tired from the mile walk to downtown. There’s too many ups and downs. I joke that with this I can tell my grandchildren of going to work at the crack of dawn, walking uphill both ways.
But heck, my walk to work involves watching seaplanes taking off and landing, and a host of mallards stirring and preening, and swans foraging, so I’m not exactly complaining.
It’s not even been four weeks here, and I, who doesn’t follow American football, is sucked into saying ‘Go Hawks!’. Not a bad start, eh?