Moss and Seals
The Pacific Northweird has been my home now for nearly six months; three for JD. We’re still new here but have managed to make a few observations about this piney corner of the country.
For starters, here is the most beautiful place I’ve been. While the Filipino white beaches and turquoise water remain splendid and quite incomparable to the misty mood of here, Here gets me. Here is rugged Scottish romance mixed with jungle green and American big-ness. Here the nature is awesome in an actual awe-inspiring way. Here there are seals and eagles and moss and rain. Here there is a heartiness that complements the semi-cold of a moderate winter.
Here is strange. Portland, our friend just down the way, boasts weirdness as its city slogan. In Washington, too, being usual is quite unusual. Maybe it’s the legal weed or the regional caffeine addiction, but here things must be slightly off centered in order to be mainstream accepted. Mostly it’s cool. Sometimes it’s a bit Brooklyn for me; the hipster who doesn’t recognize that she spends just as much time and money on her hair as the Upper Eastside snobs she hates.
Here is a collision course of liberal and conservative. Based off the over simplistic infographics I used for regional research, I assumed the west coast would be a liberal place. I didn’t consider that a small town on the west coast could be more small town than west coast. In my 7,000-person village there is an unsettling mix of Confederate flags flown next to Cascadia ones. The waitress at a local bar cheerfully explained that she’s raising her daughter to be just another “happy hippie in a trailer in the woods”. Meanwhile my school is still battling down swastika graffiti. Parking lots seem split between Make America Great bumper stickers and those for vegans. Freedom Fries are served on one side of the street; kombucha on the other. In many ways it is a town divided. But at least everyone agrees that people from California are ruining the place, especially those who’ve just moved from California.
Here is full of adventure. And not just because we’re new. People here seem to like to do stuff. A two-hour road trip just to see a beach that looks identical to the beach in Sequim is totally justified. JD and are I love road trips. Now that we are off of scooter and back in car, we’re spoiled by the luxury of packing more than what just fits in a back pack. Equipped with too much food and several unnecessary changes of clothes, our weekends are invitation for exploration – Whidbey Island, Cape Flattery, Neah Bay, Lake Crescent, waterfalls and local bands await. There’s magic to this place. The strangely mossy trees are proof.
Here is cozy. We are in my favorite house. This little cottage on the shore is the best home I’ve had, complete with fires in the stove each night and deer visitors each day. Our haunted mansion in Vietnam was functional and certainly convenient. Our Cape Town apartment was a close runner up to here. Our Costa Rican hacienda was a glorified bedroom, but what a view! My New York apartment was full of fun, as long as you avoided the coke dealers in the stairway. But here has the feel of Home I haven’t experienced since I was a kid. This is the perfect house for us.
Here the people are friendly. Yes, I’ve said it before. And sometimes it can be annoying – like when you just want to quickly pop into the shop for block of cheese but the cashier insists on a fat chat about the Seahawks (they love the Seahawks). JD’s accent ensures we can’t go anywhere without comment, conversation and congratulations on his foreignness. But mostly it’s lovely. Beyond friendly, people are genuinely nice and helpful and we’ve been lucky to make some great friends.
Here is expensive. Sticker shock was inevitable after Vietnam, but here life costs more than in the Midwest. Oh well, we just get on with it and go out less.
Here is still introducing itself and inviting us to get to know him better. By now we know a few shortcuts and have settled on our favorite grocery store, but we’re certainly not local. Here is engaging, interesting and still somewhat elusive.