B+V do Seattle

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Seattle is amazing! Seriously. It’s everything I didn’t know a city could be. It’s beautiful and friendly and interesting and I feel like we totally fit in. It’s weird to say after living in Chicago for so long, but I don’t think we ever quite found our niche there. Seattle is our place.

The people might not look or act exactly like us, but it’s easy to see that we’re cut from the same cloth. Everyone looks out for one another without a second thought. If you see someone with heavy bags, you offer to carry one no matter who they are. If someone is struggling to cross the street when the light is about to change, the drivers patiently wait while another person slows down to finish crossing with them. I have seen more kind actions by total strangers in the past four days than I have in the past year in Chicago. It warms my heart and reminds me that good does exist and there is something in this world that is worth fighting to protect.

The hills are no joke. Someone told us that hills are like taking off band aids. In Seattle, the hills are like a slow rip that hurts for awhile. San Francisco hills are like that fast rip that hurts but is over before you know it. After four days, we’re inclined to agree. There’s not much of Seattle that’s flat, and the hills are absolutely everywhere. I keep looking down at my legs expecting them to be Olympic quality toned, but so far it hasn’t happened. I’m still waiting.

It rains, but not really, and definitely not all the time. Rain here is more of a spitting mist that usually happens when you’re least expecting it. You don’t need an umbrella, you probably don’t need rain boots, and a hood is optional. It’s actually kind of refreshing when it rains, and the smells and colors and rainbows that come afterwards make it totally worth it. Even when it’s overcast, the clouds are thin and the day is still bright. Ask me if I still love this weather in a year though.Β img_7441There is mold, and moss, and succulents, and mushrooms everywhere. I guess this is what comes with living in a perennially wet place, and we’re still getting used to it. We’re a little freaked out about the mold in our apartment (probably not a big deal), but we’re also starting to realize that it’s pretty common. I’ve gone through almost 16 oz of bleach just in the bathroom. Turns out our grout isn’t supposed to be black! Also apparently asbestos is harmless if you don’t bother it. We don’t plan on bothering it.img_7455The temperature in February is similar to Chicago in April. It’s around 50 degrees, way chillier in the morning than the afternoon, and a little damp. I’ve always thought those pack able lightweight down jackets are stupid because where on earth would you ever need just a little bit of down warmth. Seattle, that’s where. Guaranteed whoever invented that lives somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. We’re starting to realize that we buy clothes for the extremes. Sleeveless shirts and short shorts for summer, and uggs and duvet-weight jackets for the winter. Seattle is a city of in-between weather, where layers are actually useful on a daily basis. Sounds like a reason to go shopping if you ask me πŸ™‚

Everyone wears running shoes. I’m not sure if it’s because they’re all super athletic and actually enjoy running up these hills for fun, or if it’s because they’re basically going for a workout every time they walk out the door. Same with workout clothes. Are you all going to yoga every minute of every day? Doubtful. Probably just preparing for that massive sweat that hits halfway up the hill. Personally, I’m pretty excited for a more legitimate reason to wear my yoga pants and Nikes everyday.

Related, everyone is skinny. Pressure’s on for us to get rid of that Midwest winter weight we’ve been packing on.

Seattleites (?) satellites (?) love their dogs, and bring them everywhere. Grocery store, bar, bathroom, you name it. It’s so weird. Lots of golden retrievers too. We went out for a beer on our first night, and there were four freaking dogs laying on the floor. We have confirmed that we have no intention of getting a dog. Maybe a cat if we’re allowed to return it whenever we want. I’m keeping my eye out for that Kickstarter. It should be called Kick the Cat: a temporary cat rental service.

Food is amazing. People say Chicago food is some of the best, but again maybe that refined fancy food just wasn’t our thing. The laid back honestly great food is much more our cup of tea, so we’ve been loving pizza, wood fired bagels, giant biscuits, and the drive-in burger joint down the street. Not to mention the Pho and Ramen. We haven’t tried any yet, but it is absolutely everywhere so I’m sure it won’t be long.

Mountains to the left of me, mountains to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you. Needless to say, we’re sandwiched by mountains (don’t ask me which ones), which is one of THE COOLEST things about Seattle for me so far. In the mornings, you can see them in the distance, glowing bright as the sun reflects off the snowy tips, and it’s so surreal. I cannot wait for our first hike. It’s going to be insane. Brian’s convinced we’re going to need to buy some real hiking boots, but that’s a little too granola for me right now. All in good time, young grasshopper. I need to ease into this lifestyle. Also, I want Birkenstocks first.Β img_7528It seems like everyone here is appreciative of their surroundings and the majority of people are fairly observant. We commented on how few people walk around with their phones out, which is a happy surprise for me since I was terrified that Seattle would be super techy. Our upstairs neighbor feels differently,Β  but we’re learning to take his opinions with a grain of salt. This lack of phone use might also explain why Yelp isn’t very popular here, and Google searches give you very few results for nearby grocery stores. Or breweries. You’re much better off just walking around to find what you need instead of mapping it. It’s odd.img_7473We’ve done a typical amount of walking (tons) around the city this week, which has led to some pretty cool experiences and funny ones too. We’ve both fallen up and down at least 10 hills, and had close calls on all of the uneven sidewalks. I barely avoided getting hit with bird poop, about 5 seconds before a pigeon fell out of the skyΒ  a inch in front of Brian’s face, slammed into the sidewalk, and twitched itself to death in front of our eyes. That was interesting, and apparently not the first time Brian’s narrowly avoided death by falling pigeon. We successfully took the bus/streetcar a few times, and discovered a wonderful way to get around the city without hitting all the hills. Our Airbnb was way further from downtown than we thought, making us much more thankful for our new apartment location that’s only a 30 min walk (downhill) to get downtown. It’s not that much of a stretch to say that all we need is a little push out the driveway and we could coast all the way downhill to work! (In a bike lane the whole way too)img_7496We were able to snag this apartment within 2 hours of landing in Seattle for the first time, thanks to Brian’s insistence and great gut feeling. I wasn’t as convinced at first, but I am so so glad we went with it. It’s definitely a fixer upper (secretly excited about that) and needed some very serious deep cleaning before it was even live able, but it’s perfect for us. The kitchen is the size of our old bathroom, maybe smaller, but we have a bedroom! With a door! And enough room that we’ll both be able to get out of bed on our own sides! It’s the little things.

All of this makes it so incredibly hard for me to head back to Chicago for two weeks, but I’m also looking forward to packing up the apartment and getting all of our furniture into the new place. My mom and sister have already planned their visits for our first month in Seattle, and I cannot wait to show them this city. I know they’ll love it, and understand why we made this decision. Our families have been SO supportive this week, it has completely blown us both away. We are beyond lucky to have such amazing families who want what is best for us and support us no matter how hard it is for them. Knowing that they are okay with all of this has made it so much easier to handle.

Moving to Seattle is probably the very best decision we’ve ever made together. Besides getting engaged. This move has shown me how lucky I am to spend the rest of my life with someone who pushes me to be the best person I can be. I cannot wait to get back to Seattle and start this part of our life together. I’m so happy. So lucky. So incredibly thankful. So excited for what comes next!

Edited halfway through the flight to add that anyone who comes to visit should be warned that this is apparently a turbulent route. It’s a good thing that my one glass of wine was complimentary because it ended up spilled all down my wall and window when we went through one of the rough patches. The flight attendant who served it to me was white knuckling my armrest when the captain ordered all attendants to take the nearest seat. Fly a good airline on this flight, you won’t want to be in a Spirit Airlines tin can.img_7551Our flight to Seattle was slightly less rough, but probably more traumatic for Brian whose seat mate recounted his close calls with plane crashes during the entire takeoff.

higher ups and lower downs

Ever since Brian got the first job offer in Chicago, we’ve been on a roller coaster of emotions, going from being super anxious to relieved and then back again. There are just so many unknowns right now. Even when he finally signed the offer in Seattle, I was relieved that we’d made an actual decision, but terrified of the huge changes that were coming our way. We’re in the process of packing up our lives and our apartment, finding a new home on the other side of the country, and somehow trying do all of this in three short weeks. The worst part is that almost none of it can be done ahead of time. Since I’ll be staying in Chicago for a few weeks while Brian is in Seattle, we can’t pack up the whole apartment yet, and can’t ship it until we have an apartment to ship it to. LOGISTICS SUCK.

We’re both leaving for Seattle tomorrow morning with the hopes of signing a lease and exploring the city a bit. If we could find an apartment by the time I come back to Chicago to start packing, I cannot explain the level of stress that would be lifted off of my shoulders. I’ve had this horrible negative opinion of Seattle ever since we decided to move, and a lot of it has to do with the housing that is available. Our budget isn’t huge and the overall quality of apartments is pretty low compared to what we’ve had in Chicago. Finding a place that we love would go a long way in changing my opinion of the city.

The weather is looking rainy and colder than Chicago, but I suppose we deserve a proper PNW welcome. Plus, thanks to my INSANELY BEAUTIFUL GORGEOUS NEW STUTTERHEIM RAINCOAT FROM MARGARET, I will be perfectly happy on even the wettest days! I love love love it and love her even more for thinking of such a perfect gift for me. It honestly means the world knowing how much love and support we both have from our families. This has been the hardest decision either of us has ever made, and I’m surprised how much a new raincoat has made that decision easier πŸ™‚

Brian wants to do his first post on the blog soon about our move, and I can’t wait to hear about it from his perspective. I’m definitely taking the Debbie Downer award this time around, so I know his post will be a little more positive!

We’ve got this. GO TEAM VERONIBALMDA.

ups and downs

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Despite all of the wonderful things that have happened to Brian and me in the past few months, I have been in a constant state of anxiety, fear, and sadness as I watch our country’s changing fate. It’s impossible to truly feel happy and excited about our new life together, when I know that there are people around me whose lives are changing for the worse every day. I am embarrassed and depressed by the actions that are taking place in the US government, and I’m still in a state of shock that any of this is actually happening. History is massively changing right now, and we’re right in the middle of it. It’s difficult to comprehend.

It’s easy in a time of peace and calm, to talk about how you would react in a situation like this, where human rights are being violated in your very own country on a mass scale. But then it actually happens, and everything you thought you knew about yourself changes. Turns out, I’m not a protester. Do I completely reject every single thing about Trump’s presidency? YES! But I just don’t feel comfortable protesting, it’s just a personal preference. I feel guilty that my own ‘comfort’ is more important to me than protesting, but I know myself and how I treat people every day, and I know that there are better ways for me to show my love and voice my opinion.

We were in 7-11 yesterday, and watched a middle-aged white man treat the Indian cashier horribly, degrading him and being downright rude and disrespectful. I considered saying something to the man, and decided against it to avoid the issue getting any bigger. Once heΒ had left the store, I apologized to the cashier and let him to know that we don’t agree with how he had been treated, and that we were embarrassed that anyone would treat another human so poorly. The cashier shook it off and said that it happens all the time and he’s used to it. I was half a second away from tears the whole time.

Were any of the protesters in 7-11 with their signs that day? No. And I don’t fault them for it. Protesting isn’t my thing, but standing up for my neighbors and fellow citizens of this country is. I am proud and filled with hope that I am surrounded by family and friends who feel the same way that I do, and who will stand up for what is right. I am thankful that there are (a lot of) people who ARE protesters, and that they will continue to gather and fight against our president.

I feel so so so lucky to have Brian in my life today and for the rest of my days. There is nobody who I would rather be with, who I trust more. I hope that we will look back and remember that no matter how dark these days were, they were some of our best.

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