I left Minnesota after my friends did. First, Rose moved to Berkeley; then, Elliot moved to Philadelphia; finally, Aurora and Noelle moved to Austin. Each time, I said, “I’ll come visit.” Dear reader, my intentions are always good.
I never visited Philadelphia or Austin, and those three moved back to Minnesota after I moved to Seattle. And, I still haven’t visited Rose in Berkeley, despite now living in the same time zone and on the same coast.
Certainly, a large part of my non-travels has been lack of funds. Yet, I’ve had a handful of my favorite people visit me here, and I’ve been here less than a year.
I enjoy living alone. I’m an introvert, one of those “gets her energy from being quiet” types. When I live alone, no one moves my favorite coffee cup or leaves their clothes on the floor. When I clean, I’m only responsible for my own, particular mess. I get to eat all the leftover pizza and the salted caramel gelato and the tahini sauce.
But, I’ve loved having visitors these last several months. I’ve amassed to-do lists for people that stay with me who’ve never been to Seattle: the cider bar, Theo Chocolate, the canal, Market Spice at Pike Place. I’m not tired of doing them over and over again yet. It seems each person I introduce to Seattle has a different reaction and brings something new that I’m just seeing for the first time, too.
Then, there’s something to be said for just having an extra person in my home. Someone, if they’re so inclined, to take the dog out when it’s raining, to make me eggs and toast when I’m working, to help me scout out and clean up dog vomit. This is my glamorous life, people, don’t say I didn’t warn you before you come to visit.
A few nights ago, Stuart and I walked down Fremont in a slow drizzle to get pho for dinner. I sat at one of the small tables in the steamy, dim restaurant, and, suddenly, for no particular reason at all, I felt so glad to be in Seattle, so lucky to be carving out my home here. Sometimes, when I think about my life, my struggles for employment especially, I’m amazed that yes, I did manage to move out of my parents’ house, to go to a different city alone, not once, but several times, and if I needed to, I could do it again. I could start over again, if I had to, but just now it seems enough to be here, to live in this neighborhood with soothing, delicious pho and a good co-op, the smell of pie crust and ice cream cones, waiting to cross the street as the bridge lifts to let the boats through. Certainly, I wish I had a job. Certainly, I feel great loneliness sometimes, mostly for familiar people and familiar things. But familiar is beginning to include walking in the mist up the hill to my apartment, where there are candles to light and hot tea to drink and a place for me to land, no matter what has happened to me in the rest of the world. That seems incredibly, incredibly lucky.
What I’m saying is, you should come visit Seattle. I’ve got cider and walks by the water and a vomit-free apartment, (for now), waiting for you.