Have you ever traveled somewhere, on vacation or for business that you have never been to before? The longer you stay there and take in the environment, the people, the food, the weather, the music, the place grows on you; it feels oddly familiar. Somehow although surrounded by strangers, this place begins to feel like home.
This is how I feel about Washington. I grew up in Southern California and moved to Washington State to go to college. My college years had their ups and downs, but in those four years I fell in love with the state.
Many people were concerned that a sunny California girl would struggle with the winter darkness at 4pm or the days of rain without end. Instead I thrived on the evergreen hills the rain created, the musty wet earth, the lakes and rivers. A favorite college pastime for me was to follow rain drops as they trickled down the window of a coffee shop, nursing a latte, while contemplating what I had been studying.
My rain boots became a great investment along with my fleece jacket and a growing collection of scarves and hats accompanied by chunky earnings. I learned to recognize the different types of rain: mist, drizzle, light, downpour, and icy and appreciate them all.
I fell in love watching the season change: the rain or snow covered evergreens in winter, the cherry blossoms in spring, the sail boats on the lake in the summer, the bright colors of fall leaves.
The epicenter for many booming businesses made the environment breathe of creativity. The food was inventive, cross cultural, hybrid, “fusion” before that became a thing. Traveling around after college I found the foodie fads I experienced in college were years ahead of reaching the interests of businesses in the rest of the country.
Art and music reached beyond emotions expressing socital concerns. From ironic to fringe to experimental every show, festival, and farmers market had artists and entertainers pushing all forms of social norm boundaries. I learned to appreciate alternative, folk, and indie music, artists who were poets, performers, singers, and musicians all in one.
I recognize these reflections are biased of a specific season in my life. I realize I am not returning to college, or even to the same county or city. But some of those memories, those realities I believe will still hold true, even in a new city and a new place of life. I know I have changed since college and so has Washington. But I am looking forward to re-discovering myself and this state. And and yet this move in some ways, still feels like coming home.
Luke and I are now on a new adventure, traveling across the country to our next home in Centralia Washington. We are excited and nervous about the new roles and responsibilities ahead. We will be without internet for the week of travel, and possibly for a few days after we re-settle. But keep your eyes open for an update on our move before Thanksgiving.