First Impressions

I cannot believe I’ve been here for a full week! After a few days of moving my life into my apartment, I immersed myself in the city of Seattle, as I have detailed in previous posts. Running with the active early risers, drinking coffee among the cafe dwellers, biking with the Burke-Gilman lovers, relaxing in the local parks… I’ve really enjoyed my time here so far.

After a week of being here, I have a few observations about the place that I’d like to share.

  1. Biking here is hard. I mean, really, really HARD. I thought I was at least in decent shape before I moved here, being a pretty dedicated runner for the past few years, but there was one key factor I had previously overlooked: hills. This entire city is covered in pretty significant hills, which make biking (and running) a bit more strenuous of an activity than it was in Ohio. I have never felt so out of shape as when I was slowly pedaling up a hill, gasping for breath, while others whiz by me hauling up hills like Tour De France champions. Granted, they were probably also struggling a little and weren’t actually “whizzing by,” but that’s how it felt to me.
  2. The Runner’s Wave isn’t really a thing out here. You know, the one where you acknowledge another runner’s existence with a quick wave. The non-verbal exchange where you say “I see you out there doing your thing. Keep on keeping on, brother/sister!” while continuing your own run. Well, any interaction here extremely non-verbal, in that it doesn’t really exist. Occasionally, I will pass another runner who will smile or give me a nod, but I suspect generally they run by and wonder why this blonde midwestern chick is smiling at them like a fool. At this point it’s important to note that I feel as though people can tell I’m from the midwest–perhaps they can smell it on me, like the smell of farmland and corn and high school football or something. It’s not that runners are unfriendly here, but they are not overly friendly. It’s as though they acknowledge the others’ hustle without feeling the need to interrupt it. Which I respect, but I certainly need to adjust to that. Now, I’m probably looking for an overly-friendly runner because I’m in desperate need of running buddies, so I’m sure once I find those I’ll be better.
  3. People here are pretty great, actually. They’re not as unfriendly as people say–I’ve read about accounts of the “Seattle Freeze,” which means that locals are generally cold to other folks. Now, I’ve found that this isn’t true–people here have been warm and friendly for the most part so far, even when I admit I’m not from here (which, as I said above, I’m sure they could tell from a mile away). That brings me to my next point, which people have told me about other western cities before: that most people are not actually from here. In fact, I met a woman from Northeast Ohio just the other day, and we talked like old pals about our hometowns. She welcomed me to the city, told me I made a wise choice, and then told me I could contact her at any time if I had any questions. Of course, I would–if only I could remember her name. Silly me.
  4. Seattleites do not feel temperature. Ok, so this might be a complete lie, but I feel like I’m missing something with the way people are dressed. Today, I went on a run in a sports bra and shorts–it was 70+ degrees, of course– and yet I passed a woman in full tights and a long sleeved shirt. This woman must have been overheating, as I was dressed for a much warmer temperature and yet I was sweating. But she was just carrying on as if nothing phased her. After passing her, I noticed another woman biking to work or to do some shopping or other leisurely activity wearing long pants and a sweater, again looking completely relaxed. Even last week on a colder day (mind you, it was still 55-60 degrees), some people on the streets were wearing light down jackets. Considering I was not wearing a coat and was feeling just fine, I was a little puzzled by this. Still haven’t reached any real conclusions on this, so I’ll have to investigate this further.

I’m certain, as in the case with any first impressions, that some of these will change as time goes on and I become more acquainted with this city. I will, of course, add to this list in new posts as new observations candidly arise.

x. M

P.S. This post was sadly without a picture, so I’ll include this nice one I took yesterday at Lake Washington.

DSC01474

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