Two years ago, on a bright, 80-degree November morning, we sat quietly next to our bedroom door as two men loaded up a truck with all of our possessions headed on a several thousand mile journey across the country. We made a 1 and ½ hour drive on a lonely, straight stretch of highway from Athens to Atlanta, and boarded a plane with one-way tickets to Seattle tucked into our bags.
Somewhere over Lake Washington, after nearly 5 hours of contemplative silence, a woman draped in white silk and pearls — my seat neighbor — diverted her gaze from the window, turned to me, and asked if I was going home or on vacation. I almost tell her that we’re moving, right at that very moment, to go live somewhere down there, but realize that I’m a little too overwhelmed to launch into being The New Girl in Town at that very moment, and reply with a simple, if somewhat dismissive, “Home, I guess.”
I was staring out the window trying desperately to make sense of direction, and where amongst all of the trees, water, houses, buildings, and general confusion that I would actually be living. Home was a place I didn’t even know.
But at least it was a feeling I was somewhat familiar with.
Five years earlier Alex and I were walking down the streets of Oak Harbor, and somehow, though I was technically on vacation, I felt like I had just come back from somewhere to the place that I was from. It was the weirdest, most content feeling I’ve ever had come over me, and I was overwhelmed by a peace and a happiness I had never known before. I knew Alex must have felt the same way when he looked at me as we stood in front of a monkey-puzzle tree and he said, “We need to move to Washington.” After several more happy trips out here over the next few years, and feeling broken-hearted, disappointed, and discouraged with every departure, we made the decision around Christmas of 2011 to move here by the Fall of 2013.
It was October of 2012, on a Friday, seconds after entering the car at the end of a long day at work when Alex got that unexpected phone call offering him a job out west. We had an inkling, but didn’t truly know just how much our lives were changing. We certainly didn’t know what kind of wonderful adventure we had ahead of us.
It’s hard to know what to say about Seattle, even two years after moving here. It is so much to us, this city.
It’s the place that captured our souls when we first laid eyes on it, the place that filled us with wonder, and hope, and washed away all of our uncertainty with it’s ever-present rain. It’s the place that gave us a life we are truly excited to live, the place that elevated us, and made us feel even stronger and more capable than we ever were. It is the place that singlehandedly shifted our definition of “home” from merely a location to lay one’s head to somewhere that makes us feel excited, content, lost in the best way, yet so grounded and safe that we know we can go anywhere and do anything, and still have a place to welcome us with open arms, a place where our hearts feel happy, a place where we belong. This place.
Being in Seattle makes us feel that life is simultaneously challenging and easy, and I don’t know if I can think of a better feeling. Life isn’t perfect for us here by any means – we’re humans, I mean, we’ll always find something to be dissatisfied about – but life sure is very, very happy.
As for Georgia, it was real. For four years, it wasn’t exactly home — but it was a lot like it — and we couldn’t be more thankful for that little town that housed, entertained, fed, and educated us on our way to where we are, to Seattle, the best thing that has happened to us, the place that we are so grateful to call our home.