As a new migrant to this booming metropolis, I arrive with a healthy dose of wide-eyed wonder for every new Seattle discovery.
Whether it’s learning that there’s much more to Pike Place Market than dudes tossing fish, or being cautioned ad nauseam about the natives’ much-publicized “Seattle Freeze” reserve, I’m eager to take in every aspect of Seattle living.
Simultaneously, there are scores of others who also come here with childlike wonder for all things Seattle. Our experiences and perceptions will help shape what Seattle becomes, so I’d like to start a dialogue with new and recently arrived Seattleites about our rapidly expanding city.
Many, like me, hope to find an apartment or house in a part of Seattle with an idyllic blend of urban vitality and residential tranquillity. Add fundamental livability needs such as parking, commuting, school quality and proximity to a grocery store, and the search quickly becomes a mammoth undertaking.
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Downtown certainly has the energy anyone would want from a city, but traffic is mind-numbing, the homeless panhandling is a scandal, and the fragrant pockets of eau de toilet would make a New York sewer rat gag.
Capitol Hill might be the most ballyhooed hood in town, but the area’s ubiquitous hipster attitude can be insufferable, and even if you can endure it, finding street parking is next to impossible.
Living further out requires commuting, and that means unappetizing gridlock or navigating the dearth of expeditious public transit options.
Granted, these are first-world problems for a city on the make. They wouldn’t exist if living here wasn’t so appealing. But if these growing-pain problems aren’t addressed with intelligent forethought, they’ll eventually conspire to make Seattle a place people want to escape from, not to.
Many longtime residents have learned to live with the slew of Seattle complications. But those of us who just got here and will continue streaming in over the coming years will wonder why we should accept these aggravations.
That constructive curiosity should be our core contribution to Seattle’s evolution.
So I’d like other new arrivals to share their wondrous discoveries and disastrous ordeals since coming here. Post a quick comment online to keep the conversation going, or share more detailed anecdotes with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ll periodically write about them in hopes of helping new inhabitants transition, and giving natives a sense of how the town is perceived.
Robert J. Vickers