Year One in Seattle

Flying Over Mt. Rainier

What a weird, f*ckin’ year. Today is when I moved to Seattle exactly one year ago for my current job. That seems so long ago and who knew what 2020 was going to bring. I can’t help but laugh sometimes of just how ridiculous it has been. But ya know, 2020 ain’t over yet and we still have the election (2 more days!), so buckle up y’all and go vote if you haven’t yet.

Honestly, my experience in Seattle started out very rough. I struggled. I pretty much moved during winter (Bad idea. The darkness is too real!), moved to a new place with no support system, did not go home for the holidays, and then there’s this little thing called a pandemic that happened and is still happening. So yeah, not ideal. I was lonely, sad, miserable, and questioned my decision of being here day and night.

Before and after pics of my room! (click and drag the slider)

But with time, things started to look up. After throwing myself a pity party and feeling rejuvenated with a new year, I signed up for a membership at a climbing gym. It was a great way to get out of the house and meet people. Then, I began going to events hosted by Climbers of Color and wow, I didn’t know how much I missed being around Asians and other BIPOC folks. Seattle was more white than I expected – like where my BIPOC homies at?! I also reconnected with old friends and began to get to know my housemates more. I went skiing twice over the winter, climbed outside, hiked trails, and even camped in the rain. I was starting to feel like I was getting the hang of living here and even felt happy – until the stay-at-home order happened.

Climbing in a climbing gym
I didn’t end up ‘sending this
People enjoying fried chicken at a park
It was a fried chicken picnic kind of day

Two friends eating ice cream
I love this woman and ice cream
Climber climbing outside
Climbing outside at Vantage, WA
Hugging a tree
I love trees
Two woman on a ski lift
Thank you for teaching me how to ski

Now, I won’t go into details during that time because I think that deserves its own post. But like many people, my mental and emotional health was like a roller-coaster. I would feel fine for a couple days and then go into deep, deep depression, and then back up a bit and up and down, up and down. It became even more unstable after the terrible killing of George Floyd, the injustice and systems that our entire country has benefited off of, and realization we weren’t getting out of this pandemic any time soon with the orange idiot in office.

But again, with time and lots of reflecting, I was feeling a little better – especially as summer was approaching. Everyone kept saying that summer is the best time in the Pacific Northwest and I couldn’t agree more. The weather was BEAUTIFUL! I was so happy to finally have consistent sun (oh how I miss sun) and warmth. You can just feel the city come alive after a dark, rainy winter. I was literally gone every single weekend doing something in the outdoors. I was a whole new woman and summer literally gave me life. More on my adventures in future posts.

As summer has come to a close, it’s been a low key Fall experience for me so far. With the pandemic, there hasn’t been much to do in terms of festivities and events. I’m bummed I missed the window to see the larches this time, but it’s been nice to see the colorful leaves in the city, smell the crisp air, go mushroom foraging, and still hike and climb when the weather allows.

But winter is coming and even though this sounds dramatic, I think I do have a bit of PTSD from my experience last winter. I’ve been trying to learn to embrace it all, so I’m working on it.

Classic space needle picture
Spent my birthday at Smith Rock State Park
Legit pure happiness. I’m all for oyster foraging.

Living here, especially during these weird times, has challenged me in more ways than I could’ve ever imagined – physically, mentally, and emotionally. But it’s also allowed me to experience things that I wouldn’t have been able to if I was living comfortably back home in southern California. I got to kayak in the middle of a city (still so crazy and cool to me), learn to lead climb, backpack in three amazing national parks, see Mt. Rainier more times than I ever thought I would, foraged for mushrooms, oysters, and berries, and make memories with fun, amazing people.

There’s so many beautiful places to see here, plenty of outdoor activities to do, and in general, especially compared to where I grew up, the accessibility to the outdoors is incredible. I still miss my friends and family back home and struggle from time to time, but what I’ve come to truly appreciate is the people that have taken the time to listen, hangout, and be there with me through this experience. So shout out to these wonderful humans – thank you for being a part of my first year in Seattle. Cheers to more memories together!

Your friend,

Vivian

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