I was inspired to write this by the lamiki.com post on when do you know you are a local Seattelite. And then I was double inspired by the answer, “when you stop taking pictures of the space needle.” I have lived in Seattle now for 10 years, yet I just took a picture of the space needle a couple weeks ago. Hmmm – dilemma.
I have lived only three places in my lifetime (with the exception of New Mexico for 6 months when I was 5 years old, but let’s just count that as a sabbatical). I lived on Maui for 18 years, in Manhattan for 8 years, and Seattle for 10 now – whoops, just gave away my age. If you went purely on the math, I am still from Maui, and truth to tell that is a big part of who I am.
Here is another way to consider this question: When we travel, for example last summer to Costa Rica, they asked us where we were from and we said, “Seattle” – without hesitation. Yet, when people in Seattle ask me where I am from I have never said, “here.” I usually mention Maui and/or Manhattan. Perhaps I’m scared that the person asking will be one of those rare Seattle “natives,” and I will offend them. The only time I associate myself with naming this town is when people ask the (very Seattle) question, “What neighborhood do you live in?” I proudly say West Seattle – woot!
Perhaps I should let go of my local-phobia. Since moving to Seattle, I have gotten married (to my New York boyfriend), bought a house (now that’s commitment) and birthed my very own true native Seattelite. When confronted with the idea of moving back east, I felt really sad. This moment made me realize that I really do love my town.
Yes, I am in love with Seattle. Sure, I threaten to leave her now and then when we hit a bad stretch of weather, but I don’t really mean it. I love her flowing waterways, her busty peaks, and her verdant green carp.. yikes… getting a little too into that metaphor. I just don’t know how I would live my life without Lincoln and Discovery parks, the farmers markets, the food trucks, the alpine lakes, growing my own food, knowing I could collect
ing my own seafood – I am sure this list could go on for a while, feel free to add more in the comments.
I do toy with the idea of living on Maui again. Who wouldn’t in this weather? I also dream that Tom and I might have a condo in New York when we retire. Yet, this is my home and I have no plans to leave it. We are going to raise Melody in our dream home to be built right here next summer. In the end, the most critical thing keeping me rooted to this spot is the amazing network of friends and colleagues that we have built in the last 10 years. We are part of a vibrant and proud community, and that is what makes us locals. Space-needle-photo-taking locals.