Friday, October 06, 2006

228. first impressions of Seattle

So I'm finally settled in my new place in Seattle. It's a cool little place. My room is a bit smaller than what I'm used to but with some creative choices from IKEA, I'll make it work.

It's strange waking up here. Apart from the fact that I'm still sleeping on the floor (haven't made my final IKEA decisions yet), the thought that the place is HOME for me hasn't quite sunk in yet. Of course I've only slept there one night so far, so I suppose it's no surprise that things still feel new and unfamiliar, but I've been in the mainland for a week now and the idea that I'm not going to be going back to Hawaii (for at least a couple years) hasn't sunk in yet.

It's just too soon to tell, but overall I'm still very much in excited-to-be-here mode.

I've also unofficially taken this first week to not worry about finding work. I'm going to try and soak up what I can of the city without a car. I actually have enough in the bank to buy the car outright, but because I opened up the account with such a large check (from money I cashed out from utilities stock that my parents were putting away for me), they're not going to clear it for a couple weeks.

First impressions of living here:

1. It's BIG.

I don't mean that the city is big, I mean just being on the mainland itself makes me feel like I'm in a place where the roads never end. It's a trip (no pun) to see freeway signs that point the way to cities a whole state (or country) away, like Portland or Vancouver B.C. And to know that one could hit the road and end up in New York or Miami or even (conceptually) the southern tip of South America is pretty amazing.

I can't wait to get my car so I can go exploring. Not that I'm planning a trip to Peru, but I would like to strike out and see more of the state (time and financing providing).

2. Moving out on one's own is expensive.

Big lesson learned first day shopping for necessities: blankets are freaking expensive! And what the hell is the difference between a comforter and a blanket? How can you tell which blankets will keep you warm and which will leave your feet shivering?

It's amazing to see how much small stuff you need to make life work and how quickly all the minutia adds up. I mean I expected to pay a bunch for furniture but I didn't expect to see how quickly little things like waste baskets, towels, laundry bin, shower curtain, etc. can put a dent in your budget.

And speaking of shower curtains, did you know that shower curtains DO NOT come with the little hooks you need to hang them up? What's up with that? I got home from our first big supply shopping trip and was looking forward to a warm shower when I made this discovery. DOH! (Oh and there's a matte side and a smooth side to the curtain...does it matter which side faces in towards the shower?)

3. The divide between the powerful, the hip (the powerfully hip?) and everyone else seems a lot wider here.

In Hawaii, maybe it's because of the laid back attitude when it comes to wardrobe and attitude, it's sometimes difficult to tell the power players from the wannabes. 'Round Seattle, people exude raw power and confidence like it's perfume or cologne. I mean it's not done in an obvious way, but there's just something about the way some people carry themselves here - you just know they're in command of some heavy responsibilities and that they're compensated handsomely for it.

Likewise, the "in" crowd is unmistakable. They're down and they know it. You can just tell by the way they use their walk (and that paint can they're carrying) they're planning an incredibly hip night in impossibly hip (and secret) places with flawlessly hip people. And you're not invited.

These two factors can be a bit intimidating until I remember that I'm not here to start a career. I'm here in pursuit of a dream (global musical domination) so the powerful and the hip do not scare me. They're somewhat irrelevant because they're a means to an end. Not that I'm discounting their need for love and for Jesus, but keeping that in mind helps me to not be afraid of this new place.

4. I love IKEA.

I'm not saying IKEA is the end all and be all of furniture (I hear their stuff doesn't last), but for a person on a tight budget, their stuff looks a helluva lot nicer than 2 x 10s and cinder blocks.

One item that I'm particularly excited about is a TROMSO twin loft bed set with accessory table and shelf unit. Basically it's a bunk bed, but instead of a bottom bed, there's a desk underneath. Unfortunately, I guess the bed was designed for a room with higher ceilings than what I'm living in because the estimated space between the top of the mattress and the ceiling is a mere 20". Getting in to sleep isn't going to be fun but if submariners can do it. . .

"But you're not a submariner."

Hey, worst case scenario, I can get a hacksaw and cut two or three inches off the legs. In any case, I think the benefits far outweigh the costs. I don't think there's any other way to fit a bed and a desk in the room and both are necessities for me so if I need to mimic a Chinese contortionist to get into bed, so be it.

"But you're neither Chinese nor a contortionist."


Yeah, so the other thing that surprised me about the store is that basically everything is on sale. You know how in most furniture stores there's art on the walls and little sculpture things on the tables to give the display a homey feel? Well at IKEA, all the window dressing is for sale. Just about every item in the room displays has a little price tag attached to it - everything from the rug to the lighting to the bookends to the little cup holding pens and pencils (which are probably also on sale).

Lastly, there's an IKEA cafeteria-style restaurant inside the store and the food there is really good. I had the herb crusted salmon while Marty and Jen shared a plate of Swedish meatballs. We sampled each other's dishes and rave reviews abounded.

5. Marty and Jennifer are hella-cool roomates.

Mega kudos to them for finding the place. It's in West Seattle which, from what I've seen of it, is a relatively nice neighborhood. There are some areas that look a bit shady (and I'm not referring to the tree cover), but overall I feel safe walking or jogging around the area. The place itself is a lot nicer that I thought. It's a new development and we're the first ones to reside in the unit so everything is brand new.

Jen is a great cook and Marty is a great driver (until I get my own car). This is my first time living with roommates but so far it's been smooth sailing.

"You're not just saying this because they read your blog?"

Nope, I really mean it.

"They're not going to lower your rent you know."

I still mean it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey, I know this is kind of weird, but would you like to meet up sometime for dinner or Sunday lunch in Chinatown? I just read you are a Christian also, and I'd be glad to introduce you to our city! You can find out about me on my blog. I am busy most days, but could meet for lunch on Sunday afternoon (with my wife and baby). I also have a friend who lives on First Hill and makes ukeleles in his apartment ... you guys should meet.