Year One in the PNW

A few years ago I saw this funny skit on Portlandia about how excited the patrons of the city got when the sun finally made itself known after months of gray skies.

I thought it was an exaggeration.

What I’ve learned after one year in the PNW – it was not.

from NightyBirdo

This is now my life.

I went from living in cities with incessant sun to one where it is non-existent for nearly half the year, so I have become that giddy person when I see golden light instead of shades of gray.

Ridiculous.

When people ask if I like it here, I say not really, but that’s not exactly being fair. When we arrived from our out-of-state move, it was pouring rain. Not the best welcome. But the summer was lovely, until the heat wave with no a/c. Having grown up in Las Vegas, I can do 120+ degrees, but air conditioning is everywhere so it’s oddly bearable. *LV native tip: No leather car seats.

I have been almost perpetually cold since we arrived here.

I know it’s something I have to adjust to…because I just wasn’t prepared. I do not have a rain coat or boots, but I do have an umbrella, that has never been opened, because apparently that’s a huge faux pas here.

The lack of outdoor accessibility has led to overweight dogs, and seasonal depression. Another thing I’ve learned is an actual thing.

To counter act these negatives, the people are truly nice here. The air smells clean. Nature will practically walk right up to you. For a little while in the summer, because of the northern placement, the sun stays up until 10pm which is awesome, but as you’ll recall from my note above, it disappears almost entirely during the winter as if to taunt, “I hope you enjoyed that…you’ll see it again next year!”

Washington’s nickname is the Evergreen State. This is accurate. There is an ever present layer of green on everything, and there are so. many. trees.

There is so much to do and see. There’s Mount Rainier (which you can see from all over the state), lavender fields, whale watching, vineyards, TV and movie locations, a cute Bavarian inspired town, tons of hikes and day trips, and water at every turn. There are chocolatiers and breweries, and cool eateries to try.

There’s also history here. Something I appreciate.

Some quirks: Everyone parks in backwards here. I’ve never seen so many “Student Driver” bumper stickers. It is surprisingly expensive to live here. For the entire month of May it appears as if it’s snowing from all the tree fluff in the air. The fog is like scary movie-cut it with a knife-fog. 50 degrees feels warm. For a girl from the desert, huh?! They love their Seahawks. So much so, the fans have their own designated player number, 12. There are always tree clearing crews cutting back foliage to circumvent power outages. I passed three the other day within a mile. And we appreciate it. We once went without power for nearly 15 hours. Not fun. You hear it rains a lot here. You have this unconscious awareness that it rains a lot here. It’s more than you can imagine.

Now we know we need sort of emergency situation essentials, for any season, and for both the car and home. It’s during these unexpected times that you evaluate the necessity of certain items, or even their relevancy, like I didn’t know I’d ever need a battery operated lamp that can also charge my phone. Hm.

We resigned our lease for another year, and plan on making the most of the sights to discover what makes this place so endearing. We’ve made it though the first year, and have a better understanding of what to expect, so crossing our fingers that year two will be a more enjoyable journey.

Have you ever moved where you thought you knew what to expect, but also discovered it was not what you were prepared for? I’d love to know I’m not alone in this surprising discovery.

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