Well folks, I made it back to Seattle. It’s been a year since I was here last, and while everything pretty much feels the same, so much of life has happened in the midst of my absence that at first I couldn’t help but feel like a bit of an outsider to it all: all the babies that I know are walking and talking, friends have gotten engaged, buildings have just popped out of nowhere that weren’t there during my last visit (seriously, how did they get it up so fast). One thing that has stayed the same and has gotten progressively worse: traffic.
It was bound to happen; life takes what course it wills itself to take and in being gone for a year, I surely could not expect it to wait for me until I returned.
But I must admit, I find myself self-conscious over the fact that my mannerisms and dress might reveal a small townie-ness that had – unbeknownst to me – somehow become infused into my identity this past year. With every look given by a stranger, thoughts of why are they looking at me? Can they tell that I’m not from here? have run through my head.
Perhaps it is all in my head; I do tend to over-analyze minute details and come to conclusions that may not be the truth of a situation. Who knows, perhaps their fleeting looks are due to my amazing tan which – in December, in the Northwest – is something that can be arguably classified as unusual and awesomely exotic.
I think this whole “outsider” feeling is a result of transitioning from a part of the country that I had gotten so used to during the past year, to remembering that there does exist places ( like Seattle ) that has a Starbucks at every corner, conveniently places Whole Foods, and that there are people who pair super trendy tailored suits with marmot hiking boots (True story: I saw this guy in Seattle with this gettup and was like holy shit, is this a thing? ) This feeling was the same feeling I had when moving to Tucson when I was observant of the fact that many people here wear converses, and like country music, and wear cowboy boots.
It’s interesting to see these differences in not only what is trendy, but also demographically, economically and culturally. Even though we’re all part of the same country, there does exist this difference that shapes how individuals act and dress, as well their values, fears, and ideology. I must admit, I find myself sometimes living in a self absorbed bubble, but find it refreshing when I take the time to see beyond it with an open mind in an effort understand how it all interconnects, or not
But I guess what I was trying to get to with all of this is that at the end of the day, despite that initial feeling of not ‘being from here’, that feeling has gone away as that sense of comfort has kicked in in knowing that I have friends that are 10 minutes away, or just down the street at their moms house (just like in high school). And that there’s an H-mart down street. And a Starbucks that I can walk to at the mall. And that while a lot of things have changed, there’s a lot of things that have stayed the same. So, it’s good to be back, even for just a little bit.