Some impressions stay with you forever. I've been to the Pacific North West once. I wasn't even a teenager yet but a lot of the trip has stuck with me. I remember the ferry rides and the complete devastation around Mount St. Helens. I remember the rain and dreariness, but also the amazing views when everything finally cleared up.

After we decided it was time to move, it was time to decide where to. We wanted to find the right balance between alien and familiar. We thought about the Bay Area, Boulder, or even making the huge leap to New Zealand or Europe. In the end, Seattle seemed to have the right mix and we flew out to make sure.

The Space Needle, Key Arena, our future apartment, and the Olympic Mountains as viewed from my cousin's roof

Our flight to Seattle was beset with mechanical difficulties. It was three extra hours on an already long trip, but we eventually made it to visit our friends in Kirkland, the Davis's. They made the same move a few years prior, so it was a great opportunity to get the inside scoop on what we were potentially facing.

Another Atlantaian now in Seattle is my cousin Mona, with whom we stayed with during this trip. They live in a skyscraper in Belltown with the guest bedroom facing northeast over Lake Union.

The view that sold Seattle: Mt. Baker painted pink in the dawn sunlight

Mira is an early riser by default and an even earlier riser when on East Coast time on the West Coast. We were awake well before sunrise, hanging out and looking over the city. We watched the sun come up over the snow-capped Cascades and the hues of pink and purple. While watching this, Mira looked at me and said "I'm going to miss my friends, but I'm excited. This is so pretty."

Mission accomplished!

With the most important stakeholder bought in, much of the rest of the trip went in finding housing with a little bit of sightseeing squeezed in between. The clouds had already closed in on Mt. Ranier by the time we reached the Seattle mainstay of Kerry Park. We had to to settle for amazing views of Magnolia, the Puget Sound, and the Olympic mountain range.

Mona, Varun, Sonali, and Mira in Marshall Park in Queen Anne

The obligatory picture in front of Pike's market

Of course no visit to Seattle is complete without a visit to Pike's market. One thing I had missed when I came to Seattle last was the gum wall. There were plenty of young children that thought it was really cool. I'm happy that mine found it revolting.

Not a fan of the gum wall

Much happier on the pig

Prior to this trip Sonali was convinced that if we were going to move, she'd love to live on Bainbridge Island. We took the ferry over, looked out over the amazing sights, and she was more convinced.

On the ferry to Bainbridge

Then we drove around the island and decided that while the prospect of rural living was somewhat appealing we couldn't see it for ourselves in the near future.

With Seattle a definite thing, we quickly settled on an apartment and returned to Atlanta to prepare for our big move.