My suspicion was that living in a new city would be 6 months of varying between "this was the best decision ever" and "OMG, what have we done?" punctuated with a panic attack or two.
Thankfully none of that really came to pass, at least not in the extreme sense. We've missed our friends and family back in Atlanta, but we've also reunited with friends and family that also left Atlanta. There have been a few setbacks as well, but mostly of the minor kind. For instance, Nuevo Laredo and Bone Garden Cantina don't really have equivalents out here (arguably more serious than minor), but thankfully the really major stuff like selling the old house and buying a new one worked out.
If there's really been one dominant feeling in the last few months, it's been excitement over the new experiences we've gotten to enjoy.
The music water fountain at Seattle Center
One thing we knew we wanted to experience was living in the middle of a city. That's what we do on vacation but since college every place we've lived has been car centric. We rented an apartment in the Queen Anne neighborhood, not far from Kerry Park. Dozens of restaurants, a couple parks, work, and even Mira's daycare were within walking distance.
Evening stroll along one of the beaches lining the Elliot Bay Trail
Mira's favorite rose in the rose garden
The dog walk got a massive upgrade. One path brought views of the city and port. The other was along the water front. Either way, there were mountains and sea on every walk.
One of my favorite parts was how much mental stress goes away when you don't need the car. Hungry? Put on shoes and walk out the door. Time to go to work? Put on shoes and walk out the door. Playtime? (well you get the idea). It's a different feeling when you mostly use your car to explore.
Which is not to say that the Parikh's are going carless, there's a lot to explore.
Mira eating ice cream in Leavenworth, our local German town
The scenery around Atlanta was more similar than it was different. The geography around Seattle is varied and a short drive can put you in a completely different environment. Leavenworth is a 2.5 hour drive through mountain passes covered in snow until the late spring.
On the pier near Bellingham
Bellingham is a seaside town a little less than two hours north and completely different. Drive the same amount in the other direction and there's a smoldering volcano.
The viewing area for Mt. Saint Helens
While the car can take you to some neat places, you don't really even need one to explore. The bus system can connect you to the ferries which gives you access to all the cute little towns on the other side of the sound.
A Saturday afternoon favorite: taking the ferry to Bainbridge
Just be prepared for a windy ride
The most popular is the ferry to Bainbridge Island. The Island is picturesque by itself but also the gateway to the Olympic Peninsula and the Sailish Sea. Always late, but departing out of the same terminal, is a ferry to the naval town of Bremberton. We had a great time visiting the USS Turner Joy with a volunteer staff that could tell you about almost every detail of the ship and it's history.
On the bow of the USS Tuner Joy
If we're willing to get in the car, there's plenty of great parks just a few minutes away. Discovery Park in Magnolia and Lincoln Park in West Seattle can both make you forget that you're in the middle of a city. There's also the opposite, like the Elliot Bay Trail by the cargo terminals and the Gasworks Park.
The Gasworks Park on the northern end of Lake Union
At the start of summer we moved from Queen Anne into our own house in West Seattle. Unlike so many others with horror stories our housing search went pretty smoothly. We saw one house we really liked, put an offer we thought was fair, and it was accepted. Our neighbors thought it was meant to be though I think they based that assessment based on our ownership of both a Subaru and Volkswagen.
A good chuck of the summer was settling into the the new neighborhood. One major draw for us was that it's a residential neighborhood with reasonably sized single family homes. It is easy for Mira to walk to a friend's house and we can live in a nice-residential feeling neighbhorhood, but still be walking distance to the commercial center.
The other draw was the view of the Olympic Mountains.
Mountains, sunset, and a cold beer: A pretty great way to end a day
For the first time we also own our own backyard. The amount of landscaping is a little daunting and I own my first lawnmower as an adult. Still, it's sufficient to play lawn games in.
We hardly made it to many summer events in the years we lived in Atlanta. Summerfests are fun but they are in the middle of the hottest and muggiest parts of the year. Plus parking is always annoying.
Seattle's summer weather is mild in comparison. Even the 90 degree days here aren't that bad. The tradeoff is a few weeks of smoke and a few months of grey.
Mira enjoying the little tea cup ride at the West Seattle Fest
One weekend there was a festival with fried food, local shops, and rides. The next weekend there was a parade with floats and drill teams, both human and motorcycle. FYI, if you are on a motorcycle drill team, it's Movember every day of the year. Super fun and super easy, just walk down then walk back.
The drill teams were a big hit