Toto, we’re not in Washington anymore. That particular shade of emerald has been replaced by varying degrees of gold, brown and dark green; the sky is a different hue of blue, more subtle, more reflective of gold than the emerald of the north. There is smog. I forgot that most major cities have smog.
Everything feels so industrial, so spread out, so dependent on cars to get anywhere, both more diverse and more segregated. The cultural pockets of almost every nation are larger here, solidly sprouted, growing. Seattle feels lacking in diversity by comparison. I’m enjoying the change, the lowered cars, the Latino, African-American and Muslim culture at every turn. Makes me feel like part of something, like my local sphere of awareness has just been shot exponentially outwards. In that sense I am realizing what stepping out of Seattle will accomplish. This is my goal, isn’t it? To see the world. To become a member of international society and gain perspective on my own life. Oh, right, and to save up enough money to pay off my student loan debts and give myself a leg-up financially. To at least be able to say I have ‘savings’, not just checking account back-up.
Money, status, materialism is suddenly a major, daily part of life. It’s no surprise to feel it at full strength here: this is the birthplace of tech, home to Stanford, Berkeley, dot coms, innovation. The expanse of it makes Seattle feel like a little sister by comparison. Put in check over Skype last night, I’m also part of a different social group, spending time in a new financial and cultural sphere. Of course materialism will feel more prominent outside of my generation’s Goodwill-based fashion scene. Want a laugh? Check out this music video of ‘Thrift Shop’ by my favorite Seattle hip-hop artist, Macklemore. http://youtu.be/QK8mJJJvaes. If anyone finds adult-sized batman onesies, email me immediately. I’m a size L.
Living at home again is completely and utterly bizarre. It’s kind of like moving in with an incredibly generous roommate who knows you too well. It’s difficult to maintain independence, emotional and financial, while relying so much on the generosity of others. The internal struggle is immense. It would be so easy to slip back into childhood habits, but it’s more complicated than that now. I left Seattle with such a solid sweat-and-blood foundation of independence and strength under me, and I’m going to need that more than ever in the months ahead. As much as I want to, I can’t seem to let my guard down. A defense mechanism, surely. Letting myself freely rely on others now will just make it harder later when there is only me, myself and I, won’t it? To be clear, I couldn’t accomplish this huge change without the support of my parents. Whether or not they actually believed I would go through with it (let’s face it, they deserve their doubts), once the train started moving they have all jumped on board running. I feel grateful for my life, the opportunities I have. The people I know who love and support me, my families both here and up north. Perhaps that’s why I’m in such a great place to start this adventure: I’m not running from anything. The flight deck has been thoroughly checked and we are ready for launch. Or at least a parent-pillowed controlled leap.