Some-one asked if I was missing working the other day. I can’t remember how I had time for a full-on professional life! I guess at some point I will want to re-engage with it, I did rather like most of it after all, but at the moment it is such a luxury to have time to get to know this city and state. Whilst life here is slowly starting to find a pattern each week still seems full of surprises and new experiences. Here is a quick overview of last week as an example:
Monday – meeting a president:
The 39th President of the USA, Jimmy Carter, decided to pop along to see us on Monday. He is promoting his most recent book A Call to Action, which focusses on the suffering inflicted on women, across the globe including within the USA, by men who justify their behaviour through false interpretations of religious texts. A truly contemporary and topical issue. It was disappointing that the event was limited to a book signing as it would have been wonderful to hear him talk. This was saved for media interviews, which importantly meant more people heard overall I guess. At 89 years delivering a comprehensive book tour is quite an undertaking in itself (his west coast visit being Friday San Francisco, Saturday Los Angeles, Sunday Portland, Monday Seattle) yet many commented on how well President Carter looked. Continue reading
Just over a week ago I planned and led a short walk here, and a few people suggested I should share the details with you all…
I have been having great fun learning about different neighbourhoods through tromping the streets. This has been really helped by following the advice of a hike leader I met through The Mountaineers (an organisation I will focus on another time) who introduced me to Sound Striders. Sound Striders is run through Seattle Parks & Recreation Department by volunteers. There are two groups one focussing on North Seattle the other on the South. They each select a neighbourhood to explore once a week for a number of weeks, meet for coffee at 8am by 8.30 they are out walking – usually around 6 miles – and then back to the same cafe for about 11am ready to get on with the rest of their day. Whilst I don’t match the criteria for taking part (over 55 years) everyone has been very happy to ignore that – and share their stories and top tips about Seattle as well as their routes. One of the group describes the walks as “a cocktail party on legs” there is no alcohol but lots of lovely non-stop mingling and chatting. Continue reading
As you may have already read I am often to be found walking the streets of Seattle. I am finding that it is the kind of city which wears its heart on its sleeve. Whether those streets are filled with around 700,000 Seahawks fans celebrating the winning of the Super Bowl (had to slip that in!) or more quiet expressions of the city’s cultural life, there is always something interesting to come across.
A frequently spotted sight has been ‘Little Free Libraries.’ I had never heard of these before being in Seattle, but when flying here at Christmas there was an article about them in the KLM flight magazine. So I realised it was a movement not just a Seattle ‘quirk’. It turns out they exist in many countries. Todd Bol in Wisconsin built one in 2009, as a tribute to his school teacher and book loving mother and from there has inspired a global community. People passing are encouraged to take, read and replace a book (either the same one or another) in an open hearted desire to keep books flowing and being enjoyed. Continue reading
Lake Washington from Log Boom Park
It sets itself up as a dewy eyed thing, damp and dismal with long grey periods. But whilst chunks of the USA seem to be ‘freezing their butts off’ the PNW (Pacific North West) is having an exceptionally mild and dry winter. It excelled itself last week by including four consecutive days of back to back sunshine and glorious blue skies – topping it off with wonderful sunsets. I’m regularly hearing “it is not usually like this” “don’t expect this every year” “this is the best winter since I moved here” so have been making the most of it. The house hasn’t been cleaned – but I’ve been to new parts of the city and revelled in glorious views.
One of many of the stairways which link homes, trails and parks across the city
I occasionally scan an ex-pat discussion forum, as it was really helpful when searching for immigration processing timescales and paperwork questions. People also talk about what they are missing from the UK – low walkability is a regular complaint. Well, much as with many other of their apparent losses, all we think is – move to Seattle! There are cars queuing on the freeway, but also miles and miles of waterside trails, copious green spaces and some delightful parks. Urban stairways ease access up and down the steep hills across the city. You never feel a lone walker here.