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My split citizenship between Seattle and its suburbs

September 18th, 2004 · 3 Comments

Dave Winer’s arrival in Seattle for the fall has inspired lively dialogue on the strengths and weaknesses of living in the Rainy City or its suburbs, including statements on God’s preferences for either side of Lake Washington. Now who am I to debate divine desires? To quote Kerry quoting Lincoln: I don’t want to claim that God is on our side….I want to pray humbly that we are on God’s side. And so should it be in this spirited contest between the Seattle side and the suburb side….may we be on God’s side of the Lake…;-)

But I will say that from my split citizenship I do not think that God hates either the Eastside or Seattle. I have spent more years living in Bellevue than I have spent living anywhere else: nearly all my childhood except for a few years in the beginning. I watched the horses replaced by houses. But at the same time, I attended school in Seattle for six years. Chief Seattle’s namesake appears on some important documents from my life. I love the suburbs and the city and I think they each have their strengths. Going to school in Seattle but living in Bellevue gave me a bit of a dual identity and a split citizenship. I like them both.

This post of Scott Koon’s and his comments have many great ideas for Dave. So does this post by john. I confess that I haven’t visited many of the places: the Seattle and Bellevue that exist in my mind are often fifteen-year-old memories of what I knew as a child. I’m trying to replace them as I can, for example, by visiting Benaroya Hall on dates with Ted – a wonderful new home for the Seattle Symphony. Hearing Yo-Yo Ma perform there was exquisite. Living in Bainbridge, a ferry ride from downtown, is allowing me to know Seattle in new ways. We’ve enjoyed a couple great restaurants. Many new wonders have come in the years that I was gone from my hometown area. However I think I still prefer to remember Bellevue Square, where I once doled out orange juice drinks to earn a few dimes, as a thinner version of its now bloated self. It is funny to me to see Crossroads mentioned as a good place to go: when I left headed to college, that mall, near my home, wasn’t worth a visit. We would only shop there in desperation, walking in snow storms. Now it has become a Geek Dinner destination. And, of course, I agree with the praises for Bainbridge :-). Living here has shown me new sides of Puget Sound living and new aspects of history, such as the sawmills and the Suquamish, Chief Seattle’s heritage. Perhaps one may ask, which side of Puget Sound is God’s side? 😉

I’m glad that Dave has moved here. I like Seattle and I am happy when those I know come here to enjoy it too. It’s been fun to read his weblog and watch him discover little delights of Seattle life, like the bus system and the art museum. I’m glad he’s having a great time.

The city is always changing. Although Frangos and Frederick and Nelson’s are gone, new treasures such as the library are here. This column by Jerry Large in Thursday’s Seattle Times describes the slightly different Seattle: We’re always making new Seattles for the next generation to get attached to.

I don’t know exactly why it is I am so passionate about Seattle at the moment. Perhaps it is the fact that we might stay here for a while. Soon we will have lived here longer than anywhere else in our marriage. Or maybe it is that right now is the end of September summer, after a season of sun, and I feel blessed to live in such a place. By February, I might be wishing we could move to somewhere southern and warm. Or I think it is that I am happy to be raising my children in the same area where I grew up. When I met and married Ted on the East Coast, I never thought I’d get this Philly boy to move to Seattle with me. But it happened somehow, in a mixture of grace, mystery and opportunity. And I have been happy to be back here, in the rain and green, where I feel at home, although living this time west of the city instead of east.

Of course, if I were a true Washingtonian, I wouldn’t want anyone else to move here. I’d begrudge Dave his new citizenship. As someone said in Scott Koon’s comments, Seattle is a bit xenophobic. After all, according to local legend and animosity, isn’t it the Californians who have ruined this place?! Or maybe just all those people Microsoft has hired in the past twenty years. Yeah sure, technology has trashed this town: stick the blame on the stock options. But I’ve been a Californian myself, and although not microserfs, we are a software family too. We sold the house down south and came up here to buy one: doing the whole deal. I have lived the life that was detestable to any local back in the ’80s. (Back in those days when it was claimed that resumes were rejected for any sign of out of state heritage. When it was joked in a tv commercial that you had to have a Washington drivers license to buy a kind of local potato chip…Times have changed though and it seems that many people we meet have moved here themselves…having a native in the room is rare…) And then I came back here. And claimed my native birthright. And removed our out of state plates…

I’m a Seattle girl. Or maybe I’m a Bellevue girl. Actually right now I’m living on Bainbridge. Still I probably prefer King to Kitsap County and in moments of shopping I’ll often head east on the boat to hit those familiar streets once again, this time in my minivan with my daughters instead of on the Metro bus.

But in any case, no matter my identity, I welcome Dave and hope he enjoys his stay here in the Emerald City, home of a great blogger meetup!

Tags: seattle

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 pops // Sep 18, 2004 at 7:43 am

    Several years ago I met a fella who was a native who at the time was in his early 60’s. He was the antithesis of Seattle’s most famous cultural Luddite, Emmet Watson.

    Everybody remember Emmet?

    Anyway he asked where we were from and then he got start, “Oh you people, you people from California (we came here from San Diego) you come here with your good chefs and finally make our restaurants worth going to and you bring your artsy types who cook up these places downtown that finally make the night life interesting and make you get stop grousing and get out of the house for a change – you make me sick!”

    Again – one of the main points of my personal philospohy is that irony is naturally ocurring and there’s nothing you can do about it.

    After we had a good laugh he said he was really glad some new blood arrived. Things had been getting kinda stale since the big Beoing bust back in the early 70’s.

    He remains the only native who I’ve ever heard say sucha thing. I haven’t seen him in some time. I can only assume the Seattle chapter of the WSU Alumni Association hunted him down and stoned him to death for his views.

  • 2 Julie // Sep 19, 2004 at 12:42 am

    Yes, thank you, pops. I do remember Emmett…
    I like that irony!

  • 3 What the heck is he thinking // Sep 21, 2004 at 9:52 pm

    Best side of Puget sound

    Julie Leung ponders,
    which side of Puget Sound is God’s side?

    In my opinion, there is no competition for the best side of Puget sound. It’s obvious that God favors the Olympic Peninsula. It’s at least the most awe inspiring.

    Me? I’m a trans…