My family moved four times in search of better opportunities during my elementary and high school years. So by the time we were hauling everything we owned to Seattle, I was used to it. I’d watch land and sea roll beneath me during the long plane rides, and wonder when I’d be able to call a place home for good.Each place we visited — whether for vacation, or to live — had its unique vibe and energy, and I always felt so fully immersed in a city’s culture and crowd. New York’s sleepless streets and San Francisco’s rolling hills were nothing like each other. Yet with all the places I visited, as immersed as I’d become, I never felt completely integrated. (This was true even in West Reading, the small Pennsylvanian town where we lived for five years). Shuffling from one city to another, I felt like an eternal tourist.
It wasn’t until I was walking around Seattle’s Pike Place Market, pastry in hand, that I truly began to appreciate my new home. I’d been here nearly four years at that point — long enough to adjust — and all feelings of alienation had slowly vanished. What had happened? Was it the quiet row of coffee shops lined up on the hill facing the bay nearby? Or was it the silent, snowy mountains sitting in the distance? Regardless, I somehow knew that this was the city for me, and suddenly I felt at peace with where I was. I finally belonged.
The concrete under the soles of my shoes felt more solid than it ever had before, and an optimistic feeling rose within me. This city, where urban life sits so intimately close to nature, was mine to explore. Where the mountains, the forests, and buildings converge — this is my home.