A recent conversation with a relative faced me with an interesting question. What do you like most about life in the Pacific Northwest? This post outlines the things a Mid-Atlantic native finds odd, interesting, and noteworthy about life here.
1) Language. For example: I see/hear the words 'car prowl' often. It means car break in. Or, 'prowler' I'll hear. A prowler was spotted in the 900 block of 35th Ave. Weird, eh?
2) Hyper Local. Everyone here recognizes the value of purchasing goods from LOCAL supplies. Whether it be produce, meats, or holiday gifts from local artists. Everyone here gets the 'local' movement.
3) Neighborhood clicks. If a fellow Seattle-lite asks you where you live, you don't say Seattle. You specify the neighborhood "Ballard", "Queene Anne", "West Seattle", "SoDo". There is a distinct sense of community in each neighborhood that is just so weird to me. It is very nice, but weird.
4) While driving over a mountain pass, we kept seeing signs marking "chain up area". What the hell is that? Well, to travel over certain mountain roads during winter months, you are required to have snow chains in your car, and be ready to 'chain up' if conditions require. In Maryland they were illegal, and here they are required by law!
5) Composting is Huge. We have a garbage truck, a recycling truck, and a compost/yard waste truck. Even restaurants and cafes will have a Compost Bin next to the Trash and Recycling receptacles. Some cities even ban the use of plastic bags (like Edmonds). Carry out isn't given in Styrofoam containers, no, instead, in compostable containers.
6) Freedoms. It's funny that living in Maryland I never felt restricted in my freedoms, until I moved here and realized how really controlled by the government life was there. Here, I can purchase beer, wine, (and in February hard liquor) in the grocery stores and other locations (like Costco)! And this state is an open-carry state, so if a resident chooses to openly carry a fire-arm, it is totally legal without any permits required. Note, they are banned from certain areas (bars, government buildings). But how wonderful it is to have a CHOICE. It's funny that I never thought of that as a choice I had to make until moving here.
My absolute favorite thing without a doubt, about living here is the beauty. It is incredibly beautiful to see snow capped mountains even in August. Or seals in the bay. It is truly beautiful. Just driving out of the neighborhood to run an errand we frequently get such amazing views of the Olympics behind the Puget Sound, that we will pull over to admire it.