Sunday, August 13, 2017

Craving Seattle

I was in Seattle recently. While leaving, I had the same feeling of sadness that I have experienced every time, no matter how nearby or faraway I live. The invisible and intangible umbilical cord keeps me tied to this place.

I took some time off during this trip to do what I love doing- reflect while passing some of the familiar streets and neighborhoods that were an integral part of my twenties. A bus ride from Green Lake to Fremont, Dexter Avenue, the troll, all the way to downtown. A walk from the Montlake Bridge to the university avenue. A drive through my previous workplace in Redmond. A trip to the Lincoln Square Mall in Bellevue. I do it every time. Yet, I never tire of it. 

Somehow, in the process of a laborious and complicated rubric cube solving exercise that lasted me seven years, I was able to find my way back, at least somewhat near Seattle. When I had left Seattle seven years ago, I had no idea about where life is taking me. Had someone showed me a crystal ball and told me that in seven years, I would move to the east coast, actually finish the PhD that I did not finish the first time, move to the mid-west, move to Germany, complete two postdocs, and come back, I would have only stared at them in disbelief. Yet, it all happened. And I was able to slowly inch back as close as I could.

Seattle to me is like falling in love with someone and never getting over them. This time, the people I met talked about skyrocketing real estate prices, worsening traffic, racism in the backyard, the rapid expansion of greater Seattle, and other such things. Yet, I am oblivious to these vices. In my time capsule, I am spending my 27th birthday at midnight, climbing the troll and digging its nose for a goofy picture. I am a graduate student absconding from work and spending the day at the Gasworks Park, feeding ice cubes to the ducks and seeing how long it takes before they realize it. I am eagerly waiting for my Husky sticker to arrive so that I can start taking free bus rides again. And I am that poor student who is walking down the halls of the health sciences building, meticulously reading every advertisement to see if there is an experiment I could qualify for and earn a few extra dollars, cheap free goodies, or even a slice of pizza for my time. Sensitive teeth experiments where they alternatively squirt warm and cold water on your teeth and gums, sleep experiments, nutrition experiments where they feed you some liquid everyday for three weeks and monitor your blood sugar, respiratory experiments where you run on a treadmill and they monitor your forced expiratory volume, or ergonomics experiments where they ask you to type on a bunch of different keyboards and ask for your feedback. Someone asking for my feedback used to be novelty back then. That is why I did it all, with full gusto. 

I am insanely happy with where I am right now. Yet every time I leave Seattle, I do so with a prayer on my lips. That someday, someway, I find my way back to Seattle. That is my happily ever after dream.



Dew said...

I have the same feelings for Chicago:)

sunshine said...

@Dew, really? Do write about it. I have visited Chicago a few times and I loved that city. Not as much as Seattle, but loved it.