East to West Coast Transplant: Seattle From an Outsider’s Perspective

I’m from Hartford, Connecticut. Yes, as in Gilmore Girls. No, it’s nothing like that. Hartford is actually a small city filled with mostly insurance buildings with a lot less wealth and private schools than Rory seems to find.

Just like TV, the media, and stereotypes gives people a preconceived view of CT and the East Coast, I definitely had a preconceived view of the West Coast as well. I pictured Seattle filled with laid-back, weed smoking hippies who hike, drink coffee, and invent apps on the weekend. Well, not that exactly, but you get the idea.

Obviously, that is not an accurate representation of Seattle, but it isn’t entirely wrong either. This city is incredibly innovative, open-minded, and unique. Things like bike sharing programs are forward thinking and could only thrive in a city where people are outdoorsy, active, willing to try new things, and environmentally conscious.

In fact, Seattle really puts in perspective how far other places have to come in terms of environmental conservation. The busses here are often electric and on UW campus we basically take for granted that there will be a compost bin right next to the recycling and trash. You can’t even get plastic grocery bags, and have to pay for the paper ones, encouraging people to bring their own reusable totes to haul their groceries home with. These things took me by surprise; I’m sure some of these initiatives exist other places but I haven’t seen them.  

One of the most special things about Seattle, and Washington as a whole, is the recognition of the Native American tribes whose land was once settled here. Many of the towns are named after tribes and there seems to be overall more discussion about Native American culture and the land that was once there. In Connecticut, I’m not even sure of any tribes there. We have a Mohegan Sun Casino, so...I guess that’s tribe land? It feels to me that we are too ashamed about our history to discuss it in CT when, in fact, we need to do just the opposite.

I by no means speak for the entirety of my state or town, and I am not degrading Connecticut next to Washington. My point is that there are so many things about Washington that make it special and should not be taken for granted. The lucky people who have lived here all their lives should realize that Seattle is one-of-a-kind, despite the eyerolls about the rain or traffic. They always say that people who move here never leave, and, to me, it is abundantly clear why.