The first American city I moved to in 1998 was Seattle. I was nineteen, and decided it was time to go claim my piece of the dot-com gold rush. And at the time, I felt like I’d moved to a huge city, one with suburbs and freeways and too many neighborhoods for me to learn and explore.
Obviously, eight years later, I see Seattle very differently. And it’s the couple years and change in L.A. that has altered my perspective most drastically. Los Angeles challenged me to learn a city bigger and more complicated than any city I’d known before. Seattle, by comparison, seems much more manageable and easily understood. It doesn’t have so many of the factors that complicate Los Angeles: racial tensions, sprawl, a convoluted and half-buried history, or as much extreme poverty and homelessness. And because it’s a smaller city, with less going on within it, there seems to be more of a city-wide culture, instead of the fragmentation within Los Angeles.
Being in Seattle for the last few days has been a real vacation. Part of that is because it is absolutely drop-dead gorgeous in the Northwest this week, but part of it is because it’s a bit easier, mentally, to be here instead of in L.A.
Since Los Angeles is a city of transplants (although some transplants take root & make it their own more than others), I know many of you reading this are also from other cities in America. How does your perspective on your former stomping grounds change when you go back?