so, how’s seattle + washington? 🏙️

Kendall Nakai 🌸
7 min readNov 25, 2022


i moved away from college and home in southern california a few months ago and these are some snippets of observations, feelings, and appreciations i’ve had since moving here

first, the pictures —

washington is so green :-)
mount raninier (left), olympic (middle), and north cascades (right) national parks are all within a 3 hour drive from seattle
seattle is a dog wonderland!
the clouds are consistently AMAZING
my first fall foliage here!
wouldn’t be a seattle skyline without shots of the space needle

some observations

these don’t reflect seattle as a whole, as it’s so unique — just a handful of my personal, generalized experiences and interpretations!

  • it’s a dog wonderland — i see so many dogs out!
  • the popular pumpkin patches are ACRES instead of just a patch in the middle of a parking lot
  • there’s just a whole lot of water, lakes, and mountains
  • the overall vibe i get isn’t overly-friendy, nor exclusive
  • the city is neither fast-paced nor slow, it’s kind of what you make it
  • it’s more rare to meet a native seattlite than a transplant because there are so many people moving in. i feel like i’ve learned more through others about different parts of the usa than washington
  • i hear a lot of different languages spoken when out which is really cool! particularly at costco. i think i heard like 5 one day :D
  • restaurants seem about $3 more per dish than at home
  • hiking is super common weekend activity
  • shopping at rei seems to be a rainy day activity
  • i don’t see that many runners out on the streets…because they’re all trail or park running!
  • there are so many little and big parks
  • vancouver, portland, mount saint helens, mount rainier, olympic, and north cascades national parks are all within a 3 hour drive
  • i never feel like i have to dress up — most places, even those upscale in price are fairly casual for dress
  • warmth seems to be prioritized over looks
  • there’s not a lot of drivable overlooks to view the city from — but there are a lot of hikes to overlook nature
  • the true crime podcasts i’ve listened to seem to all take place in washington….
  • people stand on a more united front with sports since there’s only one team in the city rather than like, 3…
  • the coffee here isn’t actually as good as i thought it would be
  • the breweries are pretty good
  • hard liquor tax is pretty high (and soju is like $4 more than cali)
  • the clouds are AMAZING
  • on clear days, mount rainier can be seen from the city and it’s amazing
  • people play a guessing game of whether you work at microsoft or amazon if i say i moved up here for work

transportation thoughts

i had to make a whole section about driving and transit because…yeah

  • there’s a lot of biking routes, including seperated paths along freeways
  • roads in the city are not intuitive — it’s easy to exit a bridge, not be in the correct lane, and get right back onto it; many onramps or streets require prior knowledge of where to go to be in the right place at the right time
  • for it to rain so much, people aren’t that good at driving in the rain
  • infrastructure of online road management is modern —toll registration, incident notification signups, and road conditions and closure communication is all texted or tweeted
  • people drive at the speed limit or below — i can stay in the left lane being the fastest for a loooong time
  • on the up side, most driver’s seem pretty passive. if i want to merge they’ll let me in instead of speeding up
  • on the downside, a lot of drivers seem scared as well — there’s a lot of random braking on both the freeway and surface streets
  • the king county area has expanded way too quickly and the road spacing and infrastructure shows 🥴
  • there’s two bridges to go into seattle from the east side. choosing which bridge to get into seattle keeps things interesting
  • a car isn’t necessary but it’s a nice-to-have in the city
  • living in an apartment means i’m near public transit which is super nice
  • it also means i’m within walking distance from grocery and food — cool

things i miss about california

  • reliable boba and ayce kbbq
  • being able to wear sandals as acceptable footwear
  • soft sand on sunny beach days
  • being able to predict the weather
  • being able to say 50 degrees is cold
  • not being made fun of for being cold
  • not having to plan around the weather
  • clear skies in the winter afternoons
  • dry, dusty, brown, but year-round hiking trails
  • neighborhoods with drivable city overlooks
  • go-to late night food spots (in oc and la)
  • driving around with my plushies in the back staring at cars behind
da plushies in da back

things i’m excited for

  • hiking the enchantments
  • seeing christmas lights in leavenworth
  • eating dim sum in vancouver
  • going to whistler and banff in canada
  • snowshoeing random trails
  • chasing all the waterfalls

some remarks

ever since moving to seattle, i still feel kind of like a tourist — everyday is an adventure. but i also know i’m settling since the days have gotten less exciting and more predictable, which is comforting to know i’m adjusting well. i’m excited to get acclimated to things well enough that i can just predict things like weather and traffic and don’t have to look it up.

i always appreciated the constant suniness of socal and never took the beach for granted. but in washington, without the conistent weather comes seasons and makes me appreciate green summer days and colorful autumn leaves. i certianly don’t feel thankful on foggy days that make me gloomy and have to plan around weather to do fun activities. but i’ve been coming to terms that without the weather i wouldn’t reap the rewards the vibrant colors that rise from the misty greys.

growth and guilt

there’s a growth about moving away from home: feeling immersed in adulthood, starting my career, forming new normals, and being wholeheartedly openminded.

at the same time there’s a guilt: leaving behind my parents at home, contributing to the growth of a too-rapidly growing city that’s pushing locals out due to cost-of-living increases, and wondering how in the world everything came together for me to have the opportunity to start a new journey in a new place.

at the moment, i’m in the process of self-discovery and fulfilling my own needs and wants. i know at some point i want to contribute to something greater than myself but i don’t know what that is. i used to think the big what do i do after college question was, what hobbies do i pick up? what do i do for work? what do i do on weekends? but my bigger question now is, how do i find a balance between what i like doing for myself and how i can help the community around me? what does seeing amazing sights and gaining perspective from others mean if i don’t use it to do something good? what is that something? what can it be? why don’t i stop asking myself these questions and just start?

with full independence, these new questions fill up the spaces in my mind that originally were occupied with being a student and leaving questions to the future. i foresee habits lasting longer than just college when they were just phases. now that the future comes in rest of life instead of rest of college, i have to figure out how i want to increment that out. and i’ll get there, eventually :-)

final thoughts

so how’s seattle? i’m working to make the most of it. i’m thankful for a job where i feel challenged and am learning something everyday. i’ve made some friends, ate some new foods, seen some new sights, and hopefully will be able to make an impact soon (i’m thinking volunteering to help upkeep the local hiking trails). it’s good, it’s exciting, sometimes it’s slow but it always feels fast. i feel like there’s always something to do but sometimes i wish i could complete my list but then what would life be if i was just done with everything?

i have appreciation and excitement and am looking for somewhere to place all of it! ultimately, i’m taking life day by day and watching as the sunrise starts later and sunset starts earlier and the temperature goes down and my southern california self adjusts bit by bit.

cover photo



Kendall Nakai 🌸

👩🏻‍💻 | writing the random things i would write in google docs but **aesthetic**