Seattle, the sequel

Over a month has passed since our last post. That’s a lot to cover. So to avoid rambling, we’re covering the essentials. The meat and potatoes, if you will. The main events and experiences. Only the most important aspects of our first 5 weeks here. Not a lot of fluff.

Already rambling.

June 10-July 16

We spent our first week in an Extended Stay hotel in Northgate. Northgate is, as you can likely guess, the northernmost neighborhood in Seattle.

It was a rather disappointing week. We had arrived in the Emerald City, but were still feeling like we had another 7 days until we really settled in. Our apartment lease would begin June 18th.

But we made the most of it, determined to spend as little time in our dingy hotel room as possible. We would leave for much of the daylight hours (a feat in itself, as daylight lasts til 10pm this time of year) and pick out one of the many city parks to visit. The Washington Park Arboretum is always a nice place for a stroll- the forests and trails always pause our minds, and we forget about the city that surrounds them.

A visit to Golden Gardens in Ballard brought together the dull and distant chatter of groups along the beach with soft lapping waves off the Puget Sound- a harmony of nature and community. The Olympic Peninsula and its peaks provide a dramatic horizon to the west.

These were all places we’d been before, two years ago. Like an old friend, we picked up right where we left off.

We also are in Seattle to work.

Our travel assignment at Harborview Medical Center, a UW teaching hospital and the King County Hospital, started a couple days after we arrived. The usual orientation dance and we were back into the swing of things pretty quick. It’s a crazy place and we really love the people that work there, as well as the often disenfranchised folks we serve.

Jamie worked on the 18th, move in day, so Charley and I loaded our earthly belongings yet again into Archie. This time, the trip would be 10 miles, not 2,000.

After getting unpacked, our rental furniture was dropped off and set up. Things were finally falling into place.

We’d get the lay of the neighborhood on our walks with Charley. Wallingford is situated immediately north of Lake Union, a heart shaped body of water maybe 7 miles around, that dumps out into Lake Washington to the east and the Puget Sound to the west via canals and narrow waterways. We quickly fell in love with our location.

But it was time to get out and see some trees and wrinkled earth.

A visit to Wallace Falls one day and then Lake Serene on another, we got our boots reacquainted with the PNW soil.

Maggie and Brandon, our friends from Phoenix and also Santa Barbara, were in Seattle for the summer too. They’d arrived several weeks before us. Charley was thrilled to see her buddies Donald and Gurley, as we got together a few times for walks and dinner. In my mind it must be so confusing for Charley to run into her buddies in yet another new city. But she doesn’t overthink things, so I’m sure she’s just happy to see them.

Part of travel nursing that we’ve been more active in lately is the opportunity to meet like-minded people. Those who are outgoing, sociable, enjoy traveling and the outdoors, and seemingly embrace the present. They know (like we do) that each assignment and the opportunities they offer are finite. We had dinner atop the roof of a couple we met in our first week, along with a few other travelers. We caught a Mariners game with our new friends Andrew and Sarah, also doing the Seattle summer travel nurse circuit.

Gas Works Park, an old gasification plant, is about a block south of our apartment, and makes up the northern boundary of Lake Union. I say it every time we go down there (several times a week) that it’s the best view in Seattle. In the evening, the fancy folks with sailboats can be seen gliding across Lake Union, with the downtown skyline backdropping the procession. The lake’s hilly flanks are occupied by upper and lower Queen Anne and Westlake to the west and Eastlake and Capitol Hill to the east. The whole scene has a pleasing symmetry to it as we look on from Gas Works.

Our roof deck offers a similar view, though set back from the Park a few tenths of a mile.

In an attempt to get more familiar with the neighborhoods of north Seattle, I bought a used bike from a local shop. Jamie had a bike already, so we were ready to get out and explore. The Burke Gilman Trail runs east-west from Lake Washington to Ballard, and north of Lake Union. We’ve worn out that route, as it provides pretty good access to any of the neighborhoods while avoiding big hills and car traffic.

Our experience since mid June has been more than mildly shaped by lack of insurance on our car. A painful process that still is seeking resolution has prevented us from driving out for any hikes or camping. Dealership blunders with our initial registration on Archie has us without registration and thus insurance for a month now.

We’ve tried to make the most of our situation, though, and have come to really enjoy our city ventures while we get things sorted out.

There’s just so much to do here. Pike Place one day, walking the waterways and gawking at houseboats the next. Visiting neighborhood farmer’s markets throughout the week and running into quirky Seattle street art on our strolls. City parks with views of Rainier in the distance. There’s enough to keep us busy all summer. We do miss hiking and the woods, though.

Independence Day weekend we made our way down to San Francisco for our friends Jeff and Kayla’s wedding. Charley spent some quality time with her boys Donald and Gurley up at Maggie and Brandon’s RV.

We were thrilled to be able to make it to the wedding. What an event. They unfortunately had to punt it out a year because of the pandemic, but I bet they’re glad they stuck to the initial plans. The venue was stunning, tucked in a grove of younger redwoods- massive and arrow-straight.

It was a beautiful ceremony and the reception was a blast. Jamie had gone to high school with Geoff and a lot of the guests, and I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know them over the past decade. Great people who know how to enjoy themselves and celebrate.

Much of July has been spent at work, outside of the SF trip and a couple days off here and there. We’re looking forward to six days off and mixing R&R with some get-out-and-go.

Stay tuned!

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