I grew up in a small town west of Seattle, but since I left the USA I identify more with Seattle. I love this city. When I came back to Seattle it was very easy for me to just slip back into my old life, minus the working part. It actually made me feel like the last 9 months hadn’t happened, it’s cliche, but it really all felt like a dream. It was like I climbed through the wardrobe to Hogwarts, and now I was back. I’ve come to realize that I really want my Seattle friends to move to Europe, and we can all live happily ever after, and watch the republicans destroy America from the safety of Europe’s economic demise.
I have a lot of photos of Seattle, and I think I have this broken up into two parts: Seattle Culture, and My personal Seattle history.
The stereotypes of Seattle are, off the top of my head:
- We drink a lot of coffee
- We hug trees
- It rains all the time
- Underground “hipster” music scene
Seattle was established in 1851, but had been inhabited by Native Americans for thousands of years. The name “Seattle” is the anglicized version of “Sealth,” the name of the chief of the local native tribes. I went on the Seattle underground tour, which told me of the history of the city, and I’m going to try to regurgitate as much of it as I can:
Seattle’s main source of income was from lumber trade with San Francisco, and from selling supplies to travelers heading north for the Klondike Gold Rush. Vancouver would not let travelers cross the Canadian border without a list of supplies (enough materials to survive a year in the wild), and Seattle would sell these pre-packaged bundles to people as they went north. One day, there was a big fire, and the whole city went up in flames, but no one was hurt. This allowed the city to rebuild, which was actually convenient because currently their plumbing was malfunctioning. By malfunctioning, I mean if anyone tried to flush the loo during high-tide, the toilet would have a sort of geyser effect with the household, and the neighboring households septic. The Seattle underground is actually a result of the rebuilding, since business wanted to reopen right away, but proper civil engineering would require years of building, so they compromised. The businesses rebuilt right away and the city reconstructed but brought the new street level to the 2nd story of all the new buildings. During this time Seattle had a ratio of 3:1 for men to women, so “seamstressing” was very profitable at this time. Because the governor was Protestant, these workers filed taxes under “seamstressing.” They were actually really philanthropic to the city though, and to this day, the 2nd largest donation to the Seattle school district ever after the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was a donation made by Mary Ann Conkin who died in 1873. Madame Conklin was a very successful business women, and integral to Seattle’s history, and yet there are no school’s named after her.
One of Seattle’s most popular tourist attractions is the Pike Place Market, which is a year-round farmer’s market that is always crowded. The best known shop is the fish market that throws fish around the market when they are ordered. After this there are beautiful flowers, fresh and local produce, and nearby small food joints specializing in Polish to Asian. One my favorite parts of the Pike Place Market is the mini-doughnut maker, 6 fresh hot doughnuts for only $4. It is located on the same floor as the flying fish, but is to the left around the corner.
The very first Starbucks store is also located in Pike Place Market, it is down the street from the flying fish stand, across the street. I was going to buy a coffee, but the line was out the door, and people from Seattle don’t actually drink Starbucks anyway.
Next, is the sadly less popular “Gum Wall,” but it is really cool. The Gum Wall is literally a wall covered in chewed gum. It is located in an alley one floor below the flying fish, and can be accessed from stairs near the metal pig… If you are facing out from the flying fish stand, the stairs are across the path to the left. Rumor has it that the Gum Wall started from people waiting in line to enter the Improv Theater located in the alley. However it happened, it is a juvenile dream come true.
Seattle is/was the home base for some pretty famous bands, such as Sound Garden, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam and Nirvana. One Seattle landmark that I had never been to was “Kurt Cobain’s bench.” Kurt Cobain was the lead singer of Nirvana, who later ended killing himself from overdosing in his Seattle home off of Lake Washington. Cobain had been suffering from depression and drug use for a long while. The bench is located in Viretta Park in Seattle and is right next to the house that Cobain had lived in. To this day people come to the bench and write messages on it to the singer.
Niki’s Seattle History
For those of you who don’t know me from Seattle, here is a quick picture series to catch you up.
I moved to Seattle to attend the University of Washington. I really wanted to go to Western (see Bellingham), because a lot of my friends were going there, but I eventually decided UW. Which is where I picked up competitive ultimate, and which is how I know all of you, so I guess it was a good thing.
This is the School of Art building. I spent a lot of time in here, but at the same time, probably not enough time inside.
This is the Quad. It has beautiful cherry trees that in the spring fill the space with light pink petals. It is absolutely breath taking, and makes you feel smart just by looking at them.
This is Red Square. The bricks are a material that when wet is extremely slippery. They were chosen especially becuase during the Vietnam War there were many protests, and police could hose down the bricks to make it impossible for the protesters to charge at them. Makes it hard to run to class when your late though since it does rain here 9 months out of the year.
This is Suzzallo Library. It is very pretty. It’s reading room has been the film set for some movies, but the internet won’t tell me which ones.
Best view on Campus.
When I lived in Seattle I lived in these homes:
Haggett Hall was my dormitory for my Freshman year. There are six walls in each of the rooms, which the architects apparently thought was creative. I thought it was a pain in the ass.
After the dorms I moved to this house and my room was in the basement. I lived with 4 other girls, who all played frisbee.
I thought 4 girls was too much, so I moved to this house for the next two years (junior and senior year). In this house there were 4 other girls, and 4 other boys, then there was 5 boys and 5 other girls, and then there was 3 boys and 3 other girls. In total I have lived with 15 different frisbee players over the last 6 years. This house we affectionately called the Hall of Fame, and several ridiculous events took place. To give you a very brief idea: we flooded the basement, someone pooped on the bathroom floor, one noise violation, maggots in the bread crumbs, liquified vegetables, and HOFgivings.
After college I moved to an apartment in this building, which was good too. I had my dog here, and I worked at three different companies while I lived here. Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center, Trophy Cupcakes, and Five Ultimate.
This is the intersection where I was hit by a car on my bicycle. I was completely fine. It wasn’t exciting, but whenever I tell people I was hit by a car, for about 1 second they think I am a badass. And until you read the last two sentences, you thought I was badass too.
Seattle is known for it’s really good frisbee, but actually there is quite a split in the community between what is referred to as “elite” ultimate and non-elite (city league). During the summer is one of the few times both groups interact with each other, when they play a game called Goaltimate. This game is sort of like half court basketball, in that when possession of the disc changes it needs to be cleared past a line. Then the goal is to throw the disc through the hoop made of pvc pipes, and have be caught by a team mate in the goal area behind the hoop. It does not improve your ultimate skills. After Seattle’s showing in USAU Northwest Regionals this year, Goaltimate may in fact ruin Ultimate skills. I still really like playing it though.
Alright, that is it. This is Seattle, from a tourist eye, and from my eye. I love this city, I love it’s people. It is beautiful.