I am hopping on a plane at John Wayne Airport tomorrow, and I could not be more excited. I’m going home, to the greatest city and the greatest state in the U.S.: Seattle, Washington.
I know that it will be cold and rainy in my hometown, which is specifically Redmond, Wash.
I know that I’m lucky to go to school in sunny Orange County, where sandy beaches await 20 minutes down the freeway and the Disneyland fireworks light up the night sky.
But Seattle has things that don’t compare with any other city. It goes beyond the Space Needle, Pike’s Place Market and the best coffee in America.
It’s the hometown pride and progressive viewpoints ingrained in the lyrics of the newly famous band Macklemore. It’s the love and passion we have for our sports teams, even though we haven’t won any championships in years. It’s the innovation that comes from companies like Nordstrom, Amazon.com, Starbucks and Boeing. It’s the fact that Washingtonians just legalized both gay marriage and marijuana.
Most of all, it’s the people who live there, people who are passionate, kind and open-minded.
The “treehugger” and “hipster” images of people from the Pacific Northwest are stereotypes, but they’re also true. And what’s wrong with enjoying recycling and listening to interesting music? Some of the greatest musicians have come from the Seattle area, including Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix and Pearl Jam. And we wouldn’t have “Thrift Shop” if it weren’t for the influence of the Seattle hip-hop scene.
Everyone can argue for the superiority of his or her own hometown to anyone else’s. It’s where we grew up, where we established our identity, where we lost ourselves and found ourselves again, where we keep coming back to. It’s a place of nostalgia: part of our past, but also our present. And I hope that eventually, Seattle will be part of my future as well.
It’s the little moments, the flashes of a perfect life in the Pacific Northwest, that make me excited to go back. From sitting on Alki Beach staring at the Space Needle in the distance and ferries floating across the Puget Sound, to standing on top of Rattlesnake Ridge and seeing nothing but a sea of evergreen trees for miles, to walking right past the lines at the original Starbucks because you know there’s at least one on the next block.
Yes, you need a good raincoat and a sturdy umbrella to survive in my hometown. Yes, we may not have In-N-Out or a World Series winning baseball team. But if you’re ever in Seattle, sit down with a latte and watch the rain streak down the windowpane. Observe the people around you: struggling musicians wearing beanies and strumming guitars, tourists who just went to the aquarium or the art museum, college students studying environmental science. Listen to their conversations. And you’ll be excited to go back, too.