Moving to Seattle/Bellevue - help me move/adjust
June 25, 2009 10:18 PM   Subscribe

I am moving to Seattle/Redmond/Bellevue after being in Los Angeles for quite a long time. Moving from SoCal to WA is quite a change and I interested in getting tips/recommendations/suggestions from the hive mind to help me adjust in the new city.

I am 24, single male, moving to SEA for my work. LA was pretty dry but many times I used to find it cooler than how I liked.

I have a tendency of falling sick when weather changes suddenly and when the temperature dips so I am worried about Seattle. Luckily my workplace is a 10 minute bus ride from my house so not much of a commute but I still would prefer staying dry.

- What sort of clothes would you recommend? Rainy wear?
- Being sane and not getting depressed in the gray cloudy weather? (which i have heard about but am yet to experience as I haven't been in Seattle for long).
- Any tips for my electronic devices?
- Good (not too expensive) places to eat/have some fun/meet people
- Any other suggestions.

I have many past posts related Seattle but they have primarily dealt with housing/localities etc.

Thanks :)
posted by bbyboi to Travel & Transportation around Seattle, WA (29 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The rain in the Seattle area is grossly overstated. During the Spring and Summer, it goes through little three or four day phases where it'll rain a little bit every day. Then it'll be sunny or partly cloudy for a number of days, maybe with one little shower. During the Fall and Winter, you can go a few days without seeing the sun at all, though; and there are more long, multi-day rain storms.

Very few days are truly cloudless. When the sun is shining, everybody comments on how nice the weather is. On the other hand, I love the misty weather.

The weather and temperature sometimes change three or four times a day. Yesterday, for instance, in Kitsap, it went from 60's to 70's to 60's and raining to 70's and steaming before settling on the 60's as the sun went down.

Everybody who expects to spend any time outdoors in Fall through Spring wears layers. You can then remove or add layers to adjust to the changes. You should expect to own sweaters or fleeces or the like.

And, yes, your top layer should shed water. Because it does rain almost infinitely more than it does in LA.
posted by Netzapper at 10:28 PM on June 25, 2009

i lived out there for a while (i left long enough ago that i can't really suggest places to hang out), and the thing that got me wasn't so much the rain -- although there was one year where it rained for over 90 consecutive days[1] -- but the *dark*. seattle's far enough north that you'll get a lot more dark during the winter. the nice part is that you get far more daylight in the summer. it looks like the peak difference between the two cities will be an hour and a half more day/night around the solstice.

in the winter, i found it helpful to make a point of getting outside and getting some natural light - what there was of it through the clouds - every day.

[1] Noah only had to deal with 40. and at least our 90+ days were only drizzle.
posted by rmd1023 at 2:40 AM on June 26, 2009

- The Ave (University Way) has a variety of places to eat, and is overall affordable since it serves the University of Washington population. Here's some info on the whole University District area:
posted by illenion at 4:55 AM on June 26, 2009

Oops, hit post too soon, I have one more:

- Pike Place Market is always fun and has a lot of good eats and snacks, as well as neat little shops in the underground and within a few blocks radius. It'll be busy in the summertime especially, and while it's definitely touristy, don't let that deter you - plenty of actual Seattlites love spending time at Pike Place, too.
posted by illenion at 5:00 AM on June 26, 2009

Best answer: Clothes: Gore-tex rain jacket. Like these from Patagonia or REI.

Places to Eat/Meet people: I always liked Top Pot Doughnuts, although from what I remember, people are usually there alone working away at something that seems very important on their macbooks/ibooks. There really are a ton of cafes in Seattle, especially in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, or at the outer edge of that neighborhood on 15th Ave (a little more 30-something but maybe more friendly?). There are a number of good restaurants, too, so it depends what you like. If you eat your dinner at the bar, you might meet some interesting people.

You might find some good info by reading The Stranger (free paper in Seattle) or To meet people, you might consider volunteer work or joining a soccer league or something like that. There are tons of opportunities like this in the Seattle/Redmond/Bellevue area. Or, if you have the time and inclination, you could get a rescue dog! Dogs love the weather in Seattle, and people in Seattle love their dogs. It's a lot of fun to see all the dogs swimming in the lake at the Sand Point dog park.
posted by belau at 6:17 AM on June 26, 2009

We like cats too.
posted by Freedomboy at 6:57 AM on June 26, 2009

Best answer: I just moved away from Seattle after my second, tortuous stint there and am never going back, so this isn't a positive post. Caveat emptor.

If you move, move to Seattle. Don't move to Redmond/Bellevue. Redmond/Bellevue is Stepford Wives land. Avoid at all costs.

You'll have to negotiate the 520 or I-90 bridge for work if you live in Seattler, but once you get it timed right, it's not that big of a deal. The traffic maps let you avoid getting stuck in traffic if you check them before you go.

If you think LA was too cold, you'll have problems in Seattle. It seldom gets above 65 in the summer, below 35 in the winter. Apartments don't even have air conditioning, as it's seldom needed (except those 2 weeks in July when you want to hang yourself from the heat).

People complain about the weather or the darkness, but Netzapper's right. It's grossly overstated. Other than a couple of wind storms in the fall and the potential for black ice the winter, Seattle really has a lack of weather. It's rather boring if you like rainstorms, thunder, lightning, etc. And it doesn't rain in Seattle, it mists. It a light, continuous rain that always seems to be with you. It seldom pours down. I didn't even own an umbrella.

As for sane, that's a hard one. Seattle is not an easy city to live in. There's the "Seattle Freeze" you have to learn to accept. People seem nice, but that's a facade. Expect an impenetrable, unrelenting social wall and prepare yourself to spend a lot of your time alone. I don't mean to be a downer, but I'm speaking from 2 stints there over 7 years. I hope you have friends there already or make friends easily. The general coldness of the the people is like nothing you have ever seen. Even Alaska, which is much colder and much more dark in the winter is a lot more friendly, so I don't know what gives. It'll seem friendly at first, even more so than LA, but that's a patina. The people in LA are real, in Seattle they selfishly disinterested at best, fake at worst. I stand by that with my feet planted in concrete.

If you're going to Microsoft, remember it's a job, it's not a life. Don't give them 70 hours on salary, give them 40. And live far away from the Microsoft campus so it doesn't suck you in.

Electronic devices. No idea, really, but let's just say you won't see a surfeit of Apple MacBooks at Starbucks. It's Microsoft land, so not unexpected.

Food. There's so much disposable income there that bad restaurants are able to survive, so you have to be really careful about where you choose to eat. Chowhound is probably your best if you, but I'd avoid Yelp. Chowhound to Yelp = AskMe to Yahoo! Answers.

The one thing that kept me sane is skiing and camping. There's wasn't a weekend I would get out of that city. Get a GPS device and just drive, drive, drive. There's lots nearby: Vancouver to the north, Portland to the South (the nice version of Seattle), Cascades to the East (a truly awesome mountain range), and the Olympic peninsula to the west (and Puget Sound).
posted by foooooogasm at 7:20 AM on June 26, 2009

The Seattle Freeze.
posted by foooooogasm at 7:23 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: It's not so bad. But I think there is some thing to The Freeze (and I'm from here, lived here most of my life). I think it's because most people I know are still friends with people they went to school with. People who grew up here and stayed in the area often hang in the same cliques they were in through high school.

But it's not impossible to make friends by any means; folks become friends with co-workers quite often. And seconding the closeness of the dog community; I volunteer for a local off-leash park group and have made some friends there. The thing is that it takes longer to move from acquaintance to friend than it might in other parts of the country.

There are great places to eat all over town; check for ratings and prices. There are art co-ops and bookstores and coffee shops and places to get tattoos and all kinds of great things in Seattle.

One big thing, as said: if you work on the eastside, live on the eastside. If you work in town, live in or close to town. Traffic is just hellish traveling east to west here. Plan 45 minutes to an hour to get to work from just about anywhere, though, unless you can walk or ride your bike.

Good luck - I guess Seattle isn't for everyone but it is rather self-selecting, so if you hate it in a couple of years and move away, no one's feelings will be hurt. We'll actually be a little jealous if you go somewhere sunny, though we'd never admit it.
posted by TochterAusElysium at 7:51 AM on June 26, 2009

Oh, Yelp isn't that bad. Though yes, Chowhound is better.
posted by TochterAusElysium at 8:04 AM on June 26, 2009

TochterAusElysium, perhaps unintentionally, makes my point with this sentence:

"I guess Seattle isn't for everyone but it is rather self-selecting, so if you hate it in a couple of years and move away, no one's feelings will be hurt."

That's the attitude of the place, this "no one cares, so no one will be hurt if you're hurt".

That is Seattle perfectly defined.

This type of attitude should not be mistaken for an egalitarian mentality: equality demands that people care about their fellow beings; it means being concerned first and foremost with the well being of other people in the world, in your city, in your community.

Seattle could not care less.

This mentality should also not be mistaken for the independence people associate with the west coast, the "I'm me, you're you, we're us, we do what we want, you do what you want, and everything's cool." No, no, Seattle is not that at all, it's the very anti-thesis of that. It's "I don't give a damn about you, no!, I don't even care enough about you to even spend time thinking about whether I give a damn or not."

It's that cold.

Seattle natives will argue against this, just like they'll argue that the traffic is horrendous and rain is depressing and x, y, z to keep you from moving there. They are wrong. They have lived there for so long that they aren't even cognizant of it. This is what David Foster Wallace meant when he said, "This is the water."

I don't know why this is, but I can assure you I had plenty of time alone in Seattle to think about it.

The best theory I can come up with re:cause is related to the high concentration of education there. Seattle always appears at the top of lists re:college educated, most read, most bookish, etc., and the consequence, I think, is that there's less demand for your education (your opinions, your facts, your interests) because the supply of education is so high there; and, as a consequence, the barrier to entry (and that's really what it is, a barrier!) is very, very high. It's the "I already know what you're going to say, nay!, I know it even better than you do, so I'm not going to waste a moment of my time giving you the time of day. Instead, here's my cold shoulder. Enjoy."

Seattle's motto is "I don't care about you."

That's not to say that there aren't subgroups ignored my generalization; like every city, there are; but, the rhetoric holds.

If you're independent, don't need people very much, not really into friends or social interaction, then Seattle's the place for you (or at least a city you might be able to survive for a few years).
posted by foooooogasm at 8:39 AM on June 26, 2009

- Any tips for my electronic devices?

We don't have monsoons here, just a winter of drizzle. Your normal backpack or purse or whatever will be fine (unless you're accustomed to carrying your laptop in a brown paper bag).
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:08 AM on June 26, 2009

Best answer: I lived in Seattle for about ten years, and while I am not quite as firm about the Seattle Freeze being impenetrable as foooooogasm is, I agree that it definitely exists and can be a struggle for newcomers looking to make a new social circle.
I found friends through the volunteer community. There are lots of volunteer opportunities around the Seattle area and if you start to feel disconnected and lonely then I recommend making a regular volunteer commitment your first step to fightling the loneliness.

I never had to change a tire by myself in Seattle, and any time I was pulled over on the side of the road with my hood up some always stopped to help. Men. Women. Parents with kids in the car. People on the street will give you directions happily. It isn't an 'every man for himself' vibe at all. It's just that once the problem is solved, everyone goes on about their business.
It's hard to actually make a genuine connection.

Also, the weather can be very cold, layers are your friend. However, most days of the year you get rain *and* periods of sun both. Yes, probably more rain than sun on any given day (except for August, usually), but you can learn to use the sun when it appears. Take a quick walk around the block when you notice the sun is out and it will definitely improve your spirits.
As others have said, it is more like a misty drizzle than rain and most people don't bother with umbrellas.

It is ridiculous that Seattle doesn't have some sort of light rail or commuter train. The traffic SUCKS. I can't express that strongly enough. I've spent a lot of time in L.A. L.A. traffic is nothing compared to Seattle traffic. Nothing. Damn, I hated driving in Seattle. The buses are great, though, so if you can commute to work, then definitely do that.

Oddly, people in Seattle treat Mt. Rainier as if it some sort of giant groundhog. You will even hear people on the news mentioning that 'the mountain is out today'.
Just go with it.
posted by Brody's chum at 9:28 AM on June 26, 2009

I'm honored to be nominated to speak for all of Seattle.

I won't argue with foooooogasm's comments (though it sure sounds like someone spat in your soda while you were here and I'm sorry for that). I don't think the freeze is related to the college education levels, though; I wonder if it might be the heavily nordic background of the population.

Huh. Well, maybe I'm too close to it to see it, and maybe I'm a Cold, Bad Person, but I think the attitude is less "We don't care about you" than it is "We've got stuff to do and don't really have time to hold your hand and throw a you barbecue because you're new to town. But we're going hiking next Saturday, rain or shine, so if you want to come along, meet us at exit 195 and bring good shoes (and preferably a dog)."
posted by TochterAusElysium at 10:06 AM on June 26, 2009

I don't know how many times I've had someone here say "We should meet up for coffee some time" and then when I say "Yeah, great, when? Are you free Tuesday?" they get nervous and vague because they didn't really want their offer accepted. I've lived in a whole lotta places, and Seattle stands out in that way.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:30 AM on June 26, 2009

I moved to Seattle in Oct.

How I made friends: Underdog Kickball.
You can't play sports at all? You have no team? It doesn't matter.

Also, once you get settled and want to start dating, use The Stranger's LoveLab. Dating can be hard in this town, but this newcomer met a great native Seattlite thanks to a local dating service.

Go find your new neighborhood's blog." I live in Ballard and feel so much more connected to my community due to My Ballard's news and events.

Oh, and it's not really rain. It's mist with a metal sheet that hangs over the sky. You don't need an umbrella.
posted by soupy at 1:44 PM on June 26, 2009

I did make it sound like I had a horrendous experience there, but I was there for a long time and found ways to mediate it. Like I said, going skiing (where I could force people to chat because they couldn't very well jump off the ski lift), camping, etc. Work also helped quite a bit, as it forces communication.

I finally moved when I realized I was becoming one of them. When people would step in the elevator, I'd try to hide in the corner instead of being polite or having a quick chat.

That's when I said, "I am not this person; this place will not infect me; I'm out of here."

When the Seattle Freeze story appeared in the papers, there was an anecdote from someone who moved to Seattle from, I think, Brazil (a very open culture and people) and how much of a shock it was, and I immediately identified with what he was going through.

All that said, I think the most frustrating thing is that this can be at all in city that is so beautiful and has some much to offer. It's like a garden compared to most other cities in the country, but it's inhabited by mushrooms that like relish their caves.
posted by foooooogasm at 1:46 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'm reading this post with interest. I am a new resident of Seattle -- middle-aged and married. I'm looking to find a job and make friends.

I find Seattle people exceedingly polite and helpful, even courtly. In my native New Jersey, people are "in your face", they have an edge, they use lots of profanity. In Seattle, I can stroll the streets all afternoon and not hear a single swear-word. I love the civility of Seattle. But I miss the warmth and emotion of NYC metro area.

Here are my "Seattle tips", from limited experience:

* If you're alone and feel like splurging on a delicious lunch, go to Steelhead Diner and get a seat at the chef's counter. Everytime I go there I find other solo diners to chat with.

* I've just started joining various groups at I have not attended anything yet. There are Seattle groups for every interest.

* It sounds like you are employed. For jobseekers, I've found the "Notes from the Job Search" group is very friendly and supportive.

* Bring your own bags to all shopping venues. If you bring your own bag, the clerk might give you an indulgent smile of approval. If you don't have bags, you will be punished. All your purchases will be carefully stuffed into a single tiny bag. When you are half-way home, the bag will rip.

* Never say anything bad about bicyclists.

* If you're driving somewhere in Seattle, allow plenty of time. Double the estimate that your GPS gives you. You will also need time to find parking and to figure out how to pay for the parking.

Good luck to you!!

The observation from Brody's chum made me laugh out loud: "Oddly, people in Seattle treat Mt. Rainier as if it some sort of giant groundhog. You will even hear people on the news mentioning that 'the mountain is out today'."... It's true!
posted by valannc at 1:58 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

I just realized that your from Bombay!

I'm not sure if it matters at all, but there's a large Indian community in the Redmond/Bellevue area.

You might have the right idea about moving there if you want to be part of a strong community.

Or you might be like one of the most hilarious guys I've ever known (he's from Hyderbad) and want absolutely nothing to do with Indian culture while you're in the states. You could not get him to eat a curry if you paid him $20. If that's the case, then I'll again recommend that avoid Redmond/Bellevue and move to Seattle.
posted by foooooogasm at 2:12 PM on June 26, 2009

Best answer: As a Seattle native the comments here are pretty accurate in all respects.
Regarding the commute, definitely live on whatever side of the lake you work on - I just finished some contract work in Redmond and the commute is always a nightmare if you're going by car, especially with the recent 520 closure and the I-90 express lane construction.
If you REALLY want to live on the west side and work on the east, or vice-versa, do your best to live in a central location (roughly Fremont south to the I-90/405 interchange, or Overlake/Downtown Bellevue on the East side), and make friends with the 545 and 550 bus routes.
Your commute will still be an hour long, but this'll prevent it from being two or more. A couple friends from work who live in the Ballard/Crown Hill area would leave the office at 6:00 and get home between 7:30 and 8:00.

The downside to living out east is that it's a Stepford-esque wasteland of suburbia, full of humorless new-money tech people in BMW 5-series sedans and $2,000 road bikes commuting between their McMansions and the Microsoft megaplex in Redmond. (If you're near the 40th & 148th intersection around 5:00 you can experience this surreal spectacle first-hand.)
I grew up in the pretentious Bridle Trails neighborhood of Kirkland and as a kid there was NOTHING to do, especially after the only video arcade in town closed up shop in 2002. Seattle was (and is) the place where all the interesting stuff happens.

Some local hangouts, activities, & ways to meet people:

Espresso Vivace sidewalk bar on Capitol Hill
Beth's Cafe
Aimlessly riding the ferries
The Ice Caves
The Mountain Loop Highway
Seattle groups and networking site
And of course,

If you're into snowboarding and skiing, those are hugely popular in the winter and people are always looking to go in groups. The closest areas are Stevens and Snoqualmie passes.

The Puget Sound area also has a buttload of festivals in August and September so try volunteering for a few. Bumbershoot and Seafair are the biggest and most famous but one of my (admittedly corny) favorites is the Snoqualmie Railroad Days festival.

Seconding TochterAusElysium and foooooogasm's comments, the Seattle Freeze is very real. I grew up with it, and moving to Wisconsin for college was an absolute revelation in terms of making friends and even just being able to have random conversations; it's something I miss very much. If you've ever been to small-town Minnesota, Scandinavia, or if you've experienced the honne & tatemae phenomena in Japan, the "friendly-but-distant" attitude of many Seattlites will be eerily familiar. People want to seem nice but it's hard to wrangle an actual commitment out of them, even for little things like going out for drinks.

A potential explanation that hasn't been mentioned here: Seattle used to be a little manufacturing town up until the eighties. Us natives have watched our city grow from a quirky, offbeat backwater into a big shiny city in this tiny period of time, and a lot of us dearly miss the old Seattle that's been erased by huge waves of newcomers. So speaking from personal experience many Seattlites have this view of outsiders as not being particularly's like, "I'm glad you're interested but...couldn't you have picked someplace else?"

Another potential reason for the cold shoulder is that many people just come here for a few years and then leave, so natives and non-natives alike have a hard time opening up when they suspect you're going to be gone soon anyway.

Something else that hasn't been mentioned is that once you settle in and start making connections, Seattle can feel like a VERY small town. Despite its size, Seattle is dominated by just two industries: tech (Microsoft) and manufacturing (Boeing), so it can be difficult to find jobs or meet people outside of those circles.

With regard to the weather, yes, it doesn't rain nearly as much as people think it does. But we've basically got just two seasons: Summer, where it's usually partly-cloudy and 70 with daylight lasting until 10pm; and winter, where it's 40 degrees, misty, and gets dark at 4:30. The winter is awful because when you get up for work it's pitch-black, when you get out of work, it's pitch-black, and by the time you get up on the weekends the daylight is already half-gone. Winter is humid too, so the cold and damp gets everywhere.

Like other posters have said, a good way to fight the winter blues and loneliness is to get out of town. Go hiking, ride a bike, go down to St. Helens or Rainier, take a weekend and go to Portland, Vancouver, or Eastern Washington (which is a totally different world; it's like stepping into Arizona).

Anyway, sorry to end on a somewhat negative note. Before I forget, I need to bestow upon you the cheesy Seattle magic that is Almost Live (warning, Youtube links):

Lynnwood Beauty Academy
Eastside Tourism Promo
Studs From Microsoft

Seattle's culture can be difficult to adjust to, but there are some bright spots. Washington's natural beauty will be right on your doorstep and if nothing else, you should get out and see it when you have the chance. Also I haven't been skiing in far too long, so if you wanna get a group together this winter, I'm up for it! (Not just saying that - I'm totally serious.)

If you have any more questions feel free to send me some Mefi Mail, and I wish you the best of luck here in Seattle.
posted by azuresunday at 2:32 PM on June 26, 2009 [3 favorites]

Echoing azuresunday: Figure out which side of lake Washington your job is on, and live on that side, which it sounds like you already figured out.

If your health can handle it, hiking during the cloudy winter months is great. The evergreen forests and mountains are quite beautiful when it's misting outside.

When it snows out (rare), STAY OFF THE ROADS. Snow cleanup is a joke out here, and even a few inches will quickly turn into packed ice on most non-highway roads and sidewalks. You might be a good driver in the snow, but most everyone else here isn't. Including public transit.
posted by jsonic at 4:15 PM on June 26, 2009

Best answer: Hello, bbyboi.

I am a St. Louis native living in Seattle. I am also azuresunday's BF. A few things:

The Seattle Freeze is certainly prevalent, and yes, do expect to spend a good amount of time alone. It took me close to a year to make friends with the welcoming and awesome people at work (I stress these things because they are welcoming and awesome, and I imagine if they weren't, it would have taken longer). The people I've become close to have either lived out of state for a good long time, or are not from Seattle at all. Of course, you could check out a MeFi Meetup as well.

There's a couple of recommendations to live on the same side of the lake as you work. If you don't mind a commute, it's not so bad. I work in Bellevue and live in Seattle. This arrangement works well for me, because I don't have a car, and my work is right off a major and frequent bus route. If you don't want to own a car, Seattle is the best for bus routes. The east side is terrible unless you have a car.

Here are some of the places I really enjoy in the area:
The Seattle Public Library Central Branch
Pike Place Market
Many of the places on the Ave. I am still mourning the loss of Comics and Coffee.
Elliot Bay Book Company
Gas Works Park
And many of the places azuresunday listed.

I'm still exploring this city. On days off, I tend to hang out with some of my co-workers and tuck myself into the library.

- What sort of clothes would you recommend? Rainy wear?

I get by with a hoodie most of the year, layers of course, and a heavier coat in the winter. As for the Snowpocalypse last winter, it started funny, having gone to college in Wisconsin, but... my god. One day there were six 550s jack-knifed up and down Bellevue Way. It was an EVENT. But from what I understand, this only happens every five or ten years or so.

- Any tips for my electronic devices?

I keep my iPod in a case, in my pocket. My cellphone is also almost always in my pocket. They do just fine there.

let's just say you won't see a surfeit of Apple MacBooks at Starbucks. It's Microsoft land, so not unexpected.

This is entirely untrue. Microsofties like their MacBooks and iPhones just as much as anyone else does.

It is ridiculous that Seattle doesn't have some sort of light rail or commuter train.

You mean this light rail and commuter train right here? OK, it's not much, but it's a start.

I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have. MeFi Mail me.
posted by gc at 9:14 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Awesome replies everyone! Thank you so very much!!!

This thread has been very helpful for me. I now have a pretty decent perspective of what I can/will face once I am in Seattle and I am quite relieved to get that much of an understanding. Seattle freeze does seem a bit formidable but I'll let people take their time while I attempt to befriend them. I am beginning to get some common streaks of the life/culture there - everyone loves their dogs and cycles, bad traffic, quite a lot of employment in MSFT/Boeing/Amazon, adventure loving people, etc

Seattle Freeze - I did read a few articles about it and being a person who likes hanging out with others, volunteering seems to be the best way to get past the freeze and meet people. I am definitely going to do that once I get a bit comfortable at my workplace.
Weather - Good to know that it drizzles most of the time. I was hoping it wouldn't be a downpour of some sort. Thanks for apparel recommendations :)
Food - Lots of places for me to explore. I'm vegetarian but they all seem to have many options for me to last for quite some time :)
Places - Yes, my workplace is a 10 minute walk from the place I'll be staying so I unknowingly made a correct decision :) Good to know!!! There seem to be a lot of places to hang out and lots of sports activities. I have never been in a snowy region before and I'll definitely try out skiing and snowboarding.. adventure it is :)

@fooooogasm, it really does feel like someone spat in your soda. Sorry to hear you had a bad experience - I hope it doesn't get that bad for me. Thanks for letting me know about the Indian community - I'll try meeting a few people - but - from the couple of years I have spent in the states, I have sometimes felt that the Indian community tends to socialize amongst themselves, while I am more into a multicultural experience and would like to meet different people from different cultures/backgrounds/countries.

@qc, I don't really have any specific questions right now but I sure will once I spend a couple of weeks there. Thanks!

Thanks again guys, please continue posting if you have any more thoughts about the topic. :)
posted by bbyboi at 11:20 AM on June 27, 2009

Response by poster: btw, I saw a TED Talk about the Seattle Public Library many months ago and wanted to visit it ever since.
posted by bbyboi at 11:39 AM on June 27, 2009

Someone didn't, all of them did, repeatedly, for years, but no worries, I moved. :)

It's good that you've lived somewhere else in the states before moving to Seattle. You'll at least have that perspective. The coworker I mentioned before assumed all Americans are like the people you encounter in Seattle. They're anything but!

I was going to mention the Indian community socializing amongst themselves, but I wasn't sure if it's 1. like that everywhere or 2. because that's how the community deals with the Seattle freeze (turns inward). I imagine it's some of both.

Whatever the reason, you're right that they're to themselves. There are thousands of Indians that work at Microsoft and you never see them outside of work. They live there with their families, their children, even extended families, but it's like they're invisible.

It's really quite bizarre.
posted by foooooogasm at 12:22 PM on June 27, 2009

Response by poster: Yes, it could be attributed to both the reasons you've mentioned but I think its more prominent in cities where a larger community exists. I've seen it in LA where there is a fairly large desi student population but there I also saw the other communities also interacting among their own which seemed like ethnic bubbles within which people chose to stay. It didn't seem to be that common in other places I visited - Florida/SFO/Boston where a smaller population (or atleast spread out population) exists but I could be wrong.

I think it could be that the community becomes so big that it doesn't feel it needs to reach out to non-members - not something I like but different people have different agendas. I can't imagine why students who are here on visas and for a shorter periods of time need to stay within their own - beats the whole point of traveling abroad for education - you are not there for just the acads - it should be a whole 360 degree experience. Yes, I tend to be philosophical at times :P ;)

The Seattle Freeze seems to be more of a common thing and azuresunday's reasoning also seemed to make good sense:
"Another potential reason for the cold shoulder is that many people just come here for a few years and then leave, so natives and non-natives alike have a hard time opening up when they suspect you're going to be gone soon anyway."
posted by bbyboi at 7:41 PM on June 27, 2009

i've lived in a bunch of other cities and now have lived in seattle for years and i've had no problem whatsoever making lots of friends. i think the 'seattle freeze' is bullshit perpetuated by lazy people. making friends takes effort like anything else.

"One big thing, as said: if you work on the eastside, live on the eastside. If you work in town, live in or close to town. Traffic is just hellish traveling east to west here. Plan 45 minutes to an hour to get to work from just about anywhere, though, unless you can walk or ride your bike."

OH HELL NO. i live in the central district and commute to the eastside. it takes me 15-20 minutes. you couldn't pay me any amount of money to live on the eastside. the key is to skip 520. i've a hard time believing that someone new to the city and living on the eastside could ever form an accurate opinion about what people are like in seattle. =P the eastside is its own creepy little world.
posted by groovinkim at 1:37 PM on July 11, 2009

Making friends in Seattle was far more difficult than anywhere else I've lived, groovinkim, and I have a lot of experience making friends in different places. Maybe your experience has been different, but that's no reason to call me lazy.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:05 PM on July 12, 2009

you're right, lazy was a callous choice of words ;) i'm originally from the east coast and tend towards the blunt and tactless at times. i really do feel like pretty much anyone can make friends if they follow a series of steps though. i based my generalization on the behavior of my transplant friends that said that they had a tough time making friends before i introduced them to mine, and on the described behavior of previous people who posted about the seattle freeze. often they were trying to make friends with coworkers or people from school or neighbors... but they didn't have much in common with those people other than happening to be geographically close to each other. i think that can still work if you organize larger group events (dinner parties, movie nights, etc) but one on one with someone you don't know well is often like an awkward blind date and people will avoid it.

while you can learn a lot from friends who are dissimilar, i think it's much easier to make friends by starting a project and seeking collaborators with common interests, or joining someone else's project if you aren't the starting type.
posted by groovinkim at 3:07 PM on July 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

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