I moved from Idaho to greater Seattle area for a job over half a year now (wow, it has been seven months already!), and when I travel to Boise the first thing I get asked is ‘how is Seattle?’ Given the frequency of this question, I decided to do a small write up of goods and bads of living in Seattle area as I have been experiencing.
Cost of living
Let’s get this out of the way first. We had a house in Boise, we sold it, and still could not afford a house close to work. Housing prices here are expensive, and if you are used to living close to work or in downtown, you have to rent to save up.
Women in tech, women working and women’s rights
This was one of the biggest reasons why I fled Idaho. The amount of technical women I knew and worked with was very low. Way too many women left workforce in drones to raise children, leaving me with no mentors to learn from and whose path to follow. And way too many men in the Idaho government messed with women’s reproductive rights. It was extremely depressing.
For the first time since 2007 when I worked on a minimum wage doing filing and answering international student emails, I have a rockstar woman boss. There are also a ton of mentors who I can learn from and look up to. Women stay in the workforce and rock it. Plus Seattle area is as blue as anything can be, shutting down any man who opens his mouth to talk about cancelling abortions. Seattle area is truly a heaven for a career-oriented technical woman.
Food is amazing
40% of Bellevue, the city where I currently live, is a minority race or ethnicity. A huge and pleasant change from very non-diverse Idaho. Moving to Bellevue came with an awesome perk: the food. I love the availability of Thai, Indian and Japanese restaurants here. While there were a couple good non-American restaurants in Boise, I never before moving to Bellevue tried good Mexican or Italian food! Now the foodie in me is very happy.
Things to do
That’s a big one. If you look in the Stranger, a Seattle alternative newspaper, a concert is taking place every day. And most importantly, the concerts feature the bands I actually like. Metal, alternative rock faerie folk music – it is all here. In the 10 years I lived in Boise, only one of my favorite bands was scheduled to perform (Nightwish), and lo and behold – it cancelled the performance the day before.
Nature freak in me is ecstatic too. The ever-green has the most amazing scenery and beautiful hikes with the cleanest seashore air you will ever experience.
Moving to Seattle was one of the most awesome decisions my husband and I made. Given we are liberal career-oriented technical people who love good food, fun music/geek events and hikes in the nature, this is haven.
Here is my advice to people who are feeling stuck/trapped/depressed in Idaho: move to where you will feel at home. Having a giant cheap home where you are alienated because of your beliefs, culture, or gender is simply not worth it.