It’s hard to describe how much I loved Seattle and the life I once had there. I’m using past tense just because I haven’t been back for years and not sure whether my feelings for it have changed any bit. But my memories of Seattle is something truly special that I will treasure for the rest of my life. Two whole years in this little place were one of the best time I’ve ever had; and sometimes, you just suddenly long for it, knowing the same life would never return.
I’ve lived in three different areas in Seattle within the two-year period. When I first moved to the States, I lived with a host family near University of Washington (UW) on 15th E if I didn’t get it wrong. Being 16 and alone in a new country where I couldn’t speak the language quite well yet was pretty damn tough. I remember the first bus ride home alone from school when I missed the stop and didn’t get off until the bus reached its destination. It was getting dark and the neighborhood looked so strange; I wasn’t even sure where I was anymore. But the bus driver kindly told me 15th E was just a block behind and if I kept going, my house should be on the right. Scared as heck, I started to run and I kept running without stopping until I finally got home. I was supposed to be home by 7 pm but I was, so everyone in the house was waiting for me in the living room. The moment they saw me, they revealed a sign of relief. It was my first sweet little home.
When I moved to a new place in South Seattle, sharing a two-floor house with 7 other people, I took long bus rides from there to school near every day. The ride was something I enjoyed so much. Each day, I saw the city emerging as the bus got onto highways – Seattle was… so beautiful. Its presence delighted me every single time. For nearly a year, I kept sitting by the window on the bus, watching the city change from season to season. I started to spend more time wandering around the city, from corners to corners, buildings to buildings, from each hidden alley to another. It was wonderful to discover photography then; the camera became my wandering partner. Together, we made memories in Seattle and kept it safe for ourselves.
Then during the last year, I moved in with (later become) one of my best friends ever, Ly, to a little studio in Capitol Hill, just a few blocks from downtown. Our apartment complex was just couple minutes from this cozy coffee place called Bauhaus – where I spent much of my rainy afternoons/ nights. Sometimes when it drizzled, a good friend and I would seek a dim corner in Bauhaus, enjoy our cup(s) of homemade coffee, and shared good talks. We were young and we had big dreams. At the time, college or post-college pressure was something none of us knew of. We only lived in the presence and treasured all the trips we made around the city. It was a beautiful time of all. I spent most of my time with Ly at school and the piano room; we practiced every other night or so even though we weren’t really good at it. Ly worked at our school gym until 9 pm most days of the week, so I would come from the library to walk her home – not all the time, but it felt really nice to do so. I made so many good memories with Ly and the rest of our gang – SEA5, which now spreads all over the world. None of us is in the same place anymore…
Places like Seattle and the memories we created here make my life whole and meaningful. I’m a lucky soul to have something to hold dear and to remember.