What a difference a home makes! Last year at this time my husband and I were miserable. It was April in Seattle, characterized by cold rain storms – a change from the constant showers in the winter and half-days of rain in the fall. We’re summer people and in Seattle we had to wait forever for summer. If we were lucky, it would come in June. Most of the time, summer came in July but sometimes it would hold out until August. Once summer arrived in Seattle, we had beautiful weather – 70s and 80s and hardly any clouds, but it was too short for us.
We moved back to Maryland in December. Six years ago, we’d moved out by the Chesapeake Bay and we loved it there, but my husband got a promotion that took us to Seattle. We were optimistic, but after six years, Seattle grated on us. It wasn’t just the weather. It was the people. Seattleites, for the most part, are very polite and superficially nice, but they’re very guarded. I knew people for years in Seattle and didn’t learn anything about them. I’m not making it up. The phenomenon has a name: “The Seattle Freeze.” It refers to the moment that Seattleites freeze up – usually the moment you ask them anything more personal than their name. They’re also called “The nicest people you’ll never get to know.” Sometimes you’d know someone for years and then find out they never liked you.
My husband and I are from the East Coast. I’m from New York and he’s from Virginia. New Yorkers get a bad rap, but at least you know where you stand with them right away, and they’re not afraid to open up. That’s what I’m used to. That’s what I like. My husband’s Southern. Southerners are much softer, but they won’t waste their time with people they don’t like either. I had a very hard time in Seattle, never knowing where I stood with people.
But enough about Seattle. Back to home. Now that we’re back in Maryland, where we belong, our lives have changed dramatically. In Seattle, we preferred not to have plans on the weekends. We wanted to be free to complete house projects and we generally kept to ourselves. In Maryland, we’ve done fun things with the kids almost every weekend, and we always have company. I think that in Seattle, we were depressed and that affected our motivation to do fun things. In Seattle, we stayed inside out of necessity. In Maryland, we’re always outside. In Seattle, my husband had to work all the time – literally – he had to answer emails seven days a week and on all holidays, vacations and days off. This week, he took a day off from his new job and wasn’t expected to do any work at all. In Seattle, we couldn’t do anything after dinner on weekdays for most of the year because the days were short or the weather kept us in. In Maryland, we can play outside or go for a walk.
Because of the change of venue, we’re all different people. My husband is happy and relaxed – something I haven’t seen in more than six years. I’m not lonely anymore and I don’t wake up every day saying “I hate this place.” My daughter never asks “Is it NOT raining?” when she wakes up in the morning. My son’s having so much fun playing outside. And none of us are cold anymore.
When we moved, we said we’re never moving again. And we don’t have to. We’ve found ourselves a home.