When I moved to the Bay Area, I had never given much thought to Seattle. I had always seen it as a far-away, freezing-cold, provincial town near Canada: nothing that could compare with our incredible Silicon Valley, where education, technology and wealth found their perfect habitat.
This was, until a couple of years ago, when a friend from Italy described it to me as a beautiful city, full of music and life. A few months later, my husband received an interesting job offer from a Seattle-based company. We discussed the opportunity with the family and realized that we were all tired of the hectic Silicon-Valley lifestyle and ready for a new adventure.
I gathered information about the city, joined some Facebook groups and began my house-hunting process. And, excitedly, in August 2016, we moved.
What I found was beyond my expectations:
1. Most of you probably know that Greater Seattle is the new technology hotspot. Microsoft, Amazon, Expedia, Costco, Starbucks, T-Mobile, University of Washington (just to name a few) are born and based here. Google, Facebook, Samsung and many other big and small companies have also been creating offices in the area. This obviously means that the job market is extremely active. My son and I found some good jobs easily, which definitely didn`t happen in SV!
2. The area is simply beautiful. In about 30 minutes, you can move from downtown Seattle (with the famous Pike Place and streets full of stores, museums, bars, and restaurants) to the ocean, to beautiful Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish (where you can swim, waterski, canoe, etc,) to the wealthy Bellevue (with its amazing mall) and on to the mountain tops, where you can ski, sledge, hike or just enjoy the stunning landscape.Seattle has seasons.
3. Of course, winter is the longest, but thanks to the Olympic Peninsula, which protects Seattle from the freezing Pacific wind, the temperature very rarely drops below 32F. And when it does, it snows, making the landscape even more impressive. Watching the snowy Olympic Mountains rising out of the ocean is simply moving! It does rain a lot, though.
4. Your money goes further. While I didn`t find any difference in the general cost of living, housing is definitely more affordable. You can find beautiful homes for around half the price of a Silicon Valley equivalent.
5. People are, in general, less obsessed with productivity and competition, since most of them come from different environments. Children seem to have more time to spend together playing and relaxing, and the first question you as a parent are most likely to be asked is not “what school do your kids go to?” but “when are you kids available to play?”.
Ok, I understand this may look like a biased opinion, but it is what my family and I are feeling at the moment. We are very happy we made the move. So, please, give Seattle a chance!