photo blog: Spring down to the bus stop

Let’s be serious: not everything in any city – even a pretty one – can look nice all the time. Seattle has sketchy parts and dirty parts. It’s resolutely grey and gloomy when it wants to be.

But today was so lovely that, even on a mundane walk down to meet the school bus, everything looked absolutely beautiful. I  grabbed the camera on the way out (mostly to take photos of kidlets for Mum) and snapped a few random pics. It was a clear, golden, sunny day. Breezy, but not too cold. I’m kind of amazed at how clear and gorgeous all these little things looked.

But first: Evan! Looking intrepid in his new dinosaur jacket as we set out. It’s actually a rain jacket, but I put it on him b/c the breeze was cool. As it turned out, I ended up carrying it home.

This is the street we walk down to get to the bus stop: Dexter Ave N. As you can see, it’s nothing special. That’s the city you can see, it’s about a 10 min bus ride.

Dexter is on a hill, so you get a few windows of view as you walk down. This is part of Lake Union and the buildings on the other side.

And this is similar, but coming home:

Now we get to the colourful bit. These red bushes are everywhere, and they’re vibrant. I love them with the blue sky (Actually, anything with a blue sky works well for me!)

There goes Evan down the footpath. Another of those red bushes, peeping out. And all the green is nice too.

Now, any gardeners reading can tell me what these awesome trees are. I just call them “awesome trees on the way home.”

And finally, because I couldn’t help myself, beautiful spring flowers in the gardens along the way.

And this rosemary is from the hedge outside our house. Lucky us!

I didn’t get a pic today of the iconic yellow school bus, but I’ll try and snap one soon, as it is so cute.

Hope you enjoyed our walk! It certainly lifted my spirits.

On Not Having a Car

Hi! Already I’m lagging behind with the blog posts! It’s been a busy time.

In the last few weeks, we have been lucky enough to meet some friendly, genuine, interesting people, mostly through school functions or mutual acquaintances. I feel very lucky to be making friends and feeling more connected. With each new acquaintance, we learn a bit about them, and we share our moving-across-the-world story. Among other things, we talk about how we’ve been exploring the city and getting around with the kids. The fact that we are living without a car comes to light.

The range of responses we get has been interesting. The single and/or childless people seem congratulatory, and can relate to varying degrees, since they are currently or have recently lived without a car. We talk about the bus system, and how it’s pretty good here.

Our fellow mums and dads, however, are fascinated, incredulous, or amused. We are a bit quaint, I think. Kids and no car! Imagine that. It won’t last. But they are supportive and helpful, even if they can’t imagine doing something so impractical.

And it may not last. We certainly have not ruled out getting a car, but I have no immediate aspirations. It’s not the driving that I mind. It would be lovely to go to Safeway and just put the groceries in the boot. It would be great to just dash up and down Queen Anne Hill to drop Joy and pick her up from school. And I won’t lie – it’s an absolute pain to wait at a bus stop in the pouring rain.

It’s just that there are also some perks to not having a car. Not having to sit in traffic is one. I don’t miss that! Not having to find parking is also a small joy.

And there are two other points which kind of warm my heart. The first is that we are really getting to know our little corner of Seattle because we are negotiating our way around on the buses. (I’m getting to recognise the bus drivers too!) We have time to look out the window and admire the view, and because have to plan our route, often we actually know a bit about where we’re going! It is true that we’d probably go on trips much further afield if we drove because it would be so much easier and direct, but I figure there’s time for that. If we have to go somewhere in the evening with the kids, like recently to Joy’s school concert, we take a cab. This happens fairly infrequently though.

Also, we walk! We actually exercise every day and we’re not even trying. Each morning after we walk down to the school bus stop and put Joy on, Evan and I walk along the bike trail next to the lake, pick up flowers, stones, and leaves, look at the view, and loop around back to our house. We often see and chat to the same dogs and owners out in the morning, and there’s a post man who once stopped me to ask about Evan’s bike. He waves now every time he sees us.

It’s fun and it gets us moving. Both of the kids have accepted walking to get to the shops or park as a normal part of our lifestyle and I think it’s benefitting us all. It’s different to what we are used to. (Largely probably because we never exercised enough before. But anyway.)

So we are doing stuff and meeting people, which also helps with our homesickness. We have all sort of entered a refreshed stage of missing home, both for family and friends, and also for our favourite and familiar places. Being out and about and meeting people does help. And hey, I didn’t even get to tell you about my Spanish class (which I know you’re all dying to hear about) or how it was sunny and 21 c today. Amazing!! I will get to that next time. xx