Friday, January 22, 2010

Through the Car Window Glass - WASHINGTON

I experienced culture shock when the Lord moved our family of eight to the Pacific Northwest from the midwest nearly six years ago.  I kept reminding myself that since I moved within the same country and I spoke the same language, it really shouldn't be that hard.  I imagined the pioneer women in their covered wagons and told myself over and over, if they could do it, so could I.

Through many tears and trials I learned valuable lessons such as:
-don't plan on making a left turn on a busy street without a traffic light
-plan on 20 minutes extra for every missed turn
-expect the Seattle Salute, the one fingered wave, when you do something wrong
-the turn-off to airport isn't that well-marked, and if you miss the turn you might not actually find the airport for another 40 minutes
-the way out of the airport isn't that well marked, and if you miss the turn you might not actually make it home for another 40 minutes
-the airport construction will NEVER end
-the ecoterrorists hate Suburban driving mommas.  If you move to the PNW with a Suburban you need to buy a different vehicle to keep your car from being "oops - dented" or "oops - scratched"
-a GPS could actually be cheaper than marriage counseling

Driving was a huge stress.  I knew until I mastered the skills of merging four lanes in 1/2 mile to get to downtown Seattle, I wouldn't be able to enjoy all the sites, sounds, smells and experiences of our new home.
It didn't change until I prayed about it.  I was ashamed and amused that I had forgotten to employ a simple privilege believers have, to boldly approach the throne of grace, to ask the Lord to give me the ability to drive in the traffic here. Amused only because it was a "DUH" kinda revelation.

When I made nearly a dozen on-time trips to the airport in about two weeks without anxiety, I knew the Lord had answered my prayer.

Then I could actually swerve my neck around, not to avoid another near collision, but to enjoy the soul-refreshing beauty of my surroundings.

From  the I-90 floating bridge,
 I am always excited to see the floating houses on Lake Union.
Scott and I dream about living in one someday
 when the kids have moved out, especially the sleepwalking one.
Sleepless in Seattle was filmed here, can you spot the house on the end of the row?
(Actually, you can't, it faces the other way.)

Somehow, gray became a color of beauty to me.
But, gray roads, gray clouds, gray buildings, and gray mist
can produce a gray mood,
if you aren't careful and prayerful.

This is how it can look summer, fall, winter and spring.

Lake Union

When we enter Seattle on 1-90,  we also love spotting the old yellow house just above the bridge.
If you turn around on the Interstate and drive east  3032 miles you will arrive in Boston.
We marvel that the interstate was tunneled under the established residential area.
The Mount Baker Tunnel was named after Mount Baker neighborhood.
not THE Mount Baker, east of Bellingham,
 the second most active volcano Cascade range.

We love utilizing the ferry system.
I call them a poor man's yacht.
Sunset view of the Mukilteo Light Station.

You can get used to this area.

Just keep your eyes on
merging traffic,
rear view mirror,
side view mirrors,
shrapnel on the road
people waving with one finger,
city buses with the right of way,
brake lights five cars ahead of you,
people pulling out without looking behind them,
pedestrians who walk into traffice before looking,
a sighting of Mount Ranier in full glory,
the Cascade Mountains in the east
the Olympic Mountains in the west
beautiful people of every ethnicity
rhododendrons in riotous color
 skyscraperish cedar trees
emerald green grass
 heather in bloom
Mount Baker
Mount Ranier

I'm no longer in culture shock.
I'm in creation shock.

All because I have a God
in Heaven
Praise Him!

(to see Montana through the window)
(Montana in the rear view mirror)


  1. Makes me want to come visit again, as long as I don't have to drive:-)

  2. Your list of things to watch out for was quite symmetrical! Love it!

  3. Isn't it a funny feeling to experience culture shock in your own country? This is not something people generally anticipate. Or maybe they do? I know that I didn't. It is a great feeling, though, when those new move anxieties start to melt away. Then one day that special moment comes...when you walk in the door and for the first time, your new home feels just like home!

  4. I lived in Seattle for a summer and did not have the appreciation for it as I just read. I was ever so glad to get back to Kansas where I was born and raised -- with hot summers and SUNSHINE. However, I've looked back over my life and realized I didn't appreciate in my youth what I would now 15 years later. There is much beauty there, but I was busy pouting about having to be there. Thank you for your wise words and beautiful pictures! (I must ask though...where in Kansas did you live? I've read other posts where you've mentioned Kansas and it makes me feel like we have a connection!)

  5. My family and I visited Seattle about 5 years ago~ we all loved it! With the rain we've been getting here in California this week, I feel like I'm in Seattle :)
    You asked about my source for the the little bags I stamped on, I found them on etsy:
    I've had so much fun stamping them :)


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