Strains of Seattle’s latest indie soul band rep filters over from Red Square, amplified in the chilling air. Hundreds of yards away where I sit solitary and undisturbed on the Kane Hall back patio, the music resonates cleanly and clearly. There’s a typical Puget Sound after-rain damp coating the ground, and a cocktail napkin had to be sacrificed before I sit down. Atypically, instead of the usual grey accompanying overcast skies, the leaves littering the table are a vibrant, fiery shade of fall. Compostable plastic food wrap in place, l lay out my spread: hot dog with relish, iced coffee, and a chocolate cupcake. Cost of lunch: $1. As l dig into my already not-hot dog, scores of college students rush past to get the free food and spirit swag celebrating the University of Washington’s 152nd birthday. The autumn breeze trickling down my back makes me shiver, lifting my gaze to the golden boughs above.
Seattle is beautiful. I feel the thought all the way down to my bones, and I know no matter where l travel in the world, this place really is my home. This strange patchwork corner by the ocean, where l am free to sit alone with a book amidst a crowd, l really love it.
And though l want to see the world, l would very much miss Fremont’s whimsy, Queen Anne’s hauteur, Sodo’s bustle, Shoreline’s calm, and Mukilteo’s recluse. I would miss unconventional conversations with strangers who all are artists in each their own ways.
I’m applying to study abroad in China for the following autumn, and the feeling of leaving home is a melancholy I’m eager to know. There’s an unbelievable pile of planning and paperwork for the application process, so I’ll post again when I can.