If you are a frequent reader of the blog, you’ll know that for the past two or so years, since I’ve been married, I’ve been living with my husband in Canada. I actually, got married, worked my last month in my social service position and then flew to Saskatoon where he and I spent our first few months planning a move from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to Waterloo, Ontario. Well, this time, we decided to go back the other way, plus a little further… all the way into the US.
When James and I got married, we explored how we could live together since he is a Canadian citizen and I am a US citizen. He applied for his green card and 1.75 years later, we were crossing the border. James was fortunate enough to take a new position for a company that allows him to live and work remotely. Seeing as the only requirement for our move was “within the US”, we decided to fulfill our long-time dream of living on the West coast.
Why Seattle? Isn’t it rainy there?
As in all things, we try to be mindful of finances and lifestyle. Washington state does not have a yearly income tax requirement. We will still pay Federal taxes, but it is nice to omit the state tax each year. Washington state make sup for this by having a higher sales tax; I’ve seen $0.09 to the dollar since arriving. This wasn’t too much of a deal for us since we were paying $0.13 in what is called “Harmonized Sales Tax” while living in Ontario. We also considered Oregon, just below us, who seem to have the inverse of this setup. It was an easy decision for us; With less state tax to pay out each year, we could catch up on student loan debt much faster. Are there any more states that omit yearly state income tax? Yes: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Wyoming and New Hampshire. My one word of caution re: planning a move based upon this? Do research about how this is balanced, ie: high property or land tax.
On a much less practical note, I’m a nature lover. I like being in the woods and driving through the mountains. I used to enjoy hiking and camping in my hometown of Asheville, NC prior to moving. Even though it was completely do-able in Ontario, I felt it was too cold for me, personally, to enjoy it. Specifically, in the area we frequented, much of the nature scene was farmland. So, although we were surrounded by rolling hills and beautiful sunsets, you can’t camp in someone else’s yard… without them getting pretty irritated with you.
Seattle is also a very busy place and has a thriving tech scene. We initially moved to Waterloo, Ontario because we’d heard of it being the “Silicon Valley of the North”, however, when we arrived, we couldn’t really tap into this. It felt that Waterloo was more of a suburb filled with a high percentage of tech workers per capita, but was far from a bustling tech “scene”. Many of the meetups we attended seemed to be mostly college students. It was wonderful for them, but a bit awkward for us past college years. Perhaps it has changed since we left.
I also have to admit that I am a crunchy hippie at heart. Even if I don’t attend, I like an outspoken community. I like being around other nature lovers, whole food lovers, those who walk to the store and bring reusable bags with them. I like composting, recycling and buying pthalate-free and sulfate-free shampoo. I use rock deodorant and am a big fan of the diva cup for environmental purposes. This isn’t to say that this person didn’t exist in Waterloo, and to be fair everyone I knew brought their own bags and recycled, but I do think that this person exists in droves in Seattle. These days, I’m looking for “my tribe”. And, Seattle seems to be where my tree-climbing, espresso-drinking, whole-food-eating tribe has gathered.
My love for all-things-Japanese can also be continued here. Waterloo had a thriving pan-Asian community and one food trend in particular that I happily discovered was all-you-can-eat sushi. My husband and I went almost every week to a new place this summer. I was also very happy to understand that there is a thriving pan-Asian community in the Seattle area with a healthy, healthy love for sushi and traditional dishes. I’ll be diving into some first-days discoveries of H-Mart and “Kaiten” sushi in a future post.
Another big reason that we chose Seattle over a smaller town is the population density. James and I have a few projects on the go of our own that we want to lift off the ground. We found it extremely difficult to network in a smaller area, in spite of an interested and talented pool of people. Right now, our outside projects need a city. We also like a good music scene, and even though Toronto was only 1.5 hours drive from our apartment, we were just far enough away for it to feel a world away.
A little side note the on the doom-and-gloom comments many faced us with about the amount of rain here. James and I have been settled here for about 5 days now and we haven’t seen rain yet. I’m sure we will see some soon, but so far we’ve seen 70 degree temperatures with well maintained temperatures into the evening. It is as mild at nighttime as it is during the day. We’re wearing t-shirts and its September. This is insane to us because just a week ago, we were wearing leather coats in 45 degree weather in Calgary, Alberta. Rain is also not that big of a deal to us. Its a relatively small price to pay to keep everything lush and green year-round; It’s also not snow or ice.
So, a few notes on some upcoming posts. I’m hoping to be able to finally dive into our Immigration process experience to help others who may be going through a similar process or are just curious as to how our process went, as well as the cross-country trip/move in hopes of helping those out there planning a long distance move with pets in tow!
As always, please leave any comments or questions below!