Debbie suggested a start writing blog posts again, and I agreed. So let's get started!
I meant to keep my blog going as we were moving in and seeing things with new eyes, so I could log all the things that were "new" and "interesting," and then look back at that post in a few years and LAUGH and laugh and roll over and laugh some more because DU-uh, it's Washington! In preparing for that post (that obviously never happened) I mentally catalogued a few things. In no particular order, Washington (specifically Olympia) is:
1. Beautiful. Holy SMOKES this place is lovely! The trees are unbelievably tall. Things are green, green, and more green - plants, yes, but sidewalks! Walls! The dang TRUNK of the trees are green, because moss grows everywhere. It lends a magical quality to decidedly non-magical things like "gutters" and "sticks" and "that old tree stump that nobody bothered to clear away."
2. Wet. There is water EVERYWHERE - lakes, inlets, rivers, ponds, Puget Sound, the Pacific Ocean! I am so excited that we live so close to the ocean - I love me some Colorado and mountains, but I'm not a big traveller, so when our kids started pestering us about "when are we going to the ocean?" and we didn't even have plans to VISIT the ocean, I thought "this is going to be a long childhood." We satisfied their beach desires the very first week we were here, and they love it all. Love Puget Sound, love the Pacific, love the sand and crabs and sand dollars and boats and seagulls and (thank goodness) DON'T mind the cold. Our neighborhood is built around a lake, and we enjoyed walking down to the lake this summer, going every few days and staying for hours and hours. I LOVE living by a lake.
3. Gross. There are the biggest bugs I have ever seen in my life, and they're NORMAL here! Slugs that stretch from my thumb to my pinky, thicker around than any of my fingers, just sliding across my driveway! Like it's NORMAL! (Hint: It's not normal if you're not from Washington). Massive mosquitos. Spiders to scare the pants off you. But they are everywhere, and they are *considered* normal, so your job is to get used to them.
5. Sunny. Maybe it's because I expected all rain, all the time, so any sun took me by surprise, but the weather here is actually beautiful! Not hot (it got in the low 90's a few times and "extreme weather warnings" were issued - I laughed!!), but not as cool as I (forlornly) thought it would always be. Really just NICE (except the week my parents were here in May, when it got cold again), and we had plenty of sunny days through the summer and even the fall. I hear winter, starting about now through February, is where it gets unbearably rainy, so this may be one of those items I mentioned looking back on and laughing until I hurt myself.
4. Cared for. Earth day is a THING around here! I think Earth Day decorations outstripped all the other holidays we've been here for. NO STORES in Olympia use plastic bags; instead, you pay 5 cents to buy a paper bag, or you can bring a reusable one. This took the longest to get used to. Everybody recycles, and most things are recyclable. Composting is a thing - everybody does it! We have a garbage can, a recycle can, a yard waste can (all the same size), and then a composter in our back yard. It took some getting used to not just to chuck everything in he trash as usual, but they only pick up trash every other week, so it is NECESSARY. Being an outsider looking in, it's a whole bunch of little changes and who cares about reusing your bags or putting your egg shells in the compost instead of the trash? But now that I'm used to it, it seems perfectly normal that you should think about it, and how sad for all those people who don't think about it and just chuck it all in the trash! ... But I'm sure if I were hauled back to our old Pueblo digs I would look back on this time and think, "what weirdos we turned into!" I guess it's the bubbles you live in, and Olympia is a very (VERY) earth-oriented bubble.