I haven’t hung out much with my old friends from Seattle the last six months because I don’t get in there much and only two of them have come out to see us. This weekend we had a party and some folks came out which was very cool. But a couple things were said that made me feel bad. First was “Nobody can figure out why you wanted to move all the way out here. We just can’t understand so we think it must be because you had to in order to be near your horses,” and “What can you possibly find to do out here???” Unfortunately, the latter question was posed to my husband so I couldn’t answer it. So, I will answer both questions here. First is - what can you possibly find to do out here?
This is what my daughter does:
1. Goes to school.
2. Goes to piano lessons once a week.
3. Goes to riding lessons once a week.
4. On Tuesday evenings we meet friends at a cafe for hot chocolate and do art
5. For camp this year she’s chosen jump rope camp and pony camp
Her other options for camp are: martial arts, lego engineering, mad science, soccer, basketball, rock climbing, star wars fighting skills, cartooning, art, fashion design, intro. to wilderness survival, intro. to farming to name a few. But we could only afford two and she chose jump rope and pony camp.
6. In her spare time she runs out the door and yells, “I’m going out to play!” and either plays outside with the kids in the neighborhood or they go from house to house to play. Sometimes they end up here.
7. If one of parents is going or the neighborhood teenagers are willing she runs off through the woods to the park with them.
8. The kids like to ride their bikes, skate boards and scooters around the neighborhood and do tricks. It works well because we actually do have sidewalks beside being “out in the middle of nowhere”.
9. Her school takes field trips to the Children’s Theater, Pacific Science Center, the Zoo and the Aquarium just like the Seattle schools. At her school out here they have a multi-acre playground with a full baseball diamond, full basketball court, two play areas with swings, slides and climbing structures and a big grassy field. At field day we had two giant bouncy houses along with the regular sports events and a DJ who played dance music except when one of the parents was teaching African dancing, then Zumba, then the Macarana . Close to half the kids at the school come from immigrant families - mostly Indian, Latino, and African so their parents have a lot of cool stuff to share from different cultures.
What do I do way out here?
1. I do the regular mom stuff and keeping up the house/laundry plus driving the kid around
2. I work in my garden and on the community garden.
3. I go jogging now because I don’t have to go down city streets I can go jogging in the woods.
4. I work with my horses only now it takes me ten minutes to get the stable instead of fifty.
5. For entertainment we go to parties with our neighbors (who have a lot of parties) or we go to the movie theater that’s a mile away, or we go out to dinner - within a mile of us are a variety of good restaurants: Thai, Vietnamese, Sushi, Italian, Greek, diner, steak house. And of course Red Hook Brewery and the wineries.
6. The wineries and Marymoor Park have outdoor concerts in the summer
7. I go to free gardening seminars (they have things like that out here) or clinics pertaining to horses.
8. I started a book club (something I couldn’t get anyone in my old neighborhood interested in doing with me) and now the majority of the women in the neighborhood come to that.
9. For as often as we go to the ballet, opera and big theater (like The Rep) we can just go into Seattle for that. And OMG - they actually have theater out here too.
10. Cost of living and classes out here are so cheap that now I’m trying to fit into my schedule taking weekly Zumba, bellydancing, yoga and Tai Chi classes. I think Zumba and Tai Chi are my top priorities.
11. When I have the occasional and rare down time I like to walk in the woods and bird watch. And look for wild bunnies and frogs and salamanders.
12. Shopping is easier because the big box stores like Ross and Target are in walking distance along with outlet stores (aaaaah ... love outlet stores ...)
So, that’s how we keep ourselves entertained out here in the god-forsaken middle of nowhere. Somehow we find time for those activities after makin’ our bathtub gin and blowin’ sh*t up.
I know that there is more to do in the city - I just don’t know what it is because it’s not stuff I’m at all interested in. And I know my city friends would be really bored out here because the stuff there is to do is not what they are interested in - which is why they can’t for the life of them wrap their heads around why I would willingly want to move out here. So, I’m hoping maybe some of those folks who are so confused about why I wanted to move out here can read this and understand that I just have very different interests than them and that I *enjoy* the stuff there is to do out here.
There really *are* people that are living in the rural suburbs because they like it better there - not because they couldn’t make it in the city. There is nothing wrong with having interests that pertain to rural areas. And probably the biggest reason I moved out here - people here get me. They understand why I enjoy living here. I don’t have to constantly try and explain it to them and have them look at me like maybe I have brain damage or something because who in their right mind wants to leave the city??? It was actually really lonely living somewhere that I didn't fit in and where people acted like I must be crazy because I drove so far every weekend to be near things that interested me. I've been so much happier the last six months because I fit in here. This is my home.