I went to Seattle at the end of March. I have to admit I was not very enthusiastic about it. There is a story behind it. Today as I am writing this, I am so grateful I went. I had a wonderful three weeks.
I went to Seattle because of Jonas, my friend and my former mentor at Microsoft. He is one of those persons that if you didn’t meet him in your life, you missed out on something. Jonas knew about all my plans that I was going to stop working at Microsoft soon and that I was planning to move to Buenos Aires (over Barcelona). He supported me, as he always did, but he also kept telling me I should come to Redmond (Seattle), which is the Microsoft mothership. He said there are thrillingly exciting projects for a person like myself. I should at least catch a glimpse of them before I exited.
I was not so enthusiastic. I had made up my mind, I had my plans and I wanted nothing and no one to keep me from my way. Besides, I had just returned from Buenos Aires, where I had stayed for six weeks and Microsoft in Redmond looked like another planet to me. Yet I liked Jonas, he has been a great mentor to me, and a good good friend and I knew somewhere deep in my heart that he was right, that I should give it a try.
I have to tell you, I packed my luggage for the three weeks in Seattle only in the morning of my flight (I truly hate packing), which I also almost missed because of some complications at the airport. At that time I would have been indifferent if I did. Now in hindsight, it would have been such a pity.
Once I was there, Jonas and his family including the cat gave me a home in every aspect. It was lovely. With them, I discovered the city and the whole area. Seattle is made up of Seattle the city (west side) and two more towns on the east side of the lake: Kirkland, Bellevue and Redmond. The whole area is absolutely beautiful. You get the lakes, the mountains, the green grass, very kind-hearted and helpful people, with a European touch on top. If you are yearning for a bohemian kind of life, you will get that too.
I stayed at Kirkland but I walked literally everywhere. Waking is my latest passion. So I walked from Redmond to Kirkland, from Bellevue to Redmond, from Kirkland to Bellevue, miles and miles and miles. Everywhere is green, actually, forest with trails, so you always have the option to walk if you want to. I learned that Redmond equals Microsoft. The town is the company and vice versa. I so much appreciated the fact that Microsoft did so much for its employees’ wellbeing, so that they can work (and live if they please) in such a huge forest that smelled wonderful.
In the Seattle city, the Fairmont area is awesome. It has many many little coffee shops, where people hang out with their books or friends for hours and hours. It is right at the canal, so there are lovely sunsets. For those who are in tech like me, Google’s offices are also there, which have very petty views of this canal. By the way, Seattle also has great coffee, which they are proud of. The put every effort to make it the best and they succeed.
If you like the not-so-mainstream, alternative lifestyle, Capitol Hill will be for you. It is a lively part of the city, with many restaurants, shops and towns which are unique in their own way. You will see young people with hair in all colours, extravagant clothes hanging out on the streets. Very nice.
And then there was tango. Seattle has a lovely tango scene with beautiful dancers, who will be friends with you, will take care of you, will not only dance with you but also listen to you, will show you around and will be truly interested in you. Even before I went there, they created a FB group and put me in there, so that we could be connected during the three weeks I would be there. With them, I had not only great tandas at nice milongas but also new people in my life whom I would now call friends and would hope and love to see again.
Three weeks went by very fast, and I did get more than a glimpse of the thrilling projects at the Microsoft mothership. Also there I met wonderfully friendly, very smart, enthusiastic and kind people, who wanted to do a great job, while always caring for and respecting the others. I did not relocate to Seattle out of many reasons, which are true because of me and has nothing to do with the city and its people. These two are lovely. My heart is beating for my plans and I learned to follow my heart.
I am grateful to Jonas that he convinced me and the three weeks that Seattle has given me.