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Fierce in Seattle: Palms for Pines


A blogumn by Kelli Bielema

palmtreeI arrived to Burbank Airport on Thursday, December 11th to about 64 degrees.  The locals complained about the cold.  I was in a flop sweat.  Once at the home of my friends who were hosting my annual visit, I ran lines from a script with my pal Matt for his audition. I knew I wasn’t in Seattle anymore.  Next, I hopped in the car that my BFF Jen lent me, and I for sure knew I was definitely not in Seattle anymore.

Behind the wheel, I felt my shoulders tighten and my arms lock.  How did I ever drive in Los Angeles for 9 1/2  years?  Within my first 30 minutes on the road I had at least 2 SUVs cut me off and a semi truck that would not let me back into traffic–naturally I tossed him the bird.  Having moved to the Pacific Northwest, things are a little slower and not quite so aggro.  In fact, most of the issue with traffic in Seattle comes down to manners.  At a 4-stop intersection, it’s “you go.” “No, you go.”  “ Nah, you go.”  “Oh, no, you go ahead.”  There’s never any horn honking.  Even if the light has turned green and you need to politely nudge Joe Driver that he needs to scootch a skosh, tapping your horn a smidge is considered rude. I had to school myself when I moved to Seattle, but when back in SoCal, putting my defensive driver hat on, well, it was like riding a bike. Not that I would ride a bike there. Although, I wouldn’t ride one in Seattle either. I don’t trust my own skills, or lack thereof, on 2 wheels.  It’s hard enough with 4. 

potato-tacosOther than feeling a sense of relief that I don’t have to drive on the 405 or Los Feliz Boulevard at 5:00 p.m. on a Friday, I definitely became wistful about the city I lived in for a near decade.  I miss my very dear friends and our ritualistic “white elephant” holiday gift exchange party, gay brunch at Hamburger Mary’s in WeHo, shopping in Silverlake, Thai massage at Pho Siam (40 bucks, ya’ll!) and potato tacos.  Aye caramba, potato tacos.  My fave spots are Macho Tacos at the Los Feliz car wash on Vermont or the Los Burritos at Sunset & Edgemont.  (Note: If I still lived in L.A., I would not give the names of those places for fear they would be “discovered” and no longer precious to me. But now as a traveler, it is my duty to share the starchy love.)

This visit was probably my favorite of all.  When I tell my L.A. friends that, they ask “does that mean you are moving back?” to which I enthusiastically reply “No!”  And it’s not that I don’t treasure my time with them and want it to be more frequent, I feel Seattle is finally my home.  My new digs are cozy, with positive energy throughout.  My job is secure…presently.  My new friends are the kind that will be there for me when the rain starts to fall…as that awful sitcom theme song goes.  I feel confident. Ambitious. Safe. Happy.  And then it starts to snow. And drop to 15 degrees.  And I think about palm trees. And pine trees….

. Palm Tree Image: Swirly Girly – Potato Tacos Photo: Kelli Bielema