Moving from Portland to Seattle: 2023 in a Nutshell

Moving from Portland to Seattle: 2023 in a Nutshell

I find it therapeutic to write a new year’s post and, since I’m trying to write more, I figure it wouldn’t hurt to write a little a bit about the year I moved from Portland to Seattle. 2023 was a year of massive change, both good and bad, and while I strangely feel more lost than settled, I think my new perspective on life as a working mother has been invaluable.

The move

First off, I moved. During the last week of April 2023, we made the big move from Portland to Seattle. Both husband and I found new jobs in Seattle (at the same time!) and figured that was a sign that it was meant to be. We were worried about how Portland had fallen as a city, and as someone who wanted to still pursue a career, Seattle had a more attractive job market.

Moving with a baby and a cat in tow is not easy. Thanks to the help of grandparents we survived the move, but between that and a new job, I feel like an exhausted husk of a woman. While we are not fully pleased with our rental house in Seattle, it is in a very safe suburb, which is exactly what we wanted after Portland, where I had homeless people come to my door and saw a car get jacked while walking Lena. The mental relief that comes with not having to worry about safety is a big one indeed.

I do have to say that leaving Portland was agonizing. Saying farewell to my first home and the neighborhood I grew so attached to was downright heartbreaking. Portland was the first place I lived in for 5+ years since coming back from China. In fact, husband and I are still so tender about our departure of Portland that, when we went back to visit a few months ago, we didn’t have the heart to visit our old neighborhood. Even now, we miss Portland deeply.

Seattle ain’t all bad, though. The emerald city has amazing nature and lots and lots and lots of lakes. While I appreciate all of the things Washington State and its surrounding areas have to offer (Olympic National Park, Cascade National Park, Canada’s Vancouver & Victoria, and more!), the sprawl and traffic are slowly killing my soul. Plus, living in Seattle and eating shitty suburb food makes me realize just how amazing the food scene is in Portland.

The job

In Seattle I finally landed the international relations job of my dreams. I’m finally working in a job where I get to work in cross-border relations in a commerce setting and help boost trade incentives. All said and done, it’s the coolest job I’ve ever done. Dream made in heaven, right? Well, that would be the case if it weren’t for…

My manager from hell.

Let’s just say, the treatment from my (female) manager has been so horrific that it has resulted in formal action and may potentially go to lawsuit. It’s the worst treatment and outright bullying I’ve had to endure since middle school, and while I am fighting back, I have to say..

Damn. It is fucking tiring to be fighting for justice. No wonder people just quit.

While I hope I can find a way to stay in my current role, unless circumstances change I’m afraid that I may not be able to keep my dream job much longer due to the mental strain.

New perspective on life

People often say that after having kids your perspective on life completely changes. I have to say that, in a nutshell, that is exactly what happened to me as well. When my husband is making dinner, the sun is setting just right, my daughter is laughing as she tries to pet and chase the cat, and I’m sitting on the floor basking in the glory of it all, I can’t help but think to myself: I really have it all right here.

For the first time in my life I don’t want an ambitious career or feel like I have to make a name for myself. I just want to enjoy life with my husband, my daughter, and my cat.

Now this doesn’t mean I want to be a housewife. I still like working. I’m more than ready to take a lower stress job that gets me out of the house and makes some money, yet still enables me to spend meaningful time with my family.

My little girl

The first six months of motherhood are so traumatic that, honestly, it’s like a black box in my memory. It’s hard for me to remember why I was so miserable during the first six months, but I do know it was equivalent to some level of hell in Dante’s Inferno.

Now, however, my little daughter is one years old and she’s an absolute joy. It’s been rewarding seeing her evolve as she rolls, walks, eats independently, and now speak a few words. My daughter’s smile is so pure and sweet that it literally lights up whatever shitty day I might have had. It also helps that my daughter can now run around and do things on her own, meaning I don’t have to literally be tethered to her 24/7.

Oh yes, my husband executed a brutal regiment of sleep training while I was on a business trip. Although watching my daughter cry on the baby camera caused me much mental anguish, the training paid off and now our daughter is sleeping through the night. It has been a blessing to now sleep through the night, and I thank my husband deeply for giving me the best gift of the year.

What’s in store for 2024?

It’s hard to say. It’s been kind of a bleak last few months with the drama at my work, but I hope it will get resolved in January and I can look ahead to the future. Husband and I are also thinking about where to go after Seattle despite just moving here. While I don’t regret moving to Seattle, it has made me realize what I really value in life and I hope I can reclaim that as I move forward in a more slow-paced lifestyle.

Happy New Year everyone!

One thought on “Moving from Portland to Seattle: 2023 in a Nutshell

  1. Work does sound bleak–I’m glad you hopefully have a lawyer in your corner (if you don’t, you know my sister literally wrote a book on employment law, though not in your state). It’s exhausting fighting for justice, you can see why folks would just throw in the towel so they can move on with their lives. I hope you have the energy to keep fighting though it’s awful to live through.

    So glad Lena is easier now. My kid was consistent, but I know a lot of moms who had rough babies that were so much easier as toddlers–and vice-versa. No one escapes being put though hell by their child at some point! It’s nice to know your family brings you such joy. If you can find a fulfilling job that also allows for family time, that’s huge.

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