Seattle is different.  Everyone is a hipster, but they hate the word.  No one knows how to drive here.  There is an air of passive aggressiveness on everyone’s lips.  Everyone is nice, but most people aren’t friendly.  I have made a few friends here, mostly from work.  If I were back in Kansas City, I would have had dozens of friends right now.  I think I am trying, but I just have no stickiness with people here.   Maybe I stick out too much by being too mid-westernern, or too Canadian for people.  I am not sure.  Maybe my mentality of just being plain spoken doesn’t resonate well with the people here. 

Still, one of my best friends here is from New York, and in the 6 months I have known her, everyone I meet with her loves her, but she secretly tells me she has no true friends here.

Is it Seattle, or do I not fit in here?  

I told my boss that if a position opened up in Kansas City, I would be more than happy to transfer back.  That shocked my boss, who has a lowly opinion of the flat, worn out city.  However, to me, Kansas City isn’t one of those Rust Belt cities.  It is vibrant, alive with people who always seeming to be as interested as they are interesting.  

Both KC and Seattle people are represented by their weather.  KC can be extremely hot with blindingly sunny weather with tornadoes, while Seattle is often dour with rain and a constant temperature that is neither hot or cold.   

I do love the scenic hikes and the lakes, and the proximity to Vancouver and Portland, metropolitans with infinitely more personality.  However, a town isn’t made by how interesting it’s architecture is, or the breaktaking scenery.  A city is a collection of communities and these communities are made up of people.  If you don’t like the people, you will never like the city.

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Leaving KC

People would tell me that I was lucky because I was getting the heck out of Kansas City. Kansas City is a place you left once you could, to go out into the bigger world and make a name for yourself. The people left behind are the ones considered the “losers”, the left-behind’s because nothing ever happens here.

Now I am in Seattle. It is a different town. Many of my co-workers are not from Seattle, but from elsewhere because Seattle is one of those destination towns. Texas, Jersey, California. I have family here, but right now, Seattle feels cold and dreary, similar to the weather. My new company is hip and cool, all my fellow employees are outgoing. However, I am still the outsider, I haven’t been accepted fully into the pack. So at this moment I miss KC.

Who knows what will happen in a couple months. My KC friends are telling me to visit. Right now, I would if my job didn’t keep me extremely busy. But like a breakup, the first few weeks are always the hardest and perhaps time and new friends will help me get over my longing to go back to KC.

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KC vs Toronto…

I am in the Air Canada Lounge looking at the grey sky that makes up the landscape of Rexdale, a suburb 20 minutes north of Toronto.  Toronto is the city it’s citizens call the “Centre of the Universe”.  The residents of my home town have a fierce loyalty to their metropolis, to their mantra that Toronto is a mosaic of cultures, has lovely architecture and unique urban living.

But I miss Kansas City,  a town not really known for that much culturally outside of BBQ.  Whenever I mention how I sometimes love KC more to fellow Torontonians, I often get a mix of surprise, offense and sardonic curiousity.  How dare one of their own, a person who began life in Rosedale, then grew up in Richmond Hill and then live his adult like in Etobicoke critize the CENTRE OF THE UNIVERSE!

Easy….KC doesn’t have the nightlife Toronto has, it doesn’t have the variety of choices when it comes to restaurants or lounges….It doesn’t even have a hockey or basketball team!

What KC offers is a city like atmosphere with a small town community.  I have easily triple the friends I have in Toronto than I do in KC, but I never feel lonely in KC.  I never feel out of touch, never like an ant in an anthill.

I feel that Toronto offers me alot of superficial experiences, emotions that sit on the surface.  Friends come and go and we all have our separate lives.

Kansas City has soaked into my bones,  I love the people here, even if I am of a small minority.

I recently accepted a job offer that will move me to Seattle.  When I came back to Toronto, friends have mentioned that I must be relieved to be leaving the middle of nowhere USA.  I nod and smile, not wanting to explain to them that I will be missing KC more than I ever would Toronto (which I’ve left twice already) and hoping that Seattle will be the town that KC is and that I feel Toronto will never be.

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There is no Greener Grass.

I met Steph on the subway.  We had gone to college together years ago where we had great visions of our future even though we weren’t doing much with our time there.

She asked what I did.  I told her that I worked for a Fortune 500 company as a Marketer, travelled 100 days in the year and was the perennial bachelor.  Her cheeks flushed slightly, a reaction I knew represented jealousy.  I had the career she had always wanted, to become a businessperson that travelled the world making a difference in a macro way.  A tear began forming in her eye.

We left the train together and we went to a small bar to talk.  She told me that she fell in love in her senior year, got married and became a housewife, supporting her husbands small retail store.  I asked to see pictures and she pulled images of a smiling Steph with a loving husband and two priceless pictures.  They lived the suburbs, in a house that even had a white picket fence.  She told me that she loved her family but seeing me brought back all the failure she perceived in her career. 

At the end of the day, I think she just needed to vent.

We left together and I kissed her on the forehead.  She smiled as she headed back to the subway station.   Being close to my Mom’s house, I walked.  Two blocks in, my eyes became moist with sadness.  Although she thought her life was a comprimise, I was envious of it. She went home to a loving husband and kids.  I often left a gala event to an empty apartment.  I lived a life where I moved every 2~4 years.  The company was my wife and kids.

There is no such thing as greener grass in a person’s life.  There is no such thing as perfection.

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Long Distance Relationships

You meet the woman of your dreams, but she isn’t from where you are.  You fall in love, claim to love each other forever.  However, things are temporary as she has to leave.  You promise to stay in touch and one day love will bring you back together again (To paraphrase the great Taylor Dayne…lol).  However, as time goes by, the communications becomes less passionate, the timing more erratic.  You go from unseparatable lovers to monotonic friends to near strangers.  The dream you have to become united again in a foreign land becomes a distant memory.  One day, you begin forgetting what she looks like and you meet another woman.  She isn’t the woman that she was, but she is kind, pretty and available.  You make the decision. 

I’ll always love you, but I am leaving our dream behind.  I am beginning life anew.

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