It's not as if I was living on bread and water, in fact, considering I was working in a fast-food joint, I never had to worry about eating, since I could take home all the chicken I wanted from what the customers didn't want.
I was also living in a studio apartment(that went for $326 a month. Beat that, Seattle!) that was within two blocks of a library, a record store, a clothing store, three restaurants, a bank, a grocery store, and work. Also, if I wanted to visit my parents, they were only a half-mile walk, and about that much further if I wanted to see a movie.
Sometimes, at night, I'd go out to the side of the apartment complex, where there was a nice patch of grass and a pine tree, listen to Joni Mitchell, and watch the cars go by. I'd look at all the signs at the gas station, the grocery store, all the corporate electric signs, and draw comfort from them. Yes, heresy if you're an artist, right? But this gave me courage. Especially the gas station signs. This represents travel. Travel represents freedom, to start a new life, to explore.
And so, 3 weeks before I left, I bought a ticket from Greyhound for $69.00, but my Dad talked me into letting him drive me up there. We started at 5 AM, went up Hwy. 287 to Denver, then into Cheyenne and Casper, up through Billings, where we stopped at my Godparents' house so I could say "Hi!" real quick, then it was on through Western Montana into Coeur d'Alene. I had only slept for a short time before we started, but I was determined to stay awake for the whole trip. I love long road trips, and I have to see every mile of it! So before we made it into the Idaho Panhandle, I was asleep at the time, fortunately, when Dad hit a rough ice patch, and nearly lost control of the car.
So, finally, into Washington State, through Spokane, then miles and miles of snow-covered farmland, utterly boring, until we got to The Cascades, and good Lord, the mountains! Against a background of absolute white, the mountains looked as if they had been chiseled out of the white! At last, we arrived in downtown Seattle at about 2 in the afternoon, Sunday, Feb. 27, found a gas station, where I bought a map, and called Mom to let her know that we had arrived safely. I then gave dad a few hundred dollars to get home on. After that, we stopped at the Northgate Mall, where I roamed around and stretched my legs. Then we got something to eat on Aurora, where I promptly bought a paper, and found the place I'm living in now. My landlord at the time was nice enough to let my Dad spend the night before he took off. That's the kindest thing I've ever seen Gene Yiu do. About two weeks later, I got my job at Walgreens, and the rest is history.
I love Seattle. I feel married to it. For almost 20 years, it was my dream to come back, and I'm happy to have lived it for this long, and I hope to never have to leave again.