This is a strange trip for me. I usually fly towards the sun instead of away from it. When people heard I was coming to Seattle, some of my Uruguayan friends mentioned the music scene, and everyone mentioned the rain. I am going to disappoint all of them by saying that the music scene here is nothing to write home about, and neither is the rain; it has been deliciously sunny 70% of the time since I´ve been here. Oddly enough, what with the greenhouse effect and all, the beaches of Uruguay were so unbearably hot this year, that I was kind of looking forward to getting away from the sun´s UV radiation. With my sensitive white skin, I could only go to the beach after 6 PM, but I am thankful for the glorious sunsets I got to experience in Montevideo, Punta del Este, and Las Toscas.
It is no secret that I do not like the place America is turning into, but I also know that this is the place I need to be right now. I arrived in Seattle right before the Seahawks won the Superbowl. As a Uruguayan, I mostly thought this sport is about commercials; a little more so than our soccer, since you can watch a soccer game for a solid 45 minutes, without commercial interruptions. In any case, I was glad the home team won, glad that the sun was shining, and that strangers were ever so friendly in this town. This is something that never fails to amaze me; Americans seem to talk to strangers a lot, much more than Uruguayans. I have a theory that they are more isolated, they are less in touch with their families and have fewer close friends, and thus, they generally crave human contact. For me, all it means is that people are unexpectedly chatty and friendly on the street, so, no harm there. In fact, my boyfriend´s car broke down, and I was truly amazed at the amount of time strangers would devote to trying to help us out.
One of the hardest things I had to do before coming here was pack for several months. Fortunately, after many years of traveling, I am sort of a pro, and I´ve assembled the perfect suitcase sets; I have the most durable and reliable Samsonite carry-on ever and a large, red Tommy Hilfiger that looks new after 6 years, and my latest addition, “the lightest luggage on Earth,” a hot pink thing that weighs less than my wallet. Packing was tougher than usual this time around because I needed both winter and summer clothes, since I will be going to LA in the Spring and possibly to Europe in the summer. I did pay American Airlines for an extra suitcase, but at 60 dollars, I thought that was a bargain, considering the luggage piece in question was filled to the brim and slightly over the weight limit. I don´t know how I pulled it off, but I succeeded in moving my entire life in just three pieces of luggage and one mid-sized purse. In reality, all I really needed was my Murakami novel and some warm clothes, but I guess the rest won´t hurt.
My Seattle home gets sunshine from every window. There are some fruit trees in the backyard and some flowers, though there aren´t many fruits or flowers to be seen during this season. I haven´t really gone to the mountains yet, but I have experienced my second favorite thing about this town, namely, its many fabulous restaurants. Last night we ate at Mashiko, a sushi restaurant that only serves sustainable fish. Connoisseurs have named it the best sushi restaurant in Seattle for a reason. I cannot begin to explain the uniqueness of every dish I tried there, the impeccable service, the delicious vinho verde, and the gourmet japanese candy. I´ve also seen a really gerat concert by Frank Zappa´s son, and I´ve walked around the scenic hills of West Seattle in the blissful winter sun.
After having said so many times that Uruguay is the best place on Earth right now, for a variety of reasons, it may seem odd that I would choose to spend some time here. It is true, I don´t believe in America, but I do believe in people, and so, I am going to give Americans a chance.