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5 things I’ve learned after moving away from King County

(AP file photo/Elaine Thompson)

It’s been one year since I called King County my home. Like many people trying to find a cheaper house, my family headed north in search of wide open spaces, fresh air, and a two-car garage.

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These are my observations over the past year about the differences living in King and Snohomish Counties (completely unscientific, of course).

Traffic: There’s hardly ever a conversation with a new acquaintance that doesn’t include talk of traffic, especially when they learn that I work in Seattle. How long does it take you? When do you leave? Do you take the bus or train?

The Sounder train is a giant tease. One of the reasons we conceded to this long commute into Seattle was because of the proximity to the ferry, Paine Field, and the train. But unless I want to spend money on a early morning nanny, I won’t be on the morning train for a few years. Why? Because the last train headed south departs before 8 a.m. The school bus for my kids arrives at 8:30 a.m.

Sometimes I drive through the I-5 Park and Ride near me just for a laugh. I think, “I’m going to spend 90 minutes on the bus! Maybe I’ll get something done.” But I never find parking, so I hop on the freeway and get to work in 60-75 minutes.

Politics: While there isn’t as much talk about politics here (so far removed from the drama that is the Seattle City Council), it does come up. Either there’s not enough change or there’s too much — mostly as a result of more people moving into the area. There’s also a fear of inheriting some of the same problems as the city — homelessness being the big one.

Family: It’s tough to prove, but it appears kids here have a little more freedom to explore independently. I notice more kids in the streets playing without adult supervision. I’m still the only mom at the bus stop in the morning. I’m sure that won’t last much longer. Soon enough they’ll be dropping me off at the train station.

Smoking: This is an odd one, but I do notice more people smoke in Snohomish County. Or maybe it’s just more visible. More people are in a car, in December, holding a cigarette out an open window. Or standing outside a restaurant puffing away.

Food, culture: Finally, there’s a limit to good restaurants and good entertainment outside of King County. But it’s not surprising.

Going to a Whole Foods is a trek, but doable. New restaurant openings rarely make the news, but they do happen. And there are options available at the Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett. Smack Down Live is here in February and Xtreme International Ice Racing after that.

I’m certainly not complaining as leaving the big city behind, with all its noise and culture, on a Friday afternoon only to return Monday morning, is what I signed up for.


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