Hello from Seattle!

Sorry for the loooooong absence, friends! Managing EPF now falls under my ‘work’ time, and I had to cut way back on my work during July so that we could move from Durham to Seattle in time for Kyle to start work today.


SO MUCH has happened in the past few weeks for us and I have many interesting PF topics to discuss in upcoming posts that relate to our move. For today, I’ll just give you more of a personal update/overview of how the last few weeks have been for us.


Kyle’s last day of work at our graduate university was July 13. I did the bare bones work necessary on my business in the first couple weeks of July (no contract work), and then did almost no work while we were traveling. Kyle’s paycheck in July was painfully/hilariously small because of his half-month of work and normal amount of payroll deductions (insurance, 403(b)).


After a lot of research and price comparison, we decided to use a pod-based moving company. We ordered two (small) pods, which was the number recommended for our home size (actually, 2-3), but Kyle managed to pack everything into one pod! Everything went well on the pick-up end; the pod is being delivered to our new place in Seattle today, so I’ll write more about that when the process has concluded.


midway through packing the pod

midway through packing the pod


We took 11 days to drive from Durham to Seattle (July 15-26), so it was a combination move and vacation. (We drove only Kyle’s car.) The time off was fantastic and we had an amazing time together. It was a bit more stressful than we would prefer for a vacation because we were basically flying by the seat of our pants – we both would rather have things planned in advance. One complication was that Kyle’s phone died the day we left Durham and Sprint apparently has no coverage in the American West so my phone was next to useless for about a week. (This is honestly the first disappointment I’ve experienced with Republic Wireless in the three years I’ve been with them. I did have roaming service so we could make calls when absolutely necessary. Thankfully Washington has Sprint coverage.) I’ll go into all the details about the trip in another post (series?), but the highlights were visiting family and friends along the way, going to Six Flags, hiking in the Badlands, and touristing in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.


Because Kyle negotiated for a relocation package, all of our pod moving expenses and much of our cross-country trip should be reimbursed. We actually didn’t spend that much money on the trip when you compare it to the cost of two one-way flights and hiring someone else to transport our car. If we asked for everything to be reimbursed, it would only slightly exceed the reimbursement allotment, and we won’t ask for reimbursement for the purely vacation elements.


We moved to Seattle without housing arranged, so we got right to searching when we arrived. Thankfully, we had some friends who let us stay with them and helped ease our transition. We had a very small target area and had done a lot of research online prior to our trip. (Seattle’s rental market apparently operates on an immediate basis. Almost everything within our search parameters was “available now,” so we couldn’t develop an interest in specific properties in advance, only get an idea of the market generally.) We jumped to apply for the third place we toured (last Monday) and thankfully everything went through (last Wednesday). On Friday, we picked up our keys and have been staying in our place since! We still won’t have our stuff moved into the house for a few more days, but it’s all going pretty well and we were glad we were able to get this settled quickly.


Things about our new apartment that we were looking for/are excited about:

  • close to Kyle’s work
  • older building (cheaper rent!)
  • large living area
  • two bedrooms
  • not on a steep hill
  • residential neighborhood (cheaper rent!)
  • on a minor arterial road (easy to get out of the neighborhood)


our new living room, as seen from the kitchen. definitely the apartment's best feature!

our new living room, as seen from the kitchen. definitely the apartment’s best feature!



Things about our new apartment that did not fulfill what we were looking for/we are not exited about:

  • no in-unit washer/dryer (shared facility in our 6-unit building)
  • small kitchen, no dishwasher
  • lots of street noise


The main thing to highlight about the new place is that it is incredibly close to Kyle’s new job – only 0.2 miles away! Our search radius was 1.5 miles so that he could bike, but he can easily walk this distance in no time. I don’t think it’s quite sunk in for Kyle how amazing that is going to be, but I’m excited for him.


In the week or so we’ve been in Seattle, we’ve starting adjusting to our new city. First impressions:


  • Seattle is small, but rather dense. Having grown up outside of Los Angeles and DC, we are used to sprawl, but here the only direction to sprawl is north-south, and we are living only a couple miles from the downtown area. Everything is very, very close as the crow flies, but might take a few minutes to get to because of crossing water or traffic. Still, everywhere we’ve wanted to go so far has been within about 25 minutes, usually less than 15 minutes. We have definitely had a learning curve on driving/parking here so that has been more difficult than we anticipated.


  • Virtually every new person we’ve met is in tech/engineering! Amazon, Microsoft, and Boeing employ tons of people here. Kyle being at a biotech startup seems a bit unusual. This is very different from Durham where academia and medicine dominate.


  • The summer weather is amazing. It’s been sunny and “hot” (read: mid-eighties Fahrenheit) here most of our first week, so it feels amazing to us. I know this is going to last only a short time so I’m trying to enjoy it as much as possible. Other people seem to be outdoors a lot as well.


take-out lunch by a lake

take-out lunch by a lake


That’s all for now! Much more to come on all these topics and more in the next few weeks. I also look forward to being much more engaged in the blogosphere now that I have internet again. 🙂


Have you ever driven cross-country? How have you move your belongings for long-distance moves? What were your first impressions of your current city?


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25 Responses to "Hello from Seattle!"

  1. Fiby says:

    “Our search radius was 1.5 miles so that he could bike”
    Huh? To me biking radius is up to about 30 minutes of biking, which including stopping at traffic lights is about 6 miles.

    Anything under a mile I usually just walk. In professional cyclists (I haven’t seen a good study done on just mere recreational cyclists), low bone density is common because they spend so much time engaging in a non load bearing exercise.
    Now it’s probably not a concern for non-professionals, but I do try to mix in some walking into my transportation needs anyways.

    I too have a small kitchen and no dishwasher in my apartment. Didn’t like it at first, but it encourages me to keep it clean and organized because I can’t cook anything otherwise, so it’s not all bad!

    1. Emily says:

      That’s interesting about bone effects on professional cyclists. I think for us it wasn’t about distance but rather time. 30 minutes isn’t a terrible commute but it’s not great, either. I think for Kyle to give up driving the time outside (in the sun or rain!) would have to be pretty short. He loves driving. If we were living 1 mile away, he would want to bike. With 0.2 miles, he might be fine walking and perhaps we will buy bikes for recreation. We walked past his building yesterday on our way to dinner and it took us only 2-3 minutes to get there.

      We are pretty fortunate that his job is located very close (obviously) to two residential neighborhoods and fairly close to a mixed residential/commercial neighborhood. We definitely were not considering living 6 miles away (which is far, for Seattle) when we had these close options.

      I am definitely going to have to be more on top of the dishes than I was in the past with no dishwasher, if only for the counter space reduction! Perhaps we will only unpack a fraction of our plates/bowls/glasses (we have 12 sets) so there won’t even be anything to pile up.

      1. Fiby says:

        Ah now I understand – Kyle’s concern is about the commute time itself.
        For me, I hate city driving! I can’t bear to sit in traffic. Even if I sit in the same traffic on my bike, it’s not nearly as bad on my bike because a) I spend a far lower proportion of my time stopped and b) I enjoy the ride anyways.
        Highway driving is fine. My last long distance drive was about 10 hours of driving time but it only felt like 2 hours.

        How close are you guys to grocery stores and other errand running places?

        1. Emily says:

          Yeah, I hate city driving as well. I’m not a cyclist (maybe will become one here?) so I choose public transit when available.

          Not close at least by our standards for walking. There are some shops in our neighborhood but they are a bit further away (1-2 miles?). I think I’m going to continue with my meal planning and only grocery shop once per week and use the car (Costco is about 20-30 minutes away driving). This is definitely one downside to living in this residential neighborhood, but I think we can plan around it. We can walk (or bike) to the neighborhood with more restaurants/shops (we did last night) but I don’t know how often we will do that.

  2. I’ve driven from Massachusetts to Missouri with all of my belongings a few times (for college). It is a challenge to pack up all of your things, but it does make you prioritize what you really need!

    1. Emily says:

      Part of me wishes we could return to a college-level volume of belongings, but another part of me really likes (some of) our stuff. I think we would have purged more if Kyle had gotten a straight relocation bonus instead of reimbursement. That changed our decision-making slightly to favor transporting more.

      That’s quite a drive to be doing a couple times per year! I hope at least once you let yourself do it slowly to enjoy the route!

  3. Congrats on your move! It sounds like you found the perfect place. I have never been to Seattle, but hope to one day. Just need a good reason!

    And driving across the country pre-kids sounds fun too =)

    1. Emily says:

      Seattle is a pretty good place to tourist around – unlike Durham – so I hope we’ll see lots of our friends and family when they come through!

      We saw TONS of people on family vacations in Yellowstone, but I don’t know how far they drove to get there. 🙂 I really doubt we could have taken the seat-of-our-pants approach we did with this trip with kids.

  4. I think if we ever move again I’ll go the route of the pod system. I like it being able to be parked at your house and you load/unload at your convenience. I’ll be interested to read how it all turns out.

    1. Emily says:

      That was the main part we liked about it! What method(s) have you used in the past that you won’t be repeating?

  5. Exciting!

    I’m 6 miles away from work, but we’re really close to DC2’s daycare (maybe .2 miles?) and around 2 miles from DC1’s school. I just ordered a bike…

    1. Emily says:

      That is quite close! I hope biking goes well for you!

      1. To be honest, I am terrified.

        1. Emily says:

          I’m wary of cycling as well after my father and one of my close friends each got into serious cycling accidents in the same summer (TBI, teeth). I think we will buy bikes here, though, and start using them slowly/recreationally.

  6. Welcome back Emily! That apartment of yours looks spacious for me! I hope you get used to lots of street noise. Good luck!

    1. Emily says:

      That part of it certainly is spacious! The rest not so much. 🙂 The street noise hasn’t bothered me so far and I’ve been keeping the windows open.

  7. First of all, congratulations on completing the hard part of the move! Sounds like you guys had a pretty good experience with the Pod. We’re moving my partner in a week and ended up deciding to go with a U-Haul. To be honest we didn’t even think about the pod, but I kinda wish we had now.

    I love that you were able to find a place so close to work! That’s going to really help cut down on the commute! Are you that close to things like groceries/parks/basic needs? I have never been to Seattle, so I’m just trying to picture your new situation.

    It must be thrilling to be close to some big tech companies. All that creativity surrounding you!

    Hope you get settled in ok.

    Take care,

    1. Emily says:

      We looked at the walk score for the residences/neighborhoods we were considering. The one we ended up in doesn’t have an awesome walk score because it is so heavily residential. We are near one large, amazing park and a few smaller parks. We could buy milk within walking distance (convenience stores) but not proper groceries. The other neighborhood we were considering had an amazing walk score, but of course the commute would have been longer. Basically, we traded for a short daily commute, knowing that we’ll have to drive a bit a few times a week for food, etc.

      One interesting thing we found with respect to the big tech companies is that many of the employees are not permitted to talk about what projects they are working on. So they might be very creative in their work, but we won’t know about it!

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