I celebrated New Year’s in the wonderful city of Seattle. It didn’t rain when I was there. Well, until the morning I left and my plane was delayed. Whatevs, I had two full, beautiful days in Seattle and was almost convinced to move there after grad school. Here’s the thing—Seattle is a great city. There’s a great neighborhood feel to it, and yet it still has big-ass buildings to make you feel like you’re somewhere important. Yes, I do require big buildings to make me feel like I’m somewhere worthwhile. Big buildings convince me that I’m part of civilization. It’s a personal thing, probably resulting from living in small towns outside of New York for most of my life. On my first full day, my wonderful tour guides took me to the original Starbucks (obviously) and then through Pike Place Market. The concentration of “hippy” arts might overwhelm some, but since I live in Madison, WI, it barely registered. However, I did enjoy seeing some kitschy art and eating delicious fish and olive oil samples. I saw some crabs being tossed and enjoyed the lonely troubadours (at least one per block). There are definitely TOO many troubadours in Seattle. Don’t go there Ian.

We walked around downtown and then made our way to the iconic Space Needle on the equally symbolic monorail. It was at this point that I expected to see or hear Kelsey Grammar spout some psychiatric wisdom. (b t dubs, does anyone have any wisdom to spare? I’m listening… Also, did you know that Kelsey Grammar’s first name is Allen? Weird.) The Space Needle and surrounding gardens were impressive. We did not go up to enjoy the view because it was at least $16. I was tempted to try getting the youth fare, but my companions wouldn’t have passed. I’m past that age where I’m embarrassed to get a youth fare—I’m at the age where a cheaper fare means more to me than my dignity. I mean… After the space needle, we wandered back to Pike Place Market along the water and stopped to get some fried fish.

Overall, I loved walking around the city. The concentration of hipsters and hippies did not frighten me, and I actually enjoyed the amount of troubadours downtown.On my second full day in Seattle, my companions and I drove to the Cascade Mountains. To be honest, I forget the town to which we drove since I was mesmerized by the view. Ever since I moved to the Midwest for college, I’ve yearned for some mild elevation. Give me some elevation—a hill, a mountain, even a slight rise in terrain. We got to the Cascades, and I was blown away. First of all, it was gorgeous. The rocky peaks of the mountains were covered in snow, and the sides of the mountains were populated by snowy evergreens. Second of all, the sheer size of the mountains at once put me at ease and impressed me. We spent part of the afternoon playing in the snow like children. We threw snowballs, shoved snow down each other’s snow-pants and took advantage of the soft ground to wrestle each other into oblivion. We even made snow angels.

It’s a perfect location. Seattle is on the water and is so close to snowy mountains that you almost can’t resist moving there. However, it rains too much for me. In a year, fewer than 60 days are clear. Perhaps in time, I could learn to appreciate clouds, and to get past overcast weather. After all, it offers so much in culture, scenery and atmosphere.