Building community, then letting go

We’re about to move back to the East Coast after 2 1/2 years in Seattle. If it seems like we can’t make up our minds, you’ve got the right impression! I’m going to miss being near my family and the familiar surroundings of the Pacific Northwest so much, but I am also excited about returning east to some of our closest friends. Things I’m excited about: public transportation, beautiful springs and falls, hot summers at the beach, vibrant city life, diversity.

But there will be many things I’ll long for, like the views of Mt. Rainier, the Cascades and the Olympic mountains on a clear day; the calm of watching ocean tides crash onto the boardwalk; the views of Puget Sound as I run through my parents’ winding neighborhood down to the beach; my neighborhood’s vibrant gardens and the verdant forest all around us; Seattle’s quirkiness and politics; the city’s many great restaurants and all the Asian and Asian-inspired cuisine; my local independent bookstore and Elliott Bay Books (there are dozens more to love); The Pantry, where I have learned so much about professional kitchens and benefited from the knowledge of great chefs; our alt weeklies; all the water; sunsets at Golden Gardens; UW and its glorious campus; the fresh air; and that feeling — elusive for an immigrant — of being home.

Sigh. Now this is getting hard to write.

The great thing is, I always have an excuse to come back. I can’t wait to visit my parents and enjoy Seattle as I have over the last decade-plus — as my little vacation city (and it makes a spectacular one).

Next time I come, there will be two more awesome things about this place that I can say I help built:

B and I have been part of bringing Subcontinental Drift, a South Asian open mic group, to Seattle. We have held two sold-out events where more than a dozen artists (including B!) shared their work, including comedy, rap, musical performances, spoken word and dance. We were so blown away by the talent we found, and I am so excited that the venture is going to continue after our time here.


The other was a group I created and billed, unoriginally, as Seattle Desi Moms. I wanted to meet more South Asian moms who lived in the city, and I sort of took a note from Field of Dreams and decided to build it. Today, more than 60 moms are part of the group. Together we’ve used the group as an excuse to leave the kids at home, get a night out to sample some of Seattle’s great cuisine, and made friends. Yesterday, I met four new moms through the group who have just moved to Seattle, and I’m so excited that one of them will be taking it over to make sure it carries on.

Our time in Seattle made us better people. Our daughter was born here, and we became a family of four. We lived in our first house, and we’ll always associate it with our children’s earliest memories. They went to two awesome preschools that not just taught them, but offered us so much guidance as we navigated life as new parents. And, hopefully, through our efforts, we are leaving Seattle a slightly better place, too.

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