Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Expat life: We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto!

“Turn things around sometimes and look at life from a different perspective.”
                                                      -- Jean Wilson

Two weeks ago we made the move.  Actually another move in the continuing saga of these two boomers who chose to ‘live differently’.

Unless you are a first-time visitor here, that ‘living differently’ isn’t news as we’ve been doing that for a year as full-time American ex pats in Greece. What’s new these days is that now we’ve upended the big city life we'd lived in the U.S. and planted ourselves in rural America. This latest move was prompted somewhat by our actions last year. . .

P1090387
Welcome to Chelan county!
When we moved to Greece last October – after 30 years of living in a Seattle suburb -- we didn’t realize just how far outside the norm we’d taken ourselves.

P1010073
Seattle, Washington from Puget Sound
In our quest for a ‘final fling’ (as we call our full-time expat adventure) we’d turned ourselves into square pegs that didn’t fit the round holes of those U.S. businesses, financial and medical institutions with which we were still affiliated. It didn’t take us long to learn that without a U.S. phone number and residence address (not just mailing address) to verify our existence, it was very difficult to deal with these folks. A foreign phone number and an address in Greece just didn't fit a U.S. verification form or protocol.

And our joking about 'living out of a storage unit and a hotel room' when in the Northwest was a joke.  It wasn't fun -- in the least.

P1090317
Moonlight over Manson, Washington
So, a year later and still living full-time in Greece, we’ve purchased a ‘seasonal home’ (that’s the name these days for vacation or part-time homes) in Manson. It's an unincorporated town, the size of a village on the shores of Lake Chelan in eastern Washington State.

That might sound to many reading this like we’ve simply ‘returned’ to Washington State. But, au contraire! Those who’ve lived here know that. . .

East is East and West is West!

And we’ve just had another seismic shift in lifestyle.

P1040812
View of Cascade Mountains from Kittitas County - Washington State
While the Cascade Mountain range physically divides the state, it is the differences in political leanings, lifestyles, traffic, weather, population density, housing prices and industry that creates the state’s real division.

PicMonkey Collage
Interstate 5 between Seattle and Tacoma, left; Highway 97 between Wenatchee and Chelan, right
No joke. There is often talk of the two sides going their own way; creating two states in the Pacific Northwest corner of the U.S. because of the vast differences in political leanings and lifestyles. The last ‘official’ proposal came from a group in 2015 who wanted to create two states: Washington to the west and Madison to the east.

P1020514
Road trips in Eastern Washington cut through wheat fields and pass grain elevators
Eastern Washington with its wide open spaces has a much smaller population density; one that is predominantly conservative in politics and lifestyle. It’s main industries are agriculturally based (wine industry, fruit, cattle, truck gardens).

Western Washington, home to Seattle and its suburbs, is jam-packed with people, traffic and housing density.  Technology’s Microsoft and industry giants Starbucks and Amazon got their starts  and continue to be major players in the area.  One can’t overlook the contributions of Kurt Cobain and Grunge music, as they, too, have helped create today's Seattle and its surroundings.The population is liberal in lifestyle and politics.

P1090311
On the road to Life at the Lake - Swauk Prairie, Kittitas County
We were both raised in the eastern side of the state, lived our adult lives in the increasingly jam-packed western side and now find ourselves back in the east – at least for what we anticipate will be a few weeks each year in our seasonal home.

Different shades of life make the painting more beautiful.
                      -- Mike Dolan

Small Town vs. Suburb

We've spent the last few weeks moving into life in Manson. It didn't take us long to realize that as Dorothy told Toto in the Wizard of Oz, we weren't in Kansas anymore!

'Moving Monday' as the day shall forever be known was a long sweat-inducing day of supervising and assisting the professional movers in the emptying of our suburban storage unit. We'd  left the suburbs in the mid-afternoon. A quick stop at the Manson house and then on to dinner at one of the two village pub/taverns. While eating, the desk clerk at the town's motel called to remind us that ther office would be closing in an hour at 10 p.m.Would we be there to pick up our key or did she need to leave it somewhere for us?

It’s a small town. Not a late night place. Not a 24/7 place. But a warm place.
Welcome to our other world.

P1090320
Welcome signs greet guests at the Mountain View Resort - Manson, Washington
We easily got the key as the motel is two blocks from where we were dining. It is also two blocks from our new house. Everything in Manson seems to be two blocks from each other.
It is a small town.

P1090336
The dock at Manson on Lake Chelan.
The moving van arrived at 8 a.m.Tuesday morning so we missed breakfast at the hotel (the office and breakfast both open at 8.am.) It was a long day of lifting, hauling, moving, thinking. Finally, unable to move another item, we headed to one of the several wine tasting rooms in the village. Wine tasting rooms are operated by wineries to showcases (by selling 'tastings' or glasses) their wines and provides an outlet for wine sales to folks who wouldn't travel into the countryside to visit the winery.

PicMonkey Collage
MVP Vintners made us feel like MVP's
It was 5:55 p.m. when we walked into the tasting room on the town's main drag. We asked how long they’d be open. “Six” he told us.

Sigh. Small town. Not a 24/7 place.

“We’ll try another down the street,” said The Scout to which Pete (our first new friend) replied,  “I am one of the latest to stay open, most close at 5.”  Then he smiled and added,  “I can stay open a bit longer. What will you have?  It is a great sunset tonight.”

Not late night. Not 24/7. A small town. A nice town.

P1090374
Lake Chelan between Chelan town and Manson
Thanks for being with us as we kick off our other side of life; that which will be known as ‘Life at the Lake’.  Next week I’ll give you a tour of this seasonal home of ours just before our month back in the States ends  and we head back to The Stone House on the Hill.  As always, we appreciate the time you’ve spent with us today and we hope to see you here again soon. Until then, safe travels to you and yours ~

Linking this week with:

Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday
Communal Global
Travel Photo Thursday – 
Best of Weekend

12 comments:

  1. Glad you have settled into your new US home, Jackie. It looks like an amazing area, and I'm looking forward to seeing what Life At The Lake is all about! Safe travels back to Greece!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks much Amy! We do love this place and love Greece so consider ourselves somewhat blessed to have good friends, neighbors and homes at both ends of our horizon!

      Delete
  2. I believe I could handle life at the lake just fine, except for winter. Much better than the hussle of the city.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually winter and summer are times to be away from this place. Tourists swarm the area in summer and sadly the last few years it has been buried in smoke from forest fires in the Northwest - six weeks straight this summer we were told, with three weeks so dense they couldn't see across the lake. And winter brings the heavy snow. Think we'll stick with autumn stays!

      Delete
  3. That is one part of the country l knew nothing about. Interesting how different from Greece. I laughed at thee closing at 6 and that they were one of the last to stay open late..haha! Adjustment needed. Can't wait for the tour of the house, and enjoy the rest of your time at the other home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a turn around from starting the evening at 7 or 8 p.m. that's for sure! Guess if we get tired of 'one of our worlds' now we can always spend time in the other and spend a couple weeks at each end adjusting to the body clocks!

      Delete
  4. Eastern Washington is most certainly gorgeous. Best wishes to you and your life in your part-time rural hometown.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eastern Washington this time of year is simply spectacular with its fall colors, crisp mornings, warm-to-hot days and clear nights! It will make for a good part-time life.

      Delete
  5. We know what you mean? My husband has lived in both sides if Washington. And, since he us originsori from Kansas, he has not left it, in a political sense. And I have lived in the western side of the state. Enjoy your different life!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you can relate to the different faces of Washington, Carol!

      Delete
  6. Hello, it is nice to have the vacation home. It is in a beautiful area, I have been to Lake Chelan and stayed in Stehekin. You have homes in two lovely places Greece and Washington state. I hope you are settled and comfy. The wine tasting sounds nice. Enjoy your day, have a great new week!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Your explanation makes a lot of sense and you certainly picked such a lovely place to move to Jackie. Wishing you the best of luck on both sides of the world.

    ReplyDelete

So happy to see you took the time to comment. We read them all - and each is much appreciated. We hope you will be a regular here and comment often!

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...