July 31, 2012 | Posted in:Uncategorized
I left Maryland in the summer of 2003. I never looked back. In my family, I was probably the happiest about the move. My older sister had one year of high school left and didn’t want to leave her friends and my little sister had her soccer. We had been in Maryland for 10ish years (I forget exactly how many…) and on the east coast for even longer, so the move was not an easy decision for my parents either. I, on the other hand, had just started a new school, never really feeling like I belonged, and as most teenagers are; I was busy trying to figure out where I fit in. A clean start in a new town sounded absolutely perfect to me.
It was probably one of the best things that happened for me. Would you believe that before the move, I had never even heard of Seattle? Now, you would be hard pressed to try to get me to leave this magnificent city. There were a lot of factors that have led me to where I am today, and that move was a big one. So returning to the east coast for my cousin’s wedding was a fun experience. It was fun to see what I remembered, and just how much I didn’t. It was also easy for me to tell that I didn’t belong there. Everyone walks around in suits and seems constantly busy. There is a stark contrast between DC and Seattle and while I was wandering around the Air and Space Museum I couldn’t help but wonder how different my life would have been had we not moved.
The city itself was only part of it. To be fair, I didn’t get much of an opportunity to explore DC this time as we were there for a wedding and to spend time with family. As my family is spread all across the globe, weddings are a nice way to bring everyone together for a few days. One of my goals for this trip was to go backpacking with my dad. We have never been, and as much as I credit who I have become to that move, I owe even more credit to my parents.
When we were growing up, my parents would drag all of us out into the woods. Camping, biking, hiking, rafting, skiing, waterskiing, etc. – you name it; my parents probably dragged us out to try it at least once. As a kid, I hated most of the activities my parents made us try. A bike ride on the C&O Canal was about the most painful thing we could do.
So when I started getting in to hiking and backpacking a couple years ago, my parents were baffled. I never did any of these things willingly as a kid and even when I was forced to, I would never admit that I actually enjoyed any of it. However, here I am, and I love the outdoors. I don’t know what changed, but I do know that I owe my parents for dragging me out so many times as a kid and exposing me to so much.
As a sort of constant reminder of how much my parents influenced me, a couple of years ago my dad gave me his old backpacking gear. I don’t remember him ever using it when I was growing up (it was hard enough to get us to hike, much less carry a pack), but they were artifacts of his life before us kids got in the way. So every time I go backpacking and take my dads old stove, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad with me, I am reminded of how awesome my parents are, and how they helped me become who I am today.
Sadly, I didn’t make it out backpacking with my dad this time around, but I did enjoy a nice afternoon hiking around Shenandoah National Park with my parents. The rolling green hills of the Appalachians were very different from the jagged peaks of the Cascades, and the East Coasts’ understanding of a waterfall is questionable at best, still it was nice to be out romping around the woods.
All in all, my trip to the east coast was enjoyable and it was fantastic to spend time with my family (Aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents included). I had fun revisiting my past though, I am very happy to be back in the Pacific Northwest.