Kelly O

Alison, User Experience Designer

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Kelly O

Where did you move from?

Chicago—specifically the Logan Square neighborhood. More specifically, a neighborhood that I was a little scared to live in 13 years ago.

Why Seattle?

A job with Amazon. I'm sorry.

How do the rent prices and apartments compare?

I owned my house in Chicago, but I'd guesstimate that now I'm paying about $500 more for 500 square feet less. More is less, right?

What do you miss from your hometown?

Car washes. The kind where you pay $12 for six guys to descend on your car with toothbrushes and Q-tips while you wait in a lounge lit by a flickering fluorescent bulb and watch Univision. Yeah, I get that it basically rains nonstop here and there's no salt on the roads to eat a hole through your car, but I still like a clean dash and shiny tires.

What's the weirdest thing about Seattle so far?

People park facing both directions on both sides of the street, not just in the direction of traffic. What?!? And there are intersections with absolutely no signage. What what?!?


Cody, Musician

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Kelly O

Where did you move from?

I moved from Oakland, California... been here two months.

Why Seattle?

I wanted to move because Oakland has changed a lot, and I was feeling disconnected and alienated. I did want to stay on the West Coast, so I thought about going back to Portland—I grew up there—but I don't really know anyone there anymore. I've always loved Seattle. Oh, and the other main reason—I fell in love with someone here.

How do the rent prices and apartments compare?

I'm paying way more now, because in Oakland I had four roommates. When I moved here, I decided I didn't want roommates anymore and I live by myself now. Well, it's me and the cats. Rents on Capitol Hill seem about $500 less than they were in Oakland, and about $1,000 less than San Francisco.

What do you miss from your hometown?

I miss a lot of people. SO MANY PEOPLE. But Seattle feels more like a city than Oakland. It's kind of barren there. For instance, when I was back there, we were looking for some crazy costumes for the band to wear at a show, but we couldn't find any vintage stores there at all. There's one in Berkeley, but that's it. ONE. Seattle has tons of vintage stores—they're all over the place.

What's the weirdest thing about Seattle so far?

Definitely a strong style thing happening here. And the gender benders here are so fluid. Style fluid, gender fluid. Everyone can wear lipstick, and nobody cares. Like, I saw an old man in QFC, and he didn't seem gay but he was wearing a dress. I thought, "Damn, that's cool."


Osman, Refugee

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Kelly O

Where did you move from?

Kenya, where I was a refugee from Somalia. It is not a crime to be a refugee, I was forced to go live in Kenya with my family at the age of 4 years old. My life as a refugee there was very hard. In 1993, my family lived in Mombasa. At first, we had to live in tents.

Why Seattle?

I've been here since December. I'm living in a temporary place. I hope to get an education here. I hope to be a doctor someday because I want to help other people. I'd like to help people like the IFRC [International Federation of Red Cross] does in Kenya.

How do the rent prices and apartments compare?

I don't know yet, but when I send $50 American to my mother in Africa, it's almost 4,000 in Kenyan money.

What do you miss from your hometown?

I miss my family—all my brothers and sisters, mother, and father.

 

What's the weirdest thing about Seattle so far?

The rain is so different than Africa. It is a challenge to walk in the rain. I also cannot find chamomile mint tea.


Lesley, Molecular Biologist

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Kelly O

Where did you move from?

I moved here from Oakland, California. Not in the worst neighborhood, but there were two shootings RIGHT in front my house there.

Why Seattle?

For several reasons. I love Seattle, even though I don't have any family or connections here. From the very first time I visited, it just felt like it was where I belonged. The people here are so nice too. Also, my husband and I wanted a fresh start—we were in Oakland for a while and crime got really bad and rent got really high. I saw someone die in front of my house, and that really solidified our plans to move.

How do the rent prices and apartments compare?

Our Oakland rent, for a small house, jumped from $1,250 to $2,550 pretty quickly. Now we pay around $1,300 for a one-bedroom here in the Ballard-Phinney Ridge area.

What do you miss from your hometown?

Diversity. Seattle seems kind of homogenous. I haven't found any good Mexican food yet, either. I miss friends. My chosen family is still there.

What's the weirdest thing about Seattle so far?

The fact that everyone brings up the "Seattle freeze." Every person I've met! I have just never experienced that—people here are insanely friendly so far.