With my one-way boarding pass in hand, I said goodbye to my friend, Sarah, at the security checkpoint, made my way to my gate and eventually sat down in the plane that would take me to my new home. I was taking a chance, stepping out on my own, seeing if the grass was greener and praying I made the right decision.

It’s been three years almost to the day (September 30, 2006) since I packed up my comfortable life in Chicago and headed west to the Emerald City called Seattle. I had no job, little money and really, no idea what I was going to do when I got there. The only sure thing was that my uncle would be on the other side to pick me up.

My three years in Seattle have been challenging, mind-opening and well, an experience. My nights haven’t been filled with bars or nightclubs by any means, but they have been filled with friendship and community. My days have been filled with a job that has been frustrating in recent months, but has given me experience that I never thought I would have. My weekends have been filled with running around Seattle, literally, as I trained for marathons and half-marathons—exploring the city at a 10 minute pace. My Sundays were filled with finding a church that I could call home, deciding what was important to me. I started out here, spent a little time here and ended up here—at a church where I am challenged and stretched to be the woman God created me to be.

I’ve learned a lot about myself since moving to Seattle. At first I thought the move went too smoothly … I didn’t think I was supposed to find a job within three weeks and a church (and friends along with it) in a month or two. And then came an apartment with a childhood friend as a roommate. It wasn’t supposed to be that easy, but looking back, I see that God’s protective hand was guiding and leading my steps through the whole process. I’ve changed over these last three years. I think I’ve changed for the better but maybe the people who have surrounded me during these days would be a better gauge of that.

I do have my ups and downs about Seattle. With the clouds becoming more prevalent as the season changes and the feeling that the sky is closing in on us becoming an everyday occurrence, my thoughts do often wander back to San Diego or maybe even someplace completely different. But then I remember the comfort I feel in the clouds; how I often find myself with a small smile on my face as I’m walking through the Seattle mist and realizing that this is my comfort. The clouds feel like a blanket surrounding me, not suffocating me. The gray light brings a new perspective on the world—it’s often brighter actually, the colors more vibrant in the grayness.

Yes, Seattle will be my home for a while longer. Just how long with it be? Only time will tell, but for now, it’s become more of a home than Chicago, and I dare say, San Diego ever were.