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  • Sarah Reijonen

Adjusting to life in Washington



I remember when Spank and I were dating in college and we would go visit one of his aunts in Pend Oreille County where all of Spank’s family is from. Every time we would leave after a fun weekend with his entire fam, I remember saying goodbye to his aunt. She would say goodbye then kind of bow out like she was about to cry, like the goodbye was too painful.


I finally understand that feeling. Everytime we went to leave my nephew after Christmas or a summer visit (those were the only times we really got to see him), I didn’t want to say goodbye. I kept hugging and then I kept waving from the truck until he was out of sight.


BUT, now I get to see him every week! This is one of the big bonuses of moving to Washington! Yesterday I spent the day with him, letting him put stickers all over my face and helping him piece together his very own paper lineman. He is the sweetest little boy and I am so happy to be closer to him—and all my family, of course.

It’s been a whirlwind month between Spank abruptly applying for, flying up for an interview and getting the job with the Chelan Public Utility District. Plus amidst all that, we were gone in Mexico for a week! But, we’re finally starting to “settle in” to Chelan (Though I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to afford a house here! Thankfully, I like living in my RV!) and explore the area more. As I drive down the hill every day into town, which is only a five-miute drive, I’m amazed that I live here now. I can’t help but be in awe of the beauty of the lake and surrounding mountains.


There are some comforting similarities to where we just came from in northern California and some definite differences…


WINE! Yay, we’re still in wine country! The difference: The price tag. Yikes! I better get my wine pouring pants on because this girl is gonna need a winery job to afford these $15 tasting fees and $40-60 bottles of wine! Thanks a lot Seattle. Ugh.

Like so much, we have a lot to thank the “Coasties” for (that’s what us locals call the Washington West siders!) The housing prices are about like the wine prices: Astronomical. We looked at a crackerbox fixer upper in a rundown part of town over the weekend. The pricetag was half a million. Ugh x2.


On the bright side, most other aspects of life here are cheaper, like the gas. Wait. Did I say “gas” and “cheaper.” Well, cheaper than California, at least (by 50 cents!) Of course, gas isn’t cheap for anyone right now. (I’m really not trying to be a downer.) While we don’t have to pay extra for power at our RV park, there wouldn’t be much “extra” to pay, as Chelan County has the second lowest power rate in the nation at 3.5 cents per kilowatt hour! In comparison, PG&E in Calfornia STARTED at 27 cents a kilowatt hour and increased with usage to 41 cents!


Then there’s the little things like a speed limit that pretty much never exceeds 35. It’s going to take some time adjusting to going under 55 mph, but I sure don’t mind the slower pace of life (although, I will now relish slamming on the gas and hitting 70 on the highway!)


Another way I know I’m not in Cali anymore: A woman stopped and asked if I needed a ride while I was out for a walk the other day. That rarely happens in Cali, and admittedly, if it had happened to me in Cali I probably would have peppersprayed her and run away. Ha!


The evenings are dark and dead quiet and the deer come parading down the hill every night around dinner time. Besides tons of deer, there are also bighorn sheep in the area. Needless to say, Spank is on animal watch at all times carrying his binos with him everywhere. As for me, I’m just adjusting to this whole new chapter of life.


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