Living in America: 2nd Anniversary in Washington State

Image Homage: Chief Seattle (Si’ahl) of the Suquamish and Duwamish tribes.

Finally I feel like I have got a grip on life here. Enough to make generalised statements and voice a few gripes !

Rules of the Road:

I now know that XING painted on roadways is not named after a very rich Mr Xing or after a big Asian restaurant, it means Crossing.  Doh uh!

Salmon/Fish Xing is not a joke the state is making at motorists, it really IS a thing.

This is a personal thing but I think American Traffic Lights, Lanes & Intersections have been designed to evoke an inner conversation that the driver must have in a matter of seconds.

Is it a Green Arrow or a Green Light ? Should I yield or should I not ? Is this Red light for me, like really really really for me or can I ignore it and turn Right ? Ha!

Who arrived at the intersection first, the chicken or the car ? Should we split seconds so we know who yields to whom?

And that pesky middle lane with arrows in both directions. Yes I know what it means I have read the State Driver’s Manual thank you very much…but it magically appears right in the middle of your car when you are turning and trying to KEEP to your lane.

I am a simple person. Give me 3 ROUND lights. Red Amber and Green. I don’t want arrows, stars, pentagons and lanes that go both directions. And No free right turns and (some) left turns. I don’t want free will.

Drivers here are geniuses!  I am surprised there aren’t more traffic ‘situations’ with inner conversations going wrong.

PS: I still need to take my driving test, hence the irrational anxiety.


I like order and this makes me the happiest. Most things are standardised and that makes life easy.

Windows, doors, shelves size and depth, table heights and stools. Wash basins, shower stalls and toilets. This means whatever accessory I buy for common home items it will fit that particular object.

It doesn’t matter which Sephora or Ulta I enter it will be laid out the same and I know where Too Faced is.

But best of all, standardised clothing sizes across shops and across BRANDS ! Makes shopping for clothes stress-free.

I have been a 2 in Armani Exchange, a Small in Nike, a MEDIUM in Levis, a Large in Indie brand boutiques and a 10 in Marks and Spencer. All in the same country in the SAME shopping spree!

Just the thought of trying multiple sizes in the next shop was exhausting.


I have been in Washington State for 2 years and I have already seen 3 snakes crossing path my path. 2 garter/gardener (?) and one rattlesnake (Eastern Washington).

I don’t mean hiking trails, off-road and under growth. I mean proper concrete paths. Paths with people, roller bladers, runners and cyclists stomping by all the time.

One of the best things about leaving Asia and moving to a mostly cold Alpine climate was that fact I would not encounter snakes willy nilly. I could go walking and hiking, fearlessly.

Apparently not. Now I am constantly worried about all rubber tubings and ropes on the ground exactly like I did when I lived in Hong Kong.


Anyone living in India and Hong Kong should really stop saying “you live in Seattle, it rains there a lot right (snooty sniff)?”

Rain there comes at you, horizontally. It’s a scientific fact, you can check it. Nothing can protect you from the walloping that kind of rain gives you.

Here the rain falls vertically, like you know, rain should. And it is polite. It doesn’t smack you in the face. A raincoat or an umbrella and I am fine.

Hair Ties:

This sadly remains an un-solved mystery. (read previous post here ) I still don’t know why the most common form of  ‘litter’ a black hair tie ? Is it a Kirkland thing ? Is it a Eastside thing? Do we see it in Seattle ?

I don’t know, but after 2 years it feels like I see hair ties on the ground everywhere I go in WA. It’s a thing.

Previous Posts about living in America are here and here






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