Seattle is one of the greatest cities in the world! I am not exaggerating! But being the home town of Microsoft and Amazon comes with a big downside: it is crazy expensive to live in! When Frederik first got the job as a postdoc at the University of Washington, we did not even question his wage. But it did not take us long before we figured out that we would have to prioritize. So, we did what a lot of Americans do: we made ends meet. And honestly? It wasn’t always fun, but in the end, it was the most valuable lesson I have learnt in my adult life. And even though we now have more range, some habits haven’t changed. My top three.
The first thing to go in Seattle was buying new clothes. Not that we didn’t buy clothes at all, they just came from second hand stores. It was the perfect Sunday afternoon, just browsing in a Buffalo Exchange looking for something unique. It didn’t take long before the principal was generalized: don’t buy new what you can find cheaper somewhere else. Goodwill and Craigslist became the default setting if we needed anything. I would check Craigslist Free Stuff every morning, rewarding me with a ton of free toys and a mobile dishwasher at some point. Unfortunately, social second hand stores like Goodwill are not very common in Germany. But eventually, I did find one! And although the quantity of stuff is limited, the quality is excellent and it is cheaper than Goodwill!
Secondly, food! Quality food in the States is much more expensive on average than in Europe. But as good food is very important to us, I became a pro in finding good deals. But what is even better than good deals is free food! Because especially in the fall, free food is all around you. I would make blueberry marmalade (best with some lemon zest) to last us a year. And we also picked up mushrooming in the States, a really fun way of being outdoors with a njammie reward at the end. Another hobby that is still going strong.
Last but not least, hairdressing. Having our hair done was another thing to go, because it was non-essential and way too expensive. I started doing my own hair, with limited success, which turned me into a hair model: a free haircut from a hairdresser in training. For Frederik, we bought some clippers and I started watching YouTube videos. Again, results varied (and still vary) but practice makes perfect and I have been cutting my boys’ hair ever since. I have told Frederik a couple of times already that we don’t need the money anymore and he should find himself a real hairdresser. Instead, he bought me new clippers for xmas last year.
All of this brings me to this boy. Some people have asked me if this is his Corona hairstyle, but he was actually saving it. He wanted long hair. Alas. Alas. It did not last. After cutting himself bangs in September -“This hair in front was annoying, so I cut it off!- he was kind of done with it two weeks ago. We told him to sleep over it, but he did not change his mind back again. So, I cut his hair this morning, but it was my most emotional hairdressing job so far!