Jennifer Hillier

Seattle is my second home

Apr 20, 2017 | Personal, Travel

But Toronto is my first love. And I’m thrilled to say that I’ll be back there again come the end of May, this time with my little American family. Permanently.

This will be my fifth move in five years – and my fourth move from country to country in the last ten years – and so my anxiety is through the roof. My husband got his permanent residency approved almost a year ago, and if we don’t leave soon, it will expire. People like to joke that we’re only moving to Canada because of the election results, but we had his “green card” long before that (though the election sure as shit didn’t help). Bringing him to Canada after we got married was always the original plan. We just have an extra person coming with us now – our two-year-old son, who’ll have dual citizenship.

But I’m glad I moved back to Seattle again for three and half years, even though back in 2011 I thought I never would again. I was born and raised in Toronto, but I became a writer in Seattle. I’ve grown so damned much over the eight years I’ve spent here total, and while I know without a doubt that it’s time to leave – and for good, this time – it’s heartbreaking, too. I’ve written five books (yes, five, hint hint, with a sixth on the way) and they’re all set in Seattle. I’ve never felt the same creative drive in Toronto as I’ve felt here in the Pacific Northwest. The only book I wrote in Toronto was THE BUTCHER, but it was still set in Seattle, and I had the idea for it and did all the editing here in the Emerald City.

Will my future books be set in Seattle, too? I honestly don’t know. Writers write what moves them, and so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. I do feel like I’m evolving as a writer, so who knows what the next evolution will bring. 

Back to the land of butter tarts, ketchup chips, Timmy’s double-doubles, poutine, the Swiss Chalet Festive Special, and Good Fridays as a statutory holiday. There’s so much more, of course, but other than family and friends, those are some of the little things I’ve missed.

What will I miss about the Northwest? The rain, believe it or not. It makes everything smell wonderful and promising, and the trees turn extra green. A small handful of good people I’m lucky enough to call friends. Cuban sandwiches from Un Bien. Flowers from Pike Place market that only cost ten bucks for a giant bouquet and which last for two weeks. The entire Eastside area where my son was born, and where my favorite cat died, and where we all became a family. And of course, my beloved Seahawks, who I’ll be cheering from afar. (I’m a 12 for life.)

Goodbye, Seattle. Until we meet again.