When I was 16 my family took our second great trip across the country. We flew to Salt Lake City, rented a car, and drove through Utah, Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington. I saw so many awesome places on that trip. But it was strolling through sunny Seattle, seeing Pike Place and Fremont and the water all around, that I thought to myself, “This is a place I’d like to live in my 20s.”
It was a strange thought, maybe, to have then. It was a general sort of dream, nothing life-changing or earth-shattering. I just imagined myself with a little apartment and a cool job, living by myself in a neat urban space.
Needless to say, this idea didn’t really change my direction for the next six years: I started dating Eric, graduated high school, went to college in the New York North Country, and studied abroad in Florence. It was then that I started applying to grad schools.
First semester of freshman year of undergrad I took a class called World Art and Culture. It wasn’t a formal art history class, but an anthropology-based course examining the relationship between art and culture in several different contexts.
I loved the class, and in particular I loved learning about Northwest Coast Native Art. Through research papers and a few more classes I became tangentially aware of the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle. In my head it was this great repository of Northwest Coast art. When I started applying to graduate schools and saw that UW had a museum studies program, I thought to myself “Wouldn’t it be cool to work at the Burke Museum?”
So I applied to the University of Washington, as well as Indiana University, University of Toronto, and NYU. And when I made my decision between Indiana and UW, I chose based on where I thought we could be happiest for two years.
We moved to Seattle. And I applied for a work study position at the Burke. And every day I wake up to amazing mountains, lots of greenery, and get to go to work at this really, really cool place.
Sometimes I recall these things and I’m totally amazed. These were just little thoughts once, barely even ideas. And somehow they blossomed into this incredible life.