Apr 21, 2017

At Home In The World: Green Lake, Seattle



I have been waiting for Tsh Oxenreider's new book, At Home in the World: Reflections on Belonging While Wandering the World since last year. I first heard about her in late 2015 and devoured her book Notes From A Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World around that time. Her podcast, The Simple Show, is one of two podcasts I never miss an episode. And I pretty much stalk her Instagram, filled with beautiful photos of her traveling adventures as well as normal everyday happenings with her family. And, every time we pass the Georgetown exit on our way up to Waco or Dallas, I tell Greg, "That's where Tsh lives!" Obviously, I am a bit of a fangirl and I am ok with that! Tsh has an awesome simple-living philosophy that is interwoven into other passions: traveling and home. They sound paradoxical but that's the fun of reading her new book, At Home in the World to see her reflections on how this all played out in the past few years, specifically during nine months of traveling the globe with her husband and three kids.  I love hearing/reading her thoughts and am super stoked to get her new book in the mail  this weekend!

As a fun way to interact with readers of At Home In The World since this is the week the book was released (!!!), Tsh invited people to share one place they feel at home in the world and why it feels like home. 

A lot of places came to mind, but I soon realized the one place that is never too far from my thoughts. 

Green Lake, Seattle, Washington

I lived in Seattle for two years while attending grad school at University of Washington to become a pediatric nurse practitioner. Until this time, I had lived with my family so this was my first experience moving out and living in a different city without their constant support. A mere three-hour drive from home, Seattle was a great place to stretch my legs and learn to be more independent while also being a comfortable distance from home.

I have always had a problem underestimating myself and doubting my abilities. Living on my own provided many stretching opportunities and I was often challenged early on. I lived in four different places during those two years, and unknowingly saved the best for last. 

Green Lake is a neighborhood in north central Seattle. Easily accessible by the main freeway, it was a quick drive to school. The jewel of this neighborhood is the lake and park named after it, Green Lake Park. A 2.8 mile path encircles the pristine lake and offers a relaxing place to run, bike, or just take a leisurely stroll. Local coffeeshops, restaurants, a community center, and boat and SUP rentals are all within easy access of the park.

I lived in this quant, dreamy neighborhood for five of my favorite months living in Seattle. And whenever I think of Seattle, this is the first place that comes to mind. I feel at home in Green Lake for several reasons:

1. I made lasting friendships with roommates. I lived with five other girls in a six-bedroom yellow home affectionately called the Bee Hive.  I became very close with four of the girls and they remain some of my most treasured friends. They've supported me, laughed at my goofiness, and celebrated alongside me in the past few years and I am eternally grateful for their friendship. 
2. My jogging journey began here. With a beautiful park a mere five minute walk away from my new home, it would have been a sin to not enjoy it as much as possible. I would walk around portions of the lake at first, but eventually started jogging around the lake several times a week. I had never jogged three miles until I started jogging around the trail, so it was a big accomplishment for me.  The trail, with its panoramic views of the lake, is a delightful distraction from the fact that I was a sweaty, pitiful mess and it worked. Ever since, I have preferred trail running and always gravitate towards trails that offer views such as a lake or river.

3. The neighborhood was so peaceful and safe. We lived across the street from a Catholic school so it was a bit noisy when the kids got out, but otherwise, our streets were quiet and perfect for meandering through the nearby streets and admiring the homes.
A street I loved walking on. I used to daydream about that beautiful yellow house 
4. God did a lot of work in my heart during this season. With the end of my grad studies in view, this was a season of uncertainty. Where would I find a job, Portland or Seattle? I also enrolled in biblical counseling in a group setting through the church I was attending to help me work through some deep-rooted issues. I unearthed lies that had misguided the ways I saw myself as well as ways I limited my understanding of God, primarily His personal love for me. This was a season when I grew to understand I am a precious child of His and that He loves me with a steadfast love. This truth helped me see myself more clearly and helped me work through some heavy issues in my heart. I am so thankful for the emotional and spiritual healing and growth in those months.


In the years since living there, I have had the opportunity to take my husband to Green Lake so he could see firsthand the place I so affectionately talk about so often. It's the place that is never too far from my thoughts and the first place that comes to mind when asked where I'd live in the U.S. if I could choose anywhere. Though I feel very much at home in San Antonio, Texas and love life here, there is definitely a piece of me that still calls that little neighborhood in Seattle my home away from home. 


Where do you feel at home in the world? A place (be in your current home, past home, or a place you visited) that your heart says "ahhh, I'm home"?


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Elle Alice