Phew, what a crazy three weeks it's been! I'm writing this post from Seattle, where I've now been officially living for a full week. Yesterday was my first day at The Times. Here are a few highlights about the move and about the job (following suit of Heather, who has been blogging about her firstfew days at WaPo).
It was the longest drive of my life. We (boyfriend and I) started in Santa Barbara. Spent four days in our hometown of Porterville, Calif., (four-hour drive) where we packed up the UHAUL with furniture from storage. Then did an eight-hour drive to Santa Rosa, where we stayed for a night to catch some shut-eye. Then, came the long haul, from Santa Rosa to Portland, which (coupled with gas stops, pit stops, nap stops, food stops) took 19 hours. Finally, we did the drive last Tuesday morning from Portland to Seattle, which only took four hours with the UHAUL. That puts us at a grand total of 35 hours of driving.
A pro tip: When driving in two separate cars for an extended period of time, use walkie talkies. It saved us when it came to keeping each other awake, helping the UHAUL change lanes, deciding when to stop for food, giving directions, etc.
We're living in West Seattle. Although I had previously heard bad things about it ("West Seattle is like an island" or "It's where Californians go to pretend they're still in California"), I absolutely love West Seattle. I'm a 30-minute bus ride from downtown. I'm walking distance from the farmer's market and restaurants. A slightly longer walk to Alki Beach. I didn't see my first Seattle rain until my third trip here, the morning we moved in; it's not so bad. I still haven't purchased a rain jacket or windbreaker yet, though. I should probably do that soon.
So my past three weeks have been a blur of packing, driving, filling up a gas tank, more driving, unpacking, catching up on sleep, meeting Matt Mullenweg at a random meetup... all leading up to yesterday: My first day at The Seattle Times.
The first day
It was kind of like the first day of college -- you know, when you get the syllabus and introduce yourself to new classmates, but don't really have any homework yet. I learned all about The Times' policies and procedures, who to talk to about payroll and where my mailbox is and which fridge I can use for my lunch. I got an ID badge and sat in on my first news meeting, led by David Boardman, where he gave me a very humbling shout-out about the national praise they've received for hiring me (mostly from Ken Sands, I imagine). I was trained in using CCI and I set up my email address (lrabaino at seattletimes dot com, fyi!). I had a lovely lunch with the seattletimes.com team, and a small preview of what's to come. My desk is next to Sona Patel (woot!) and Matt Ironside, where I get to lurk and listen to conversations about new, upcoming tools and projects.
Now I'm being trained on homepage production. I get emails every few minutes about new stories being published to the website and suggestions from various editors and reporters about which should be moved up or featured on the homepage. Eric and Tiffany have a ton of projects up their sleeves to keep me busy for a long time, so maybe you'll be hearing about those soon.
And really, that's about it so far. I love Seattle. I love my apartment. I love the newspaper. I have so much to learn and so much to share with this awesome team of colleagues. Can't wait to see what we do together. Expect many updates.