See You Later, Tri-Cities

My six years in Tri-Cities is wrapping up by the end of February. I’ve taken a new job as a communications specialist at Vertafore in Bothell and moving to Seattle.

When I first moved here in January 2008, I couldn’t wait to leave. I planned on spending three years at the most and hopping onto a different paper. The industry took ever downward turns, however, and that move never materialized despite numerous tries.

A funny thing happened along the way, however, and I find myself primed to miss this community more than I ever thought I would.

Of course, part of this bittersweet feeling is due to leaving newspaper photojournalism behind. I already wrote at length about that on my final post for Behind the Fold, however.

There are plenty of social reasons I’ll miss the Tri-Cities, however. Again, I wrote a piece for The Pot-Luck about the Desert Lorax, the ultimate frisbee club I play with, so I won’t get into again.

What I will miss is the Tri-Cities weather. The wind, I can do without, but I’ve gotten used to the dry heat. I’m from the Willamette Valley in Oregon and grew up in the rain. I remember photographing an entire Civil War football game in a steady downpour without complaint, but photographing outside in anything more than a drizzle makes me grumpy now. That’ll be an adjustment.

I’ll miss the plethora of taco trucks and good Mexican food here, as well as the incredible Pasco Flea Market, and I’ve learned to embrace and enjoy many cultures I hadn’t considered. I never thought I’d love the rodeo as much as I do and I’m shockingly even considering a trip to enjoy the boat races just for fun.

The downtown Kennewick bar scene isn’t the mostly lively or varied, but I’ve enjoyed living within stumbling distance in my six years.

The rivers are a huge asset that I unfortunately never fully took advantage of, though, and while I feel like I know this community pretty well, I know there’s a lot I left uncovered.

On top of moving away from friends and colleagues, I’ll be leaving the wonderful techie and design community I met after becoming a contributor for The Pot-Luck. It’s a crowd I would have liked to get to know better, and not knowing this group or the amazing work they produce makes me wonder how many facets of the community I overlooked while working at the paper.

It’s definitely not a goodbye to the Tri-Cities, however. I’m excited to be working on a project with Northwest News Network’s Anna King over the next year and a possible gallery show of our work next summer. I’ll share more details as they develop.

And I hope to continue contributing to The Pot-Luck moving forward. It’s an exciting transition in both my personal and professional lives, but I’m looking wistfully back almost as much as anticipating what’s in front of me.

If anybody wants to come say goodbye before I leave, I’ll be having a little get together from 5:30 – 9 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22 in the back room at the Sports Page in Kennewick.

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Kai-Huei Yau

Kai-Huei Yau

Kai-Huei Yau was a photojournalist at the Tri-City Herald for six years and recently moved west to be a communications specialist at Vertafore in Bothell. He's thrilled to live next to a great fried chicken joint, a good spot for pho and to put his journalism skills to work in a new way.

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  • Becca Lingley

    You’ll be missed, but best wishes on your new adventure!

  • Lou Galindo

    I’m kind of jealous. I love Seattle. =) Best of luck with everything!