Congratulations! I'm very happy for you. Not knowing what to do with your freedom must make you elated - what a delightful dilemma!
Also, I wanted to pipe in on the where to live theme, only to say this - Washington state absolutely is beautiful, there is no question. I lived there briefly. Briefly because it turns out that I do get seasonal affective disorder pretty badly. I had never noticed it living here, where it's sunny most of the time (although bleeding cold for quite a few months). But there were months at a time when I was mildly depressed on the west coast, and one of my best friends is the same way. Actually, for her, it was more like moderately to severely depressed. So I moved back to the sunny, freezing prairies. I don't do great with the short winter days, either, but it's not as bad as the dreariness. I just mention this because it might be a more significant factor than a person would believe if they've never experienced it.
And as for feeling like you're socially awkward and don't understand what people are saying half the time . . . I think nearly everyone feels like that. I really do. I guess there are people who feel like they always understand everyone and make friends in the blink of an eye, but I also think that at least some of those people are just arrogant. The best advice I've ever given anyone (because I really don't like to give advice) was when I was trying to tell an old friend that he needs to make new friends, and the way to do that is to realize that everyone you meet probably feels just as insecure and awkward as you do. Talk to them with the assumption that they want to talk to you but are too scared to really do it . . . once in a while, someone will obviously have no interest in talking to you, but much of the time you can make some real connection to someone, even if it's just a brief one. It sounds like you already have figured that out, but I just wanted to reinforce it - as far as I can tell, other people crave connection as much as I do.