Today my wife and I depart from Oregon. Actually, we may have entered Idaho, Utah, Colorado, or New Mexico by the time you read this. I wrote this post a few weeks ago as a resident of the northwest. I wanted to put my thoughts into words while I was present.
Oregon has been kind to us yet difficult. It was kind because the pace of life is quite slow. The cost of living is manageable. It is a west coast state so the culture was familiar enough for me. Portland isn’t too bad a place all things considered.
It was difficult because we had to leave California to come here. While it may be expensive to live in California it was worth it. “You get what you pay for,” goes the old saying ending in a preposition. While neighbors to California there are many differences between where I was raised and Oregon. To be fair, there are many differences between northern California and southern California. Yet Oregon was particularly odd. As much as people spoke of Portland as a utopia I couldn’t get past it being a monochromatic, “Johnny-come-lately” to the scene of culture filled with people who couldn’t admit the city had faults lest they would break some magical spell. Also, the rain was wearisome. Terrible. I hated it. Portland was not home. It never had a chance at winning my affections. I know that I didn’t give it a chance from day one, but it didn’t do anything to challenge my prejudices. I arrived with my wife in August of 2009 with the mindset of a nomad coming to do what I had to do to leave. I leave in September of 2012 with the same outlook.
Powell’s Books is amazing. I confess that when Portland has a summer season it is fantastic. Mt. Hood is majestic.
It is possible that if we had remained another year Portland could have become comfortable. If there was a dry and/or snowy winter instead of the endless rain.
What was “best” about our time in Oregon? Our friendships were great. We met some amazing people here. They provided us with solid friendships. I fear naming names lest I forget someone important. Also, our academic programs were fulfilling. Miranda enjoyed her time at Portland State University and I did the same at Western Seminary.
I fear that it may take a while to duplicate some of the friendships I established in the northwest. I am nervous about being a California living in Texas. Sometimes the thought does cross my mind, “Oh my God, I am about to be a southerner!” Scary.
Thankfully I will be living in San Antonio. When I tell people I am moving to Texas they cringe. When I tell them I will be in San Antonio they say something like, “Oh, well, San Antonio is nice and it is really close to Austin.” My heart is in San Francisco. Oregon couldn’t change that. Texas shouldn’t try. I may live the rest of my days in the south. I may never again be “home” to watch the sun set over the hills of the Napa Valley, or to watch the fog roll through the streets of San Francisco, but my heart will be there. But I regress. Let me end this pity party:
Three cheers to transitions, journeys, and new destinations. “Every new beginning comes with some other beginning’s end,” correct? We are on the road on our way to Texas. If I arrive alive I will blog about it when I get there.