Tag Archives: Portland

Where am I living now? I have a great place out in the UWC.

What? You haven’t heard of the UWC? It’s only the hottest up-in-coming neighborhood in Portland.

I can’t believe you don’t know about it. Don’t look at me like that, I’m not judging, just surprised. I thought you knew Portland better than I did.

Anyway, the UWC is jam-packed with great places:  coffee shops, community gardens, nature parks, public libraries. Most of the high schools put on a fairly good musical each season. I wouldn’t really say everything is within walking distance, but, if you like walking you could do a lot of it.

The best thing about the UWC is that people like to just stay home, you know? No one judges you when you watch Star Trek on Netflix until two in the morning so Mr. Spock can keep you company while you attempt to make a rudimentary stop-motion film. If you want to read you don’t have to do it in some coffee shop where everyone is judging you by your book’s cover. In the UWC you can scratch getting dressed and answering the same asinine statement-question of, “Oh, you’re reading a book by Murakami? I love him,” off your list of things associated with reading.

In the UWC you can stay in bed and eat ice cream while you read. We live like kings.

They recently put in a couple of new traffic lights. It speeds up the commute in the morning and gets you home faster after work. Let’s you spend more quality time doing puzzles in front of your fireplace.

I can’t believe you haven’t heard of the UWC.


We woke up at 5 am to beat the traffic. We then ate our leftover Chipotle for breakfast. We said goodbye to Jamie’s cat. We hit the road with one thing on the brain: OREGON.

We drove and drove and drove. We got to the border, I had no clichéd song to play, only a deep feeling of happiness.

When we got to Eugene we were starving, so what was the first thing we ate in Oregon? Panda Express.

Then we hung out at my homegirl Meaghan’s house, exhausted and out of it but happy to be with a friend who I felt comfortable being exhausted and out of it around.

The comfort of shared silences = the feeling of home.

We had promised Lisa France, RECENT COLLEGE GRAD, a Greek food dinner date (what an awful obligation) and of course had a great, delicious time eating together like family.

We had tossed around the idea of staying the night in Eugene, but there was no way I could stay away. Home was too close. I wanted to be there.

We got in the car to finish the final 115 miles.

It was the fastest drive I have ever had between Eugene and Portland. 2 hours were nothing compared to 11 days.

And when we pulled off the highway exit 64 on Highway 26 lo and behold who do we pull up behind but my parents unmistakable with their vanity plate of “GG 25 .”

For the first time in my life I HONKED at someone. I flashed my lights. I did a little dance. I was home, I was home I WAS HOME.

Now, all that being said I have no idea what Alejandro felt. Was he nervous about seeing my parents again? Did he feel a rush of joy when we pulled into my drive way?

You better ask him because I was too busy trying to laugh and cry at the same time.

What I do know is that he was more than excited to plug-in his desktop computer and start working on his animation again.

So we were both ecstatic and overwhelmed with joy when we finally went to sleep in a place that we’d be staying for a while.

672 miles b-t-dubs.

(Just in case you were beginning to get confused this is a very extended recap of the road trip Alejandro and I went on to get back to Oregon from Savannah, Ga. I made a few posts during the drive, but most of the time I was too busy/exhausted/without internet. We took 12 days to drive across the country starting June 3.)

This weekend I got a package in the mail that brightened my day.  Brown-eyed Susan cookies (delicious) AND this T-shirt:

"Hand built Portland Oregon" for those who are too distracted by my face to read (and are also thrown off by the mirroring from photo booth).

I love it. Partially because it implies that I hand-built Portland, Oregon and also because I can finally rep my favorite city/state without having to buy a shirt affiliated with a college I do not attend.

The shirt was a gift from our family friends who just opened a bike store in the downtown area, West End Bikes, it is right around the corner from the staples of Portland: Powell’s City of Books and Stumptown Coffee.

And although the last time I tried to bike to class I almost fainted mid-way up the only hill in Savannah, this shirt gives me a reason to explain why I love Portland.

1. Aforementioned Powell’s City of Books–  An independent book store with over a million books.

2. Washington Park– Over 400 acres of park, largest green space in any city, what what?

3. All the goddamn hipsters– Sure, their self obsession is distracting, but they are useful. All you have to do is eavesdrop on them and whatever band/restaurant they are bashing as becoming “too mainstream” (ie successful) will provide you with excellent new music and food.

5. Liberal, yet accepting– I can share things about my personal beliefs with a stranger there that I would not feel comfortable saying on the internet.

6. The Oregon Trial– think about it, the people who settled in Portland were crazy badasses. Sure, maybe we didn’t own slaves but that was because we made it illegal for minorities to settle there for a really long time and then there were neighborhood allegiances that prevented people of color from living there and even when my parents moved here they were like ‘why are there no black people’ because it was still that noticeable, but it’s getting better now. You’ve played the computer game, I don’t need to tell you all the peril they faced, but also all of the ways they became one with nature.  Perhaps that’s why were all “nature loving hippies.”

7. The winter rain keeps the bimbos at bay– there is somethings that can only be learned from enduring a long rainy winter that is cold but rarely cold enough for snow. Patience? Endurance? I’m not quite sure what it is, but I feel I am better for it.

ANYWAY, I ate one of those cookies for breakfast because I am an adult and I wish I could wear this shirt everywhere I go.

Well, I’m back in Savannah after some rather lame travel malfunctions that I could blame on the architects of the Washington Dulles Airport, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was all my fault.

I was way too cocky about my airport travel skillz.

A friend and I were on the same flight leaving Portland– except his final destination was the decidedly cooler than Savannah, Budapest, Hungary.  AWESOME, I said, just my luck.

I checked my very heavy non-personal item carry-on baggage at the gate and thought, SCORE I won’t have to haul all my heavy shoes around.

Then, I discovered I was sitting in economy plus­, free of charge, GREAT, I thought, my life is awesome.

Four and a half hours later we landed in Washington Dulles and decided to get lunch during our overlapping layovers. After riding in a convoy type vehicle that was a hybrid between an alien spaceship docking device and what they carted prisoners off to their deaths in during WWII and then a train to the right terminal because we were apparently on the wrong death-mobile, we were eating Five Guys at my gate.

The odd shuttle-bus-tram-death-mobile-alien-spacecraft we rode in.

And by my gate, I mean the gate my flight was sharing with six other flights, across from another gate with an additional six flights.  (This is where my beef with the architect comes in.)  Every person in a 50-foot radius speaking on the intercom echoed loudly everywhere–it was hard to decipher anything.

I heard the call for boarding of Savannah once, and assumed (wrongly) that it was first class, platinum, gold, silver and other precious metal carrying passengers only.

And that was it. I sat there as Savannah boarded and took off, catching up with my friend and enjoying every minute until I realized my flight was closed and couldn’t fly out until tomorrow morning.

I hugged my friend goodbye and assured him it was not his fault.  (Really, Bogdan, it was not your fault.)

Then here is the really embarrassing part. I went to the bathroom and cried.  And I’m not the kind of person who can hide when they are crying.  My eyes turn bright red and puffy, my voice quivers.

No really, this is what I look like when I cry (add that to your reasons not to make me cry). Plus traveling makes me extra disheveled.

I wasn’t crying because I missed my flight and it was my fault entirely but because really the only good part about leaving Oregon is seeing all the awesome people I’ve met in Savannah.  So without the immediate gratification of seeing them, I was pretty defeated.

My parents kept calling to suggest things to do (go to a hotel, ask to be re-routed through Chicago, etc. etc.) but every time they tried to comfort me I would cry more because there I was, 20-years-old and totally immobile because of incredible homesickness.

Then there was that total derailment where once you start crying you can’t stop because you’re upset that you’re crying over something stupid. That’s what I like to call an endless cycle of shame.

So I was walking, cycling the shame, when a woman flight attendant asked me if I was okay.  And here is where I probably should’ve made something up that was more worthy of crying over than a missed flight.  I don’t know, something harmless but more acceptable like “my fiancé called off the engagement because he’s in love with my step-mother,” or “I just found out my dog died after eating an endangered frog I devoted my scientific life to.”

Instead I told her I didn’t want to leave home and I missed my flight and not to worry because I was just a mess.

I have to admit, this chandelier did make the hotel look pretty classy.

Eventually, I did go to a hotel, as did two girls around my age who had also missed their flight.  But instead of being morose or annoyed they were having the time of their lives.  They were taking pictures, excited about staying in a classy hotel and embracing their adventure.  Which, suffice to say, made me feel even lamer.

In the morning I woke up early, went through security–was the token blonde white girl put through the full-body scanner after a bunch of men with darker complexions and more facial hair sauntered through.  (I wonder if they could see my very very very long leg hair that I haven’t shaved ALL of winter break? I hope they were impressed.) Then I waited VERY ATTENTIVELY right by the loading zone and got on standby to Savannah on an 8 a.m. flight only after reminding the attendant who I was and chanting “be aggressive” in my head.

Sorry for the long post, it was a long trip. Now time to shower and wax those legs.

Despite the fact that during the quarter I never once had to pull an all nighter, the combination of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part One) midnight showing and helping the boyfriend pack/driving him to the train station, the night before I traveled home I got about 3 hours of sleep.

Oh Voldy, always causing trouble for my sleep cycle.

I spent the day:

  • Traveling through time zones
  • Sitting in the chicago airport trolling the internet
  • Texting my parents profane messages expressing my joy over not receiving 89% on my final grades
  • Watching the entire crew of the Enterprise make fun of Spock for being logical
  • Attempting to sleep upright while the chatty-Cathy man in my aisle made awkward jokes
  • And fighting back my newly developed airplane landing sickness

But I did not throw up when I landed in Portland last night (WIN), I also, for once, did not bawl my eyes out upon seeing the beautiful teal geometric goodness that is the PDX airport carpeting.

This is the most beautiful thing that a Portlander can see after being away for so long.

Still, I was very happy, even when my luggage did not show up, because I have not been home in 6 months.

As tired as I was, I waited for my sister to get home from dance before going to bed. I was slightly disgruntled because my tooth-brush and retainer were in my checked luggage. (I am very meticulous about my dental habits but, apparently, not vigilant enough.)

Then I walked up to my room and saw the very bright, very 70s, glowing red-orange carpet that still graces my floor.

I kid you not, gazing upon this carpet causes instant joy.

Sean Connery is the best James Bond. If you disagree I just feel so sorry for you.

I said goodnight to Mr. Bond who faces my bed and slept, occasionally waking up confused and then happily realizing where I was.

TODAY I’m going to my sister’s dance competition.  TOMORROW I am taking over the world. (That was a very empty threat.)

Sorry for the long post I am just so happy that I am home.*

*Although at the same time exceptionally sad that I am without Ale-ale-jandro.