*Navigating the downtown area and library
*Life at the hostel/doing errands
*Quirky Portland Walking Tour (lots of photos)
*Finding a place to live
*4-T hike (lots of photos)
Spent time at the central library doing job stuff on the computer. Came back to hostel to make fiber cookies, and there was rather a dance in the kitchen to use the oven. Even with just a few people trying to cook it’s usually a lot of “sorry/excuse me/could you please..?” and moving around. Chatted with a boy from Wisconsin while he cooked, and a little with others. Feeling kind of tired and wiped out and a bit down. The Chinese girls left today, and I miss them. They were often in the room, just friendly and their Chinese was easy on the ears, and they were here five days—a record of stability!
A guy said something funny to me today: “Happy Transplanting!” It was his parting as he left for the airport; we had chatted briefly, and the standards at the youth hostel are: Where are you from? Where are you going next? What do you do/study? So I knew he was flying to San Francisco tonight, and he knew that I was relocating here. What we did not exchange were names. So, it was a funny coincidence that he used a plant reference!
(There is an organization here with a mission to remove invasive ivy from the woods called the No Ivy League. There is even a "No Ivy Day." I'll try not to take it personally!)
Went to Fred Meyer to get some tea and protein bars, and there was a girl there handing out samples of double cream brie on wafer crackers with a dab of quince paste. I was like, what??? It was sooooo good (even though I'm not sure what exactly quince is). I told her, we don’t have these kind of samples where I’m from!! And then I went to get my lunch and was waited on by a big guy with a triple pointed eye-brow piercing and a heavy bull-type nose-ring. And I thought, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, Toto!
Then on to catch the bus to check my UPS box, and got my first letter! (From my cousin Kathy.) Very relieved that the box does work--I was beginning to wonder. Down the same street, I stopped at my storage container, where I got to use the slightly spooky small elevator way in the back bowels of the building, got a few things from my pile of boxes, and headed back to the hostel.
By the way, not one person has commented on my name! Maybe it’s the great diversity of people here, or the need for tact to not comment on names, or something, but nothing. Zip, zero, zilch. And here I thought it would be my ticket to all things great here in Portland!
All time low with hygiene. Not just bad hair today, but forgot to brush teeth! Need to make more of an effort! Having slightly disheveled clean-ish hair over breakfast (beginning of day) not such a big deal, but having unwashed weird looking hair all day is a different matter. Finally took a shower in the evening and felt so much better, and nicer and cleaner and fluffy-haired.
Hung out this evening in the upstairs lobby. A group gathered there for a brewery/pub tour, and I chatted with some people in the group from Cleveland and Pittsburgh, and we were all agreeing how there would be no possibilities of pub tours on a Sunday in any of our hometowns! It certainly says something about Portland that it's an option here. There does seem to be alcohol everywhere. Even cafes often have a full bar, or at least a beer and wine menu. Want a cocktail with your cream cheese bagel? A Portland native told me that usually it's for two different times of day--food in the day and drinks in the evenings. Since so many businesses are locally owned, I'm sure this helps them to stay afloat. It's just weird, coming from a place that has such a different attitude about alcohol.
I spent time in the afternoon sorting out and reorganizing my increasingly crowded locker, then went to Powell’s Books and got a couple of used books, then the Dollar Tree for a Sudoku and crossword book, and enjoyed the luxury of toting around a novel and puzzle books to help keep me happily occupied and not brooding (much).
Quirky Portland Walking Tour
This is Mill Ends Park, the smallest park in the world. (It's that little circle in the middle of the road. If you click on the image, it will show a full-screen version.) It supposedly was made by a guy who used to stare out the window all day at buildings and thought there should be something green for a change. It's looking rather pitiful right now, but it does get spruced up with nice plants in the warmer weather.
Zoobomb bikes. Every Sunday evening for the past 11 years, a group of people gather at the hill near the zoo and then go down the hill on little kiddie bikes and other wheeled devices. This bike holder was built kind of recently, but not sure why it's here, as the zoo is a train ride away (same area of Portland, just not super close). Anyway. Even though I have explained it, I'm not sure I understand it. Someone in our tour group commented that alcohol might be involved.
This was not on the tour, but I thought it was funny. Did you know that the World Trade Center was in Portland?? And that it features one of the ubiquitous Starbucks in its entrance? (Actually, it's quite an involved complex of buildings, with just this one with the Starbucks, but I like the effect.)
I just read an article about a guy who worked there for 3 months, and he reported that it's a high pressure place to work. There is extreme focus on getting people in and out the door and make the sales (cash only). He said they don't have to focus on being nice to people because practically everyone is a tourist and won't be back again. (Caption: it’s usually about a 45 min wait!)
Asa Lovejoy and Francis Pettygrove were the founders of Portland, because they owned most of the land at that time (around 1850). They decided to have a coin toss to decide on a name for the new town. If Pettygrove won the toss, then the town would be named after his hometown of Portland, Maine. If Lovejoy won the toss, the town would be named Boston, after his hometown of Boston, Massachusetts. Isn't that funny? This city could have been Boston, Oregon! Personally, I think that "Lovejoy" would be a good name for Portland, but since he lost the coin toss, I guess "Portland" is better than "Pettygrove."
Got home to make some dinner and do laundry, and had to dislodge myself from a non-stop talker. The youth hostel group in general is pretty interesting and fun, but every now and then there are those people with whom you wish you hadn't started a conversation!
Goal for this week is to find a place to live, as I must be out of the hostel on Sunday. Have been checking Craigslist, and there is some INTERESTING stuff out there!!! Have learned about the reference to “420”: an ad might say “420 friendly” or “no 420” so I went and looked it up and it’s a reference to marijuana! Oh! My! Well! Good to know, I guess!
After looking for a place to live, watched a short clip of Portlandia: “The Allergy Awareness Parade” :) And in bed, of course, by 9:30. But, you know, that’s 12:30 am in Michigan! So technically, I did stay up until the New Year!
Happy New Year indeed! I have a place to live!!!!!!!!!!!! Got a response from the one place I really liked and went over the river to see it. The woman there, who I will call "Dee" was nice, and we hit it off, just one of those moments where things fell into place. We talked for two hours. Her home is lovely, and her dog, Penelope, is so sweet! SOOOOO happy to have a pet around!!!!!! So I move in Sunday. I have a place to live!!!! And it’s month to month!!!! And there’s no deposit!!!!! Which is great, ‘cause I don’t have money for a deposit!!!!!
Dee was very enthusiastic about her neighborhood (“Sabin”) which is in a transitional state, and which she is very involved in. It's safe and near a small grocery store (Whole Foods) and a library, so that’s good.
So then I came back and the dorm is full again. New girls from China via university in Missouri, and some Australian Goth girls. Went up and checked my e-mail, so attached to the e-mail! So nice to have people writing notes and having that familiar communication. Everything here is in constant flux and I think I’m just tired processing it all the time. My laryngitis seems to have finally cleared up, though, so that’s a good sign that my system is less stressed? I don’t know. But I can talk again!
Thursday, January 2: Beautiful sunny day today. Glad it was nice out because I spent more time than planned walking due to getting all the way to library and then realizing I'd forgotten my ID, and I didn't feel particularly well. Something I ate last night, or this morning? Not sure, but low-level headache and icky stomach and tired all day. Managed to do some job stuff at library anyway.
In the evening, I decided to cut my hair, since it’s such a messy process and didn't want to do that first thing in my new home. But, of course, I cut it way too short. I just meant to trim it, as I always do, but then I cut it all off, as I always do. Seriously, what is wrong with me?!?!?! I could laugh, but then every time I look in the mirror I don’t feel like laughing. Oh well, it'll grow, like always.
Portland, please help me find a good, non-frumpy hairdresser!!!! I need one desperately!!!!
It was an absolutely gorgeous frosty morning, and the woods were green, misty, mossy, sun-kissed, enchanted.
(Note that some of these pictures are with sunshine and some seem overcast. It was a long trail and encompassed a few different altitudes. We started with sun, hiked up to fog, then the fog cleared away again...Anyway, these are all from the same day!)
I hate the point of transition. That moment when things change, and right after, too. The adjustment period. Yuk. I know I can do it, but I don’t want to do it. And also the hassle of it, the logistics of it. Tiresome.