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Kaleidoscope Life – Four Years in Oregon   

Posted by Alexandra - Nov 8, 2015 - 7:22pm
This week marks my four-year anniversary of living in Portland, Oregon. Four years is the longest I’ve ever lived away from the city where I grew up. Longer than the two years spent in Santa Barbara. Four years later, I’m still really happy with my decision to move here.

When I look back on life (I tend to do that a lot, the older I get), I realize how many different paths I could’ve taken. For some reason, the “secure” path was never the one chosen. The multitude of times I uprooted myself to change careers, geographic locations, and dwellings reminds me of the swirling and changing patterns seen inside a spinning kaleidoscope. Always something new and colorful to marvel at.

In these last four years, Oregon has felt like one of those huge boxes that some generous relative used to send for Christmas, containing a slew of littler presents inside of it. Just when you think you’ve found and opened them all, there are still a few buried under more tissue paper. Four years later, I am still exploring and discovering hidden treasures and experiences here.

Some of the best gifts have been the preponderance of evergreens wherever you look, standing watch over homes, creating jagged horizons in all directions, and permeating the summer air with that intoxicating scent of baking sap. The way the land turns lush and green most of the year from abundant and saturating rainfall. The majestic mountains in the region whose summits catch the light so beautifully in each season. The rolling hills in the surrounding countryside covered in vineyards, Alpaca ranches, orchards or long stretches of road on which to bicycle. The short distance to both mountains and ocean. The stunning Columbia River Gorge with miles and miles of foresty hiking trails, vistas, and hidden waterfalls to explore. Portland’s rich culture and many neighborhoods spread out over both sides of the Willamette River, teeming with the most unique shops, cafes, bars, pubs, streets, and gardens. The airy squee of the light rail trains making their way up and down busy thoroughfares or to outlying suburbs and back. And oh, the cloud shows! The cloud shows and kaleidoscope weather.

Yes, there’s that kaleidoscope analogy again. I can’t help it. Within the course of an afternoon or even just a half hour, the weather here can go from dramatic clouds to rain to dazzling sunshine to rainbows to rain again…and more dramatic clouds. I love it.

It wasn’t always easy trying to put down roots here. Wave after wave of challenges hit me from the get-go—finding decent employment being the biggest. I remember in my first few months of trying to get a foothold, I’d often sing (to the tune of the Avett Brothers’ I and Love and You) “Portland, Portland take me in…are you aware the state I’m in?” But patience, persistence, and constantly focusing on the things I had (not what was lacking)…and just feeling good in general helped me through, and got me to where I am now. Some days were better than others, and there were definitely dark times. The all-pervasive homesickness for family and long-time friends will always be a huge price to pay for living this dream—but thanks to technology they're all just a phone call or a Skype click away.

I couldn’t be more grateful to be living here. Grateful to have a job I’m really good at, that I enjoy…grateful to be living in my own dwelling on a bluff overlooking the river not far from the city…grateful for the beautiful landscape…extremely grateful for the friends I’ve made and the social groups I’ve discovered…and grateful for a foundation on which to continue my evolution of self.

Oregon…I love you.
But don't move here.

8 comments on this journal entry.
What Day Is This?
helenofjoy Avatar

Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

Posted: Feb 4, 2016 - 1:48pm

It doesn't seem possible it has been four years.  Seems like just yesterday you were migrating.  I so enjoyed your discoveries and photos of your experiences out there.  It seems like you've made it a success!  {#Hug}

Sean-E-Sean Avatar

Location: Point Breeze

Posted: Nov 16, 2015 - 8:20am

Good on ya'.
swell_sailor Avatar

Location: The Gorge

Posted: Nov 10, 2015 - 6:07pm

I've heard it's nice in Oregone, especially on that day when it doesn't rain. 
ab origine
oldviolin Avatar

Location: esse quam videri

Posted: Nov 10, 2015 - 4:26pm

Endeavor to Perservere
sirdroseph Avatar

Location: Yes

Posted: Nov 10, 2015 - 7:05am

With your positive attitude, you will be happy anywhere. {#High-five} That is secret of life stuff there I tell ya what.{#Meditate}

meower Avatar

Location: i believe, i believe, it's silly, but I believe

Posted: Nov 9, 2015 - 7:34am

love you A

miamizsun Avatar

Location: (3261.3 Miles SE of RP)

Posted: Nov 9, 2015 - 5:49am

glad you're happy  {#Hug}
Shine On.
Coaxial Avatar

Location: 543 miles west of Paradis,1491 miles east of Paradise

Posted: Nov 8, 2015 - 9:19pm

Nice, so happy it has all worked out for you. It hasn't been easy I know and that makes it all the more satisfying for you I'm sure. {#Good-vibes}{#Meditate}{#Hug}