When I graduated from college, I had three cities in mind as to where I wanted to move: Portland, OR; Bloomington, IN; and Washington, DC. That list probably tells you a lot more about me than I care to admit. In the end, I chose to move to DC.
Given the opportunity to do it over again, I would have chosen differently. Nevertheless, life moves forward and the endless succession of our decisions leads us to the place where we are now. So I’m in NJ now, returning from Portland on my first trip there, though it could have been home just a few years ago.
As a 22 year old, I would have loved Portland. There’s so much about it that fits my personality and core values. From my week long stay, it seemed like a very chill, rainy place with loads of good food and fickle weather. While I think it too closely fits my personality now — I can use a little balancing out — I enjoyed my visit.
Powell’s was fantastic, as expected. It was like a cleaner, easier-to-maneuver version of The Strand. The Lan Su Chinese Garden was a little oasis in the middle of the city. Voodoo Doughnut was kitschy and cool. The skyline was hip and industrial. The converted warehouses that became bars and restaurants, shops and yoga studios were creative and well-crafted.
In the airport, I grabbed a new journal and a used copy of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn from the Powell’s store there for my trip home. Both have been my companions and a little memento from my week in Portland. Keep it weird, Portlandia.