Friday Gauge Check: The End of the Oregon Trail (Is In Washington)

Happy Friday, everybody! Friday means it’s time for Friday rituals, the ceremonies of escorting one week out and preparing for the next one. Around here, it’s the gauge check, in which I look over the previous week and figure out where I’ve been and where I’m going. Sometimes there are goals, sometimes I just talk about my life and my crafting. You are all welcome to join in in the comments.

Tonight I am sitting in a Starbucks in downtown Vancouver, Washington, my new home. (Vancouver, that is. Not the Starbucks. Though it’s a very nice Starbucks and I highly recommend the salted caramel mocha.)

We arrived in Portland on Sunday morning, and it only took a few hours for me to start falling in love. I already had a mad long-distance crush, but there were fears, too. Have you ever had a long-distance friendship, and then had the opportunity to meet them in person? It was kind of like that. Someone who seems cool a thousand miles away can turn out to be much less charming in person. I’m happy to report that Portland is just as charming in person as it was online and in secondhand reports. My friends who love Portland were totally right.

It’s an amazing city, full of fun, quirky shops and friendly, interesting people. There are more small businesses than chains, and more Asian food than you can shake a stick at. (Seriously – pick a random restaurant and the odds are good that it will be either pizza or Thai. I’m not complaining.)

I’m sure you’re wondering why, if I fell so in love with Portland, I’m living in Vancouver. After all, Vancouver is not Portland (ask anybody).

Okay, well, that’s both simple and very complicated. We’ve been hunting for a place to live in Portland for months, haunting Craigslist and sending tons of emails into the aether. The aether is pretty non-responsive, for the record. So the short answer is, Jack sent an email about this place and got a response, so we went and looked at it.

It was advertised as a studio “with bonus room,” which is why Jack responded to the ad – curiosity, mostly. What it proved to be is an apartment in an old house that was converted, a second-floor walkup with hardwood floors, exposed brick in the kitchen, and about 500 square feet of space. The closet is long and bent in the middle, the kitchen is it’s own room, and the “bonus room” is a space about the size of a walk-in closet with its own window. There are three windows in the place. In other words, it’s full of personality, charm, and a place for my craft supplies. It’s situated in a funky, artistic sort of neighborhood with a walkability score around 85. After we checked it out, we wandered around downtown (about four blocks away), tripping over a pile of stray otaku from a convention (I know, right?) and having lunch in a cozy cafe. It was amazing. And as much as we thought we wanted to live in Portland, it seemed like Vancouver was totally perfect for us.

We may end up moving across the river at some point, but right now, this is exactly what we were looking for. Washington is beautiful, and I could think of worse fates than having to drive over the bridge to Portland – the views never fail to be breathtaking. On a clear day, you can see Mount Hood, snow-capped and shining, rising out of the trees to the east. Everything is lush and green and blooming or sprouting berries. The farmers’ markets (we’ve been to two so far, one in Portland and one three blocks from home) are out of this world. We’re two blocks from a tiny little market that carries local honey and raw milk.

I’ll get back into talking about crafting next week. There hasn’t been much – I did finish the first Scottish Boxes sock, and I worked a little on the baby blanket – but I’m going to get a spinning chair this weekend and set Alvida up in my craft room, and I have a couple of things waiting in the wings.

In the meantime, tell me about your favorite city, real or imaginary, or check your own gauge in the comments.

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~ by Amber on September 9, 2011.

3 Responses to “Friday Gauge Check: The End of the Oregon Trail (Is In Washington)”

  1. I’m happy for you guys! I’d love to see pictures of the place. 🙂

  2. Huh. I hadn’t realized Vancouver was that far south. But yay housing that fits you!

  3. Yaaay! It sounds like you have moved into Misty’s old apartment.

    I kind of miss Hershey in a “It’s better than Hill Billy Hell” sort of way.
    However, I am kind of glad I am not there atm because it is currently UNDER WATER. About 8ft of it, to be exact. So yeah. Glad to be up on a HILL out here in Nowheresville. 😛

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