I have just recently (as of this morning) relocated to Portland, very hopeful but also jobless and homeless. Although I am up for the adventure, it has proven to be quite a journey, and one I’ve decided to make public. This is my Captain’s Log, if you will, of the day’s high (or low)lights.
I stirred honey into my cup of Eight O’clock coffee, standing in the kitchen of my childhood, taking a deep breath.
This is it, aren’t you glad? I asked myself, dumping half-and-half into the cup of morning juice. I had spent the two days before my big move to Portland in Cheyenne, my tiny Wyoming hometown, being glared at, reprimanded and heavily sighed at.
Obviously a controversial move.
And yet here I was, bags packed, ready to go. No one can stop me now! I thought.
“And what is your mode of transportation?” my grandfather asked as he drove us to the airport. This was one of several questions along the lines of, “Do you have a job? Do you have an apartment? Do you have a plan for your life?” to which my answer had thus far been No, No and No, thankyouverymuch.
“Bicycle,” I replied flippantly to the vehicle. The cabin was filled with awkward silence.
“That answers that,” my mom answered. More silence.
10:30 am, Eastern Time.
“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Portland!”
Despite the awful, garbled static of the speaker, the words struck me. I looked out the window to see vast mountains and soaring skies.
I knew the second we hit the tarmac the countdown would begin. (Three days to find an apartment before an impromptu trip to New Jersey, and a quick return to Portland.)
Three, I counted as the plane sped up for descent. Two.
The trimet made no sense to me. I stared at the app on my phone, thoroughly perplexed.
“I think we walk North,” I said. “No. Wait. South.”
“Don’t we catch a bus?”
“I have no idea.”
I clicked the ‘end’ button on my phone speaker, repeating a mantra to myself. I will not give up I will not give up I will not give up.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart… and lean not on your own understanding… in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct thy paths.
Even the trimet paths.
Our first apartment showing had cancelled, the place had been taken. Some nonsense about the high demand for twenty-somethings in the area.
First showing, dead end. I stared at my phone, Craigslist waiting for me to browse.
Trust in the Lord…
“We only require first month, last month, security and your firstborn child,” the chatty agent was saying as we sat in the lobby of a fresh, clean, Northwest apartment complex. “Pretty affordable, considering.”
My mother looked at me pointedly.
Refreshed after a cappuccino at Case Study Coffee Roasters, laptop open and phones dialing faster than our fingers could manage, the hunt was on. Again.
Luckily, I felt prepared –I was dressed like a Canadian punk rocker with my red flannel shirt, black jeans and boots. I figure for a girl with a face like mine, I’m easily swindled and the best way to combat that is with black boots.
We took to the streets, boots on pavement.
We found ourselves on the rooftop of a tall complex, a vast skyline stretched ahead of us. Mountains and skyscrapers intermingled with the neon orange sunset.
I was thoroughly discouraged. I had just gotten off of the phone with my lovely fella, halfway across the world in the Philippines. (Because he’s a skateboarding badass for Jesus.) The connection was garbled, meaning half the time he sounded underwater, and his day was beginning as mine drew to an end.
No luck on the apartment hunt. Nothing to show but a stunning skyline and a growling stomach.
Why can’t I just chill out? I thought to myself, recalling the phone conversation. Why am I so stressed? Why does he make such good points?
Hungry, tired, and frustrated, my mother and I stumbled into the most convenient dinner location.
Luckily, they only served pies. I was allowed to turn to my first true love, the one who had beckoned me to this culinary mecca to begin with — food. Specialized, delicious, affordable gastronomic delight.
This is why I’m here. This is why I came. This is what it’s about.
The MAX is a scary place downtown at night. Note to self.
“I am thrilled to get these awful contraptions away from me,” my mother gasped, removing her own set of black boots. We stumbled like zombies into our hotel.
Nothing to show for the day but blisters, full bellies and more knowledge than we had twelve hours earlier.
We’ll try again tomorrow.
The adventure continues!