Portlandia!–It’s for real.

Well amigos, I know you’ve been wondering if I would ever blog again… it’s been a rather hectic three months here in the land of Ports.  Finally, things are starting to calm down and Jason and I are getting settled.  We both have jobs, we have our own apartment (which is amazing!), and we’re getting back into a routine of sorts. 

I’m working as an office manager at a financial planning company.  Jason is working as a loan processor at a mortgage company in Lake
Oswego.  We are both really enjoying our work.  Jason  found his job really easily– he had several interviews and
three job offers, and picked this place as his favorite.  So far he
loves it– they do happy hour on Fridays for the staff and have really
good energy.  I work at a place in SE that’s biking distance from where we live.  My job is on the 8th floor of the tallest building on the east side of Portland, with a view of the river and bridges.  It’s gorgeous.  The two women who own the company are my bosses, and we’re the only three in the office.  The work is pretty cool.  I’m learning a lot and really enjoying myself.

Surprisingly, the job market in Portland has picked up quite a bit– the
unemployment rate here is now lower than the national average.  That’s
good news.  The job hunt was stressful, but all in all it was an easier
transition to Portland than the transition we made when we moved to
Knoxville.  That’s partly because we have such a network of support
here, with so many friends and family members close by.  

So, a little recap:  We stayed at Stephen’s in his second bedroom for about 2 1/2 months.  It was awesome– we climbed a bit (in the gym, of course), Jason and Stephen played lots of video games, Stephen took 4 summer school classes, and Jason and I looked for work.  We biked around Sellwood.  We went to garage sales.  We hung out with family and friends.  We ate tatchos.  Tatchos are amazing.  They’re nachos, but made with tater tots instead of tortilla chips.  Haters gon’ hate, but you have to try them when you come to visit us. 

We’ve had some awesome adventures here lately– we celebrated Mikey’s birthday at my uncle’s property in Washington, about an hour away, with all the family.  We had a BBQ and cake… it was nice.  It was a happy day instead of a sad one, with everyone around to reminice with.

A ton of my college friends came into town for something called BBQ Symposium– we do it every year.  It’s generally a reason to drink a bunch of beer and engage in shenanigans in someone’s backyard.  It was awesome this year, of course.

Nicky threw an awesome Dunbar birthday party, complete with giant logs on fire, two grills, and a bunch of random awesome people.  It was an all day awesome event.

I’ve visited my Grandma twice, which is amazing.  She is an astounding woman, and I’m really glad that I live close enough now to visit regularly.  I’ve been hanging out with my family a lot, actually, and it’s awesome.  My dad really enjoys thrift store shopping, and is always on the lookout for that one deal where you find something worth tons of money, but only pay $10 for it.  Well, we went to the Goodwill on half off day, and Dad noticed a rocking chair.  The chair was interesting– leather seat, with a little plaque noting that it was made in Guatemala.  As we were examining the chair, another guy came up and asked if we were buying it.  The chair was priced at $200– $100 since it was half off day.  Of course I said we weren’t buying it– who pays $100 for a chair at the Goodwill?  Anyway, Dad went home and looked on the internet– the damn thing was worth $2,500.  I’ll never live it down.  I’m the reason he doesn’t have a $2,500 chair right now. 

We have moved into our own apartment!  It’s like the most exciting thing in the world.  Of course it was 95 degrees on moving day (which for Portland is like, super, uber, ridiculously hot– very few people here even own air conditioners), so the actual moving was a little rough.  And for about a month our apartment looked like a construction zone– we couldn’t find the coffee grinder, so one morning I had to use the blender instead.  But, we are finally settling in.  We are mostly unpacked, laundry is done, and it’s even relatively clean.  The apartment is great, in a super cool area, and even closer to where I work (which is amazing).  It’s close enough to walk, but normally I bike, which takes about 15 minutes.  Fabulous.  It’s 8 blocks away from 2 hippie grocery stores (very important to us), and it’s also 8 blocks away from a bar with 50 microbrews on tap.  Now that’s awesome. 

Portland is totally hip and awesome to visit– It’s actually been a non-stop summer of visitors.  First, I had several college friends in town for the BBQ Symposium.  Then we had two friends from California come in the weekend during our move into our apartment, and then Jason had a few friends from college come into town for the same conference Biff and Lara and their baby Mila visited for.  Biff and Lara and Mila stayed with us for a weekend, which was amazing.  We very briefly saw Mike and Janelle and their two kids who now live in Florida.  Mikey and Elissa stayed at our apartment for a night, and we visited them again at Smith.  Steve and Ariel came into town for a wedding.  We’ve attended three weddings this summer with out of town guests.  All of this is in addition to all the friends and family visiting we’ve been doing with people who actually live here!

It’s almost like summer in Portland is an explosion– people know that the sun is only around for so long, and so they maximize their time in it.  There has been a barbeque nearly every weekend.  Apparently Portlanders love to BBQ in the summertime.  And there has been biking, food festivals, climbing, street fairs, dinners out, trips to the coast, camping, excellent beer, weddings… I’m almost glad that summer is ending, because I just can’t keep this pace up!  Every week, things are happening… we have friends who are booking hanging out three weeks in advance because there’s too much crap to do.  It’s been an amazing whirlwind. And so far the weather has been astounding– since July started, it’s only rained once.  And we’ve had weeks and weeks in the 80’s and 90’s… unusual for Portland.  Honestly, it’s been one of the best summers I’ve had in a very long time.  Portland is AMAZING.

And I love it.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to myself, “I’m so glad we moved back to Portland.”  There are so many damn things I love about this place, not least being the concentration of amazing and wonderful people that I love so damn much.  The fact that Portlanders generally think like I do doesn’t hurt– local, organic, handmade, sustainable things are everywhere.  When I drive somewhere now, I feel guilty, thinking that I probably should have biked.  It may be a bubble, and not representative of the world at large, but I love this little bubble of like-minded people.  Portland is a miraculous place.  You’ll see when you come to visit.  🙂

OK.  Finally, some photos.  Here we go:

Family on the way to my uncle’s property in Washington.

Beautiful Columbia River Gorge.

My dad bought a cake, and it fell apart.  It was still delicious.

Jason, Nicky, Uncle George, Angela

Bryan and Suzanne are adorable.

The view from my office.

Part of my bike ride.

College friends.  There’s no telling, really.

Lara and Baby Mila!  We didn’t take any other pictures that whole weekend, sadly.

Sneak peak of our apartment.



Nik and Harmony, in town for a wedding.

Ridiculous.  More college friends.

Best friends since third grade.

Family at Haystack Rock– Bryan, Jason and Bryan’s dad Rick.

Camping with friends and kids.

Uncle Bryan being awesome.

I’ve known these guys for 13 years.  That’s a little crazy.

Steve always was an instigator.

Anyway friends, there you have it.  I promise to attempt to be better at both blogging and picture taking.  And if you’re not in Portland, we miss you.  We can’t wait for you to come and check out our amazing new home. 

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