Here Comes the Sun

Just when I thought the clouds would never break, the summer seems to have arrived (at least for the time being). I might actually be sporting a sunburn, thanks to the relative lack of exposed skin in sunlight and an equal or greater lack of owning sunscreen. (To be completely fair, it’s usually not until I’m suffocating in the Northwest’s initial muggy days that I remember I’ve misplaced my sunscreen from the previous summer.)

This weekend was full of exploration, as I drove down to Bridgeport Village to catch a movie on Friday, and up to the then-unknown-to-me Vancouver Mall for another movie the next night. Yesterday, there was chicken and waffles along with a farmers’ market, Powell’s Books, Deschutes Brewery, and Salt & Straw with some of my grad school friends. Today, there was the Wooden Boat Festival, sailing, and a brief jaunt through the Blues Festival.

I won’t lie–I’m kind of cranky now that I’m sunburned and a wee bit tired, but overall, I am content. I am content that this city has so much to offer me. It’s all I wanted for my first location after graduate school.

Remind me to thank the Universe for this one.

You Are at Home Within Yourself

Isn’t it fun to learn about all the things you didn’t know about? That’s how work is going for me, but having the challenge is making this job that much more interesting. (And according to my values sheet I created yesterday, “Intellectual Challenge” is in my top ten values. “Happy Hour” is #11, which loops back to “Fun/Happiness” as my #1.)

On another note, I had the most fabulous weekend in Seattle and Bellingham this past weekend. Our little trio of Lady Viks was quite the hit throughout the ‘Ham. We paid a visit to my undergrad thesis advisor at her retirement party, a new oyster bar, Temple Bar’s all-day happy hour, Honey Moon (where we decided it was a good idea to talk about losing pets, which then resulted in three young ladies in their mid-twenties crying and laughing all at one–yes, that was us), and The Beaver Inn in its new location. The Beav was always my favorite dive, and I was happy to see my favorite barkeeps still at work.

I have been consciously trying to enact balance into my new chapter. I have been practicing yoga several times a week, both at home and at a wonderful yoga studio just up the road. I have been reading for fun. And, oh man, have I ever been indulging in Doctor Who. I have been exploring the city and being a bit more proactive in inviting people to come join me on random adventures. It’s hard getting back into the groove of penciling hang-outs into my “real world schedule,” but it is so worth it.

It’s good to connect with myself before making outside connections. Knowing that I look inward first before releasing my love and energy outwards has made all the difference in practicing balance.

And with that, I need to unpack my room and shuffle some things around. Turns out, for all the growth I’ve experienced in the past few years, I’m still not very good at unpacking in a timely manner.

Could Have, Should Have, Still Not Gonna.

I should be working on homework. I should be taking a shower. I should be unpacking my room.

Instead, I’m basking in the goodness of this weekend so far. There’s been sunshine and warmth (a treat for the Pacific Northwest), an amazing concert, some quality eats, and lots of really great people.

On Friday night, I had the chance to watch Death Cab for Cutie for what was probably the sixth time. They played with the Magik*Magik Orchestra, giving another layer of wonderful to the already gorgeous feel the music projects. Everything about the concert was fantastic, from the feel and look of the venue, to the lighting, and to the stage presence of the band. When I look back on my “younger days,” I know that DCFC will be an important component.

Yesterday morning was a localvore’s delight. There was a trip to an independent coffee shop, the sugaring salon down the street, Pine State Biscuits, Salt & Straw for some ice cream, and a few stops at the local grocery co-op. I spotted a Spanish tapas bar, and my friend pointed out a whiskey bar–both of those places are on the same block, so you all better get ready for some invites. I love exploring, and I am incredibly happy to have landed in a neighborhood that has so much for me to take in. It’s comforting to know that there is so much so close to my home; I’m sure there will always be something new to discover.

Being in a city lends itself nicely to growing as a young professional and young woman. The city is always changing and evolving, sometimes slowly but sometimes more quickly–just like me. There are some days where it feels like nothing of significance occurs, but little moments add up to mean much more. Although yesterday, as a whole, could have just been a time to take in the good weather, it was also a time for me to identify places of interest and places that will complement my time in Portland.

I can’t be certain about whether or not I’ll stay in Portland forever. The chapter in my life is so fresh, and the ink has barely had any time to dry. I may be living in a city again, but it’s not always “go, go, go!” like one may think. Conversely, I’m glad for the time to reflect and consider what it is about this community that makes my heart feel so full.

City Dweller

All cities are mad: but the madness is gallant. All cities are beautiful: but the beauty is grim. – Christopher Morley

I am back in eastern Washington for part of my winter break. Coming directly from Corvallis, it’s not as big of a shock as it was when I would come home from Bellingham or Seattle–or when I came home from the Caribbean.

I took the train out of Oregon, a precaution I normally take to avoid driving in winter weather in my Toyota sedan. (Note to self: You really have to get those two back tires replaced.) My first train ran from Albany, OR to Seattle, and it left at 6:13AM. I slept for the first part of the ride, and when I woke up, I was outside of Portland.

It was a clear day, the sun was coming up, and the train crossed right above the river. From my window, I could see the sunrise, silhouetting ducks on the water and early morning joggers. A group of bicyclists, apparently stopped to enjoy a snack, waved at the passing train; I waved back.

It was–for a lack of better words–beautiful.

From Portland, I traveled north to Seattle where I had a four-hour layover. I took the opportunity to stow my bags (thanks, J.Bro, for the tip) and grab lunch in Pioneer Square. I settled on an old bar and cafe for lunch, sitting myself down at the bar. Comfort food was plentiful on the menu, and I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich with a heaping side of fries. A person I’d seen briefly at the train station sat down next to me, and we had possibly one of the best strangers-at-a-bar conversations I’ve ever had. He was handsome, which helped, and we chatted about our jobs and where we came from and where we were going. (Thanks, ex-Marine and current engineer Matt; you really made my day.)

After lunch, I walked around Pioneer Square for a bit in the cool air. It’s an area where I haven’t spent much time, considering I used to live in Seattle. I found a used book store, browsed for a bit, then bought a book of Albert Einstein’s essays from his later years. I wandered into Zeitgeist Coffee, a new-to-me coffee shop, and plunked down in the corner to read.

I felt more at home in that coffee shop than I have anywhere in Corvallis, even at my favorite hipster coffee shop.

In Portland the other weekend, I felt like I was a missing puzzle piece to that city. It didn’t bother me that only a few people could join me in PDX for my birthday; it just felt right to be in the city, having endless opportunities for exploration.

On my last leg of the train trip, I talked with a man from Montana. I gathered from our conversation that he’s a small-town kind of guy, as he’s given L.A. and Seattle a few tries without much fondness. He talked about the dirt and the grime, and brought up the dangers of living in the city. I mentioned that I grew up in a small-ish town (granted, it’s pretty big here now, but it’s got a sticking small-town mentality). It was a good place to grow up, I said, and I explained that my move to Bellingham (which is where he’s currently living) was a shock–yet one that opened my eyes to a whole new level of thinking. I told him I’d lived in Seattle for while, but I neglected to tell him about how after that, I’d moved to Madrid for a month, and how I came to realize I no longer belonged in rural spaces.

Yes, the city can be scary. The cities in which I hope to live, however, are full of wonderful communities and fantastic friends. Those cities are also full of opportunity–both in work and play. I never thought that I would fall in love with city life, but here I am.

I will be there to embrace your imperfections, Portland/Seattle/L.A.; I will be there to grow through mine.

Oopsidoodle.

Apologies for straying from my schedule. Life has been nutso this summer, but in a very good way.

My new internship rocks so far. I am basically leading the effort to design an institutionalized (read: consistent) orientation program at a community college. I’ve been doing a lot of foundational work, looking at other two-year college models, identifying which populations are being served, and designing some preliminary pieces like slideshows and proposal documents. It calls for a lot of independent work, and so far, I’ve felt pretty energized. It will take me a bit longer than originally planned, but I have plenty of adventures planned for the weekends.

Speaking of adventures, I traveled back down to Portland this Sunday to meet up with a crew of friends from Cadiz, Spain. It was so good to catch up, even briefly, with quality people. It was also good to watch my British friend fumble his way through Big Buck Hunter. USA!

An unintended side effect of the PDX trip: I got hooked on Entourage, thanks to the efforts of one particular person. I also discovered I am not that allergic to said person’s kitty-cat. I’m also sore from helping haul a shelving unit up three flights of stairs; I’m so badly out of shape.

There’s a lot going on right now. I have a summer wedding to attend in Port Orchard next weekend and a trip to SoCal at the end of that following week. It’ll be good to see more faces I haven’t seen in awhile.

Lastly, push me to start training hard. I’m racing in the PDX Race for the Cure 5K, and I would like to not fail badly. I’m eating a bit better and being mindful to walk more, but I need to hit the gym, as well as get some tape for my arches and hit the pavement.

There’s recent life in a nutshell. More goodies to come.

Football Fan Fail

I should have saved this entry for Friday, but it was too much fail to be contained for that long.

Basically, I’m attending an NCAA Division 1 school for grad school, and for every home game, OSU releases 6,000 student tickets. Well, guess who’s a dummy-dumb and wasn’t one of the first 6,000 to reserve a ticket for what could be the largest non-conference game played here ever?

Yeah, that’s me. Terrible.

What’s worse is now I am basically assured to not get a real-life ticket for the Civil War, which is the big OSU vs. U of O game. (OSU gives priority to students presenting all five home game ticket stubs when the C.W. tickets are released.) The gameĀ happens to be taking place the day after my 25th birthday.

Now, realistically, I actually don’t enjoy sitting in the stands doing nothing during a football game. I’m accustomed to either being in the band or being a cheerleader. The few football games I’ve gone to as just a spectator were awkward and, let’s face it, kind of boring for me. So, in a sense, I suppose it will be okay if I’ve failed on this front this season so far.

I guess this just means I’ll have to plan a big “Beat the Ducks” 25th-birthday extravaganza or something.

This is trivial, I know. In all seriousness, I’m simply trying to stay calm and collected as my assistantship officially begins tomorrow. On the outside, I’m doing a great job of this. On the inside, not so much.

On another note, I will be hitting up Portland, OR on the 25th for some me-time (a.k.a., sugaring at Treatment), so if anyone would like to catch me there, let me know. Additionally, I will be in Seattle from the 8th-10th of October for a wedding. I plan on hanging out with the Super Ninja while I’m not actually at the wedding, but maybe I can see some other smiling faces as well.