Back from a wonderful trip to Portland. B is great and so is his chosen city. Beautiful architecture, gardens and parks, delicious food, friendly people – even in cars they’re cordial out there! – stunning roses, the only thorn being the huge homelessness problem. Portland has the highest homeless population per capita of any US city, with an estimated 40% mentally ill, and a significant percentage having substance abuse issues. It’s an unavoidable, highly visible and smelly problem, hard to get at the root of why and how it became so bad. Parts of downtown boarded up, again hard to say how much is from the pandemic – NYC also has a lot of empty storefronts these days – and how much is because of rioting and homelessness.
Still, as disheartening as that was, I admit it did not stop me from enjoying myself completely, the freedom of being away from home, the opportunity to walk over 20,000 steps, or about 10 miles a day without even trying, just being out and about, going from the hotel to B’s apartment, checking out different neighborhoods and food carts and the riverfront. We rented a car for a day and went to Cannon Beach, which was also gorgeous, in sun, showers, a squall, more sun…the weather is great if you like change.
How to summarize a vacation? I’m at a loss for words, and at a certain point I got tired of taking photos, although I did get plenty from the rose and Japanese gardens and some nice beach shots. Not captured: all the downtime, the intimacy of being together, B & S and I having little adventures, the way time is so different when you are away, whole days to fill without any pressure or schedules to follow. So good to travel with S again after so much time, we get back into the rhythm of our old days, a bit slower, some more time to rest but still curious and open and engaged with wherever we are and whoever we meet. We’ve aged well I think.
So proud and happy for B, who has a cute little apartment in a wonderful neighborhood and a good first job with really nice people and a great atmosphere. The only downside to being in Portland is the distance, although with direct flights it doesn’t take too long; still it’s not somewhere to go more than a few times a year. It is an area to aspire to move as I’m not in any way married to the East Coast, except for my family here that I wouldn’t see as often.
Back home T and V did fine without me, and I’m so grateful at how gracious T was about my going away. A little jet lag the first few days but other than that I get right back into the daily patterns where everything is so regimented: when V gets up, trash days, Ruby’s walks, following up on calls and emails related to V and his future. Things are flat and repetitive, surprises are rarely a good thing; predictable is much better generally speaking.
I go back and look at photos, which will have to do for now because words are failing me (among the small mishaps while I was away: a lost pair of earbuds on the flight in and my computer stopped working so I’m writing on my phone). Grateful for the holiday and doing my best to settle back into life sans B, a happy yet slightly bittersweet homecoming.