An Idyllic Introduction to the Rose City

We awoke at 7 am and joined Helen and her awesome golden retriever Wiley for a run around a nearby lake. We ran for three miles all along Lake Lacamas. The trees were ridiculous, the weather was perfect, and after only about a mile my knee started to say mean things to me. By the time we finished the run, the insults had become violent.

Once we finished the run, Wiley finally got his wish and ran shoulder deep into the lake and splashed around looking very much like the puppy that he otherwise is too large to resemble. We left  the lake, came back to the house, and found Caroline watching the US vs. Brazil women’s world cup semi-finals game. We had an awesome breakfast of bagels and fruit salad, watched some soccer, took some showers, and then – following a ridiculous and pretty entertaining American victory over Brazil – we left for Portland.

Obviously this is the reason we came to the area, to find jobs in or nearby Portland. Helen and her family live in Camas, some thirty minutes outside of Portland, but they happened to have season tickets to the Portland Timbers games. It just so happens that our coming on July 9 meant that we’d be perfectly present for the July 10 game between the Timbers and the Seattle Sounders (actually we kind of planned it so it would work that way). Portland and Seattle are both cool places and are only a few hours apart, so naturally there’s a huge rivalry between them. Two months ago the two teams tied, so needless to say this was a big match.

Helen drove us into Portland, pointing out all kinds of things on the way (including a variety of chains that we should apply to for jobs), showed us a ridiculous view of Mt. Hood (ridiculous views of Mt. Hood are pretty hard to avoid given how large and beautiful it looms in the distance), and at long last we were in the city. We saw the famous Portland sign, saw weird people on the streets, saw trains and buses everywhere, and the whole thing was kind of surreal. I mean, yeah, it doesn’t take much more than money to be able to travel across country, but it was more than that. This has been our goal for a few months now: find jobs in Portland, live in Portland for at least a year, spend the dreary days inside writing awesome stories, make friends and eventually become super famous writer people. It was suddenly kind of weird that we might do it. Or at least might fail really close to actually doing it.

As we neared the game, the people become more numerous and more often decked out in all green, the Timbers colors. There was one man yelling for tickets to the game, and another, that passed him, yelling that he had tickets for the game. The fans were nuts. Like, European soccer nuts. They sang the whole time, screamed things that sometimes bordered on incomprehensible, and hated the refs whenever they called something that wasn’t in their team’s favor. It was a good time even though the Timbers ended up losing. We ate some ridiculously yummy Italian sausage hot dogs decked out in hot peppers and onions and Helen got us some local IPA which almost made us look like locals. If only it weren’t for their weird pronunciations around here (Tigard=”tigered”, Willamette=”Will-AM-et”, Sammamish=”Sam-AM-ish”, Washougal=”Wash-oo-gol”, etc…).

After the game we took a bus near to the parking garage and encountered a few guys drumming on buckets, some inevitably angry Timbers fans, and a really smelly homeless guy. We got in the car, made a few stops at grocery store chains that are huge here and that don’t exist in Texas, and then were back at Helen’s house.

The weather was perfect today. We were told that during our trip it would be way more perfect and livable than the rest of the year, but we still fell victim to its charms. We spent the afternoon eating cheese and crackers and listening to Alison Krauss and drinking wine, sitting on the porch of Helen’s house while she lounged in her new hammock. After asking if we could rent her patio instead of finding a legitimate place to live come August, she started to make dinner.

Dinner was fish and rice and more fruit salad and some normal salad, and everything was crazy tasty and the weather was still very nice. Afterwards, Helen invited over some friends and we chatted with yet another welcoming guy, Rick, who knows Portland really well. Everything we told him about our fears regarding finding jobs was met with excitement, much like when we met with Amos in Denton and told him about our big crazy looming adventure. This is what’s fun about being a 20-something, and I guess it’s important that we remember that as we get rejected from various employers.

We had grilled peaches and ice cream and sat around a giant fire constantly fed by one of Rick’s borderline-pyromaniac sons. We sat there for a long time and talked about all kinds of things, and it was kind of crazy that we managed to so quickly feel at home a few thousand miles from where we were born and have lived for so long. Still the same country and all that, but with the weather (62 degrees right now) and giant trees all over the place, it feels quite different.

Anywho, now we’re off to hit Portland with the intent of snagging jobs. Wish us luck.


~ by Jonathan Forisha on July 11, 2011.

2 Responses to “An Idyllic Introduction to the Rose City”

  1. Why I don’t see how anyone could be happy in a place where you have to actually start a fire to cook your food. I’ve just been cleaning off a place on the driveway and plopping down eggs and sausage and letting them sizzle in the sun…
    Sounds like you’re in an excellent positive energy state to look for a job.

  2. […] blog will soon be a travel blog once again (be sure to go back and check out my Summer Road Trip, Portland, Nashville, Chicago, and St. Louis entries), though I most likely won’t be updating while […]

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