Sometimes, when I’m traveling, I feel overwhelmed with the amazingness I am seeing and experiencing. Sometimes it actually hurts. And being in Portland right now is one of those times.
I am overwhelmed with awesomeness.
In every sense! Literally. Sensorily.
It doesn’t make sense. Beauty is beauty. Good is GOOD – right?
Portland is so incredible that I actually want to cry. Flowers everywhere. And not just flowers, but the grandest display of naturally-growing flowers I’ve ever seen. Bright blue flowers as big as my face – growing on the side of the road on their own. Brilliant bursts of every color jumping out from forest greenery and urban abodes.
I am struck by the kindness and genuine caring of the people. The man at the check-out counter at Food Front Co-op, where I stopped on my way into town to buy flowers for my friend and gracious host, Regena. As I checked out, he said, “Is there an occassion?” I said, “Yeah. I’m going to see my friend and stay with her for a little while. I just got in town from Arizona.” He said, “Wow, that IS an occasion; Welcome! What are you going to do while you’re here?” And it was genuine, kind, easy conversation.
We chatted for a while, and the rush I thought I was in when I entered the store melted away. How’s that for a welcome? That’s Portland. And it happens upon my first human contact into town. So fitting.
I’ve noticed that people in Portland talk to each other as if they know each other, whether or not they do.
As I get in my car to drive away, I think, “I need to spend time in Oregon on a regular basis… for my social skills. People here are so nice.“
One thing I love most about Portland is how diverse (in fashion, lifestyle, thoughts, beliefs) the people are – coupled with the general high tolerance for and acceptance of other people’s differences. It’s live and let live — sans judgement. This, plus the general high valuing of community, nature, and how we interact with the environment, make Portland a very special place.
This resonates with the very core of my being. Openly expressing and accepting differences feels normal to me, yet I don’t feel surrounded by it all the time, in other places. One of my favorite parts about living in Portland was being in the midst of this. Because I’ve been away from it for a while, the joy I feel from being in a place where it is not only okay, but actually celebrated to be outside of the norm (whatever “norm” is), nearly hurts.
Because of all this, a lot of creativity exists in Portland. Everywhere. In storefronts, neighborhoods, sidewalk chalk drawings, and in the food and drinks. I’m surrounded by it, and I can feel it. : )
Upon arriving into Portland, I pulled into my friend Regena’s home, about 10 minutes south of downtown. She and her gorgeous pup, Leo, welcomed me with huge smiles and a big hug. Regena and I met through mutual friend because we were both moving from Phoenix to Portland the same week. We also share a birthday. She is one of the kindest and most generous people I know, and I am thrilled to reconnect with her.
Yesterday, my first day here, Regena took the day off, and we went to lunch at Verde Cocina, one of my favorite Portland spots. The food is not only delicious, but the details are intentional and beautiful. From the farmers they support, to the fact that the entire restaurant is low sodium and gluten free, to the the decor and the fresh flowers on the table…
As I walked to the restroom and overheard staff talking in Spanish in the kitchen about the beauty of the produce that was coming in, it kind of hurt. I wanted to join in their conversation!
I had one of one of those, I’m-in-heaven-and-life-is-amazing moments.
After lunch, Regena and I wandered through boutiques selling locally made delicious-smelling candles, super cool and unique handmade jewelry, and just generally gorgeous things I have never seen (and will never see) elsewhere.
For dinner, we went to another of my Portland favs, Tasty n Sons. The smoked trout board we had there, along with the Ginger Lime Rickeys, were nothing short of Food Channel-worthy. We snapped several pics everything before diving in. Everything about these starters was gorgeous and tasted divine.
More good friends joined for dinner. We shared delicious food and funny stories…
Upon leaving, we were trying to decide whether we should go to the outdoor jazz festival near St. Johns Bridge or stop by Ruby Jewel for some hand-crafted (made daily, of course) ice cream. We also stopped by New Seasons (local version of Whole Foods), which was probably my personal topper (I LOVE natural grocery stores). I drooled over their hot food bar and saw about five things I wanted to buy in their housewares sections.
I was in heaven!! All day. A whole day full of being in heaven.
I slept soooo well last night, and today, as I woke in Regena’s super comfy guest bedroom, I realized that I needed to process. Its as if I was chock full of awesomeness and needed to process it to make room for some more. I felt a big need to get to the gym, go running, go to yoga – just move. I think literally, my body was like – I need help integrating this in!
After getting a little movement and writing this blog, I’ve processed a bit, and just in time, because we are about to have another stellar day. It’s Saturday, so we’re heading to the farmer’s market. After that, we’ll be shopping and hanging out on 23rd. Tonight…… we’re going to a fancy, local-chef-honoring-dinner, celebrating the opening of the new retail space for Jacobsen’s Salt Company. This dinner features three award-winning chefs from San Francisco, Portland and Seattle who each use Jacobson Salt in their restaurants. They are working together tonight to prepare this dinner using Jacobsen salts, and…… I have a feeling it will be nothing short of amazing.
Ahhhh, Portland, I love you. Thank you! For everything, and for welcoming me back. I’m so happy to be here, to experience this and to reconnect with some awesome friends.