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An Ode to Portland

As I get ready to say goodbye to Portland, I wanted to recollect the things that I love about this city where I’ve lived for the past 3 years. To begin with, I can’t say that I ever actually liked Portland. Even before I moved here, I felt like it was only going to be temporary and that feeling never changed in all the time here. What has changed is that I’ve come to know Portland as a very quirky, fun and naturally stunning city instead of the hippy town that I was led to believe.

Just this week, I saw an article that rated Portland as the #1 best place to live. I’m not sure that I agree with a #1 rating, but they do bring up a lot of good things about Portland esp. the food. The food here is absolutely amazing. I’ve tried more ethnic foods in 3 years in Portland than in all my time in Texas. Part of the reason might be that I’m no longer a broke college student but Portland offers so much more options in terms of cuisine. When I was in Texas, the options were more or less BBQ and Tex-mex although that’s changing for the better. And there’s a lack of chain restaurants in Portland which is a really good thing. Almost all the places are local mom n pop shops and the food tastes absolutely authentic that you really believe this must be what they make at home. They don’t try to cater the food to the audience’s palate which was a refreshing change coming from Texas. Gyro House and Salt n Straw are two places that I’ll definitely miss about Portland:( but here’s a quite incomplete list of some more places you should definitely go if you ever find yourself in Portland: bete lukas, screen door, mother’s, tasty n sons, nicholas, pine state biscuits.

When I was first driving through Oregon, I got a bit frustrated that the drivers were going so slow. Virtually no one was speeding and even then at most 5 miles over. I’ve then had this conversation with many people in Oregon and they all agree that Oregonians just generally drive slow. 5 under seems to be the general speed whereas in most other places, traffic is going at 5 over speed limit. Its not that they are trying to be extra cautious or anything because of the rain or coz the roads are wet. I think its because they ain’t got anywhere they need to be by speeding. They are just driving slow and taking in the sights. If ever there were a people that stopped and smelled the roses, then these are it. The laid back attitude was a bit unnerving at first but you’ll start to enjoy it too. There is an openness of mind and acceptance of every idiosyncrasy that’s quite refreshing.

The other thing I noticed is that most everyone is in pretty good shape physically and the urge to be physically active is contagious. You move here and in a few months, you’ll be starting some regular physical activity guaranteed.  After moving here, I started hiking, rode a bike to work couple of times, climbed an actual mountain, went fishing, freshwater rafting, snowshoeing, snowboarding, skydiving..its truly amazing the things I’ve gotten the chance to do since moving here. I would’ve never imagined doing half of these things in my lifetime. I went skydiving within two months of moving here. I think the natural beauty of Oregon just invites you to be outdoors and just do something even if its simply to go for a run.

There are two things that I will absolutely miss about Portland: chicken gyros from Gyro House and the friends that I made here. There is no better. In the end though, I never quite felt at home in Portland. There was something missing. Part of the reason might be that I didn’t have any family here. Maybe I couldn’t get used to the weather when I’ve lived all my life in fairly warm climates. Or maybe its just fate because even though there are so many individual pieces that I like about Portland, I never liked the whole when you put it all together and I’m not quite sure why. There was some feng shui missing. But I do know that Portland certainly deserves to be on that best places to live list.

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