Tuesday, June 27, 2006

portland thoughts




so at first portland, oregon made me really excited. all the new colors and buildings. all the green, wow so much green. the ridiculous amount of cute tree-lined residential streets with sweet houses and flowers bursting from the yards. the friendliness!! i felt like i was in some kind of twilight zone with the friendliness. everyone saying at least hello and thank you to the bus drivers and often having whole conversations with them. and genuine words, not just a passing thanks. people next to me in the cafe asking if i want any parts of their paper. strangers chatting up strangers. and merchants being all friendly. drivers!!! stopping!!! for pedestrians when pedestrians aren't even looking like they're about to cross the street yet!!!! i tell you it made me wonder why SF people are so surly and rude a lot of the time. (i think the SF surliness is probably in large part due to our high cost of living, a constant worry in the back of people's heads about survival. and the fast pace??)

all that green and all those houses kind of made me ache. a tugging at me.

but i also didn't see much queerness, diversity or art there. (of course i was only there 3 days and i'm sure i only saw a fraction of the city). in a lot of ways portland also felt similar to SF, being on the west coast and being a big city...

i don't think i'd move to portland without a friend or partner. so much of home is about familiarity and friends. it would be hard to leave this familiarity and my friends. and sometimes i think if i move, i want to move to a much smaller town. or someplace really different from SF. oh i just don't know! do any of you feel this constant dissatisfaction/wonder about moving? i know about half of my friends here feel this way and the rest don't. i just find it hard to imagine being able to buy a house here. hard to imagine being able to do art as much as i'd like here. and although i do believe in living in the moment, i also need to be able to imagine a future of possibilities more beautiful and fulfilling. more green and gentler than this.

8 comments:

Cat said...

Having lived there for 10 years, I can say that Portland has plenty of queerness, diversity and art! ;-) Three days isn't enough time to see it all...It's a great city, and very affordable if you don't dream of mansions.

I constantly think about moving - about new career and leisure options, maybe going to school, seeing new scenery outside my kitchen window. I'll tell ya one thing, though, if it's diversity you want, don't bother with a small town! I live in one now and I can hardly stand it some days - everyone is the same, from their stupid hats to their cheap shoes. I could go on and on, but trust me on this one - the city is *way* better for diversity.

lisa s said...

oh yes i know that tug.... and the lure of staying someplace familar and .... i have no answers... but questions are always good.... right??

Teresa said...

I know that tug as well. I live in Southern California and hate it with a passion. I actually am considering moving up North. Even SF but you're right, living here in Calif. is so expensive. I'd love just a little shack right on some ocean.

shash said...

teresa, couldn't figure out how to comment on your blog, so if by chance you check back here, here's my comment to you: i remember that song! it's a good one. thanks for your comment. did you just start this blog or can i just not find previous entries? anyhow, i encourage moving north. i am from so cal and hated it as well. north is def. better although $$$$ for sure. look forward to reading more of your entries. that scarf looks very cool.
hi cat and lisa, thanks for your comments too. nice to hear from you!

abby said...

I think that your observations are pretty much how I feel at times. I'd spend full summers in San Fransico during high school and college-and I can tell you-portland is no SF. It defintely seems to be a few years behind on the arts stuff, and as a California native-everyone here is just so white! It seems very segregated. I have to disagree with you about the queer thing-we have an awesome pride week-you missed it by just a few days! And-you need to spend more time on alberta-in the summer-defintely gay friendly around here:)
anyway-rambling....

stephanie said...

hey shash, sorry i missed you when you were here. i'm glad that you found portland to be such a friendly place. that's been my experience as well. i do think that the lower cost of living (for an urban area) plays a big part in the mood and the culture. i know that my husband and i could never own a home and have our lifestyle in most other urban areas which is why we choose to live here (among many other reasons).

you're right about racial diversity. it will be interesting to see how that changes over time. i don't know what you are specifically looking for in an arts scene, but i do know that there's a big population of artists living here (again, the cost of living thing). seems like almost everybody that i've met in my neighborhood is a musician, visual artist, filmmaker, writer, or at least crafter. queer scene seems pretty strong where i live as well, though you might want to talk to my sister about that as she visits a lot and has contemplated moving here.

anyway, you're right to give it a lot of serious thought and i think that no matter where you move, having a partner or friend as an ally is key. good luck.

mati rose said...

i appreciate the fleshing out of ideas here, as i have often thought of moving elsewhere with less of a struggle to pay the rent! i will have to visit portland. what about the east bay?
xo,
m

Linda said...

Thanks for your comments on my blog. :) I love Portland. I grew up there and spend my later 20's there. For us it didn't work out because 1) we can't afford it and 2) traffic. My husband likes the slow pace of a small town, and I have to admit it's nice for family and community, so when I need a culture fix I just have to visit. I'd love to live there, though, be surrounded by it all the time. I grew up in NW -- Thurman bridge area -- and spent my adult time in SE, between Hawthorne and Belmont, and working downtown. I can't say enough good things about it, it was wonderful. Diversity is relative -- maybe not as much as in SF, but it's definitely there, and not hard to find. Plus there's so many cool crafty bloggers in Portland! ;)

I know what you mean about family and friends keeping you tied to a place. I really dislike living in the Willamette Valley -- too dreary for too much of the year, and too many things to be allergic to. I'd like to try somewhere sunnier and drier, but it's so hard to make that break!