From the Blog

Me, Portland: Two Years

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Martin Luther King Day was on a Monday in 2008. It was Monday, January 21. That was the day I arrived in Portland. Two years ago.

I’ve mentioned it a couple of times that I drove up from the Los Angeles area with my car filled to the roof with boxes. The cat was in a crate in the front seat. I hadn’t unpacked from getting back to the mainland from Hawaii. The boxes arrived in the mail from the island and they went right into the car. I began driving before sunrise on January 20. I stayed with my friend Kelli in Redding, California that night.  She had a cold and I made chicken soup.

I had a shorter drive the next day, so I left at 9 am. It was snowing in Redding and I had some mountains to climb before getting to Oregon. When I got gas in Medford, someone pumped it for me. I didn’t remember anyone pumping gas for me since I was a teenager. I wondered if I was supposed to tip.

It took less than six hours to see the state whiz by on route 5 and for me to get to Portland. I got a little lost finding my hotel, which turned out to be scarier than I realized. I got an apartment in five days. After barely passing a personality test, I got a job in about three weeks. Not long after, I met Dave for a beer. So January and February are like, anniversary season.

I think back on my moving up here whenever I want to freak myself out. Would I do all those things over again? Maybe. In 2010? Certainly not. What would YOU say to someone moving to a new city with no job and no friends? I’ll tell you what you’d say. You’d say, “don’t be a goddamned dumbass.”

I don’t know why I thought it was a good idea. But you know what? I’m so happy I did it. I’m glad I went through it when I did. The beginning of 2008 was a lot different than the beginning of 2009 or 2010. I’m lucky I arrived when I did.

However. I have a bit of a confession to make. It seems that whenever I move to a new city, the economy tanks. In 2000, I moved to Santa Barbara, then the internet broke. In 2001, I moved to Los Angeles and  9/11 happened. I moved to Portland in 2008, and by the end of the year, we were finally feeling the bubble burst.

So, all that economy stuff. My bad. I promise to stay in Portland for a while. I like it here.



  2. I remember that time. I remember feeling like I was on call. But very glad for the way it worked out! Go Portland, take care of Heather!

  3. If you try to move to Elko I’ll shoot you.

  4. @Steve – Don’t worry, we’ll leave Elko to you!

  5. I can’t believe how long I’ve been following you! I’m still trying to figure out how I got to your blog???? I have a few other pdx bloggers that I read but I found(stalked) you before that.
    It’s weird in a creepy kind of way!
    I still think about that apartment before you and Dave moved in together. Every time I’m downtown I think of the “cool” people with apartments that live there. I want to be one of “those” people!

  6. When you say you met Dave for a beer, does that mean you knew him before you came to Portland? Maybe I missed that installment of the story? When my daughter was 5 I took her to live in Halifax, 2000 miles away. I’d never been there and didn’t know a soul. One of the best things I ever did — we stayed 9 years.

  7. @XUP We met first “virtually”, when I commented on her blog. Our first meeting in person was on Valentines Day, 2008!

  8. I found your blog when I made the decision to move to PDX. We (my husband and I) are tying up loose ends here in San Diego then heading up North. No friends, no family, no jobs, maybe it is not the smartest choice, but your blog has really inspired us. I am scared and nervous, but so excited I can hardly stand it!

  9. heather, i am so glad to find out that all that economy stuff was your fault and not mine!! gosh, such a relief! jan 2000 i moved my framing biz out of the soul-sucking mall (where it had resided for 10 years), and 4 months later, the dotcom bubble burst. I moved to LA in late 2000 and less than one year later…9/11 (ok, stretching it a bit). In 2007, in hawaii, at the same house you lived in, I decided to leave LA and move to Redding. no job, didn’t know a soul. and the very month i arrive the economy begins its avalanche of doom… and the following summer then entire area is on fire for 2 months. really, i thought it was all me. so glad to find out it is you. get thee behind me sataness. =)

  10. @Justin, I’ll alert the media if I plan another big city jump.

    @Meredith, I imagine you may have felt more “on call” when I was in Hawaii. When I first moved to Portland, I was broke and freaked out. But I knew this was the place I wanted to be.

    @Steve, I know just the freezer you’ll put me in after you shoot me.

    @Natika, Thanks for following along. I miss that apartment too.

    @XUP, When people ask how Dave and I met, I like to tell them “He’s an internet stalker.”

    @Red, good luck with your move! The economy is a little different now than when I moved. Portland is great, and moving here was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Just be prepared, it’s very tight for jobs right now.

    @kelli, You are absolved. Pat Robertson called and said it was all my fault.

  11. Heather
    Your arrival has enriched Portland and taken Dave off the streets! We all thank you for your witty insights into Portland and the “how-to” camping stories. thanks for the two years and many many many more!

  12. Please do not blame yourself for the economy in Oregon…just stay around long enough to influence a turnaround! It is agreat place to live, just need to get ourselves out of the January Gloom!

  13. JT in the Army says

    Heather- I hear ya on the anniversary months. :-)

    I moved to PDX in May 2008, met my boyfriend in June 2008.
    Celebrated my 1yr in Portland by activating to go to Iraq. Will spend my 2yr anniversary of moving to PDX by recreating the travel from Iowa to Oregon. And will get to celebrate the 2yr anniversary with the boyfriend with a weekend get-away.

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