Thursday, September 27, 2007

Things I will miss about Portland

The weirdness I will miss watching people bike joust, play kickball and dodgeball, yell random things at people on the street, ride 10-foot tall bikes, wear clown costumes, etc. There's a bumper sticker and signs in Portland encouraging us to "Keep Portland Weird." I hope it stays weird.

Our neighborhood Related to weirdness, I live between Belmont and Hawthorne near 20th ave. This is the section of town with the most artsy, granola, hippy, eclectic culture around. It is also near Ladd's Addition, my favorite neighborhood in the Portland area. While most of Portland's roads are built on a grid system, Ladd's layout looks like a compass with a huge roundabout traffic circle in the center of the neighborhood. The neighborhood is extremely quiet and filled with various rose gardens in the middle of traffic squares. The roads zig-zag and cross each other in strange places, so it's easy to get lost as you wander about. Ladd's is home to Palio, my favorite coffee place in town (made somewhat famous by it's reference in Blue Like Jazz). We also live two blocks away from a Starbucks, a 7-11, and my favorite pizza place, Vincente's. Katie and I love going on walks in the neighborhood. It is a beautiful and peaceful neighborhood.

Imago Dei We have attended Imago Dei Community for over a month now. Even though we have not really been deeply involved, I have been blessed to experience what a community seeking God's kingdom could look like. If God somehow led us back to Portland, I believe I would pour myself into a community such as this.

The seasons Right now, the air is getting colder. The leaves are changing colors. There is a crispness in the air. I will miss the beauty of springtime in Portland. I love the seasons because it signifies change and growth in our world. While Arizona will have some of this, Portland's seasons are extraordinary.

The music scene Menomena, The Decemberists, Modest Mouse, and quite a few other stellar bands hail from Portland. We have lots of independent music stores, some of the strangest-yet-coolest bands in the country, and just a high value on art. I'm sure there will still be good music in Arizona--the drummer from Jimmy Eat World lives in Gilbert--but I will miss the eclectic music from the Northwest. (If you have never heard the aforementioned bands, you should download their music off iTunes right now before you forget.)

The greenery I have repeatedly described Portland as green-and-gray. Green from the trees and foliage; gray from the clouds that make our area so green. The Columbia River Gorge is a beautiful example of God's creation and the vibrancy of nature.

The bridges Portland has a number of bridges spanning the Willamette River. I have driven over all of them (except the St. John's Bridge in north Portland) and walked over a few. I love standing on the bridges and looking at downtown from over the river. I have a strange fear of heights and water, so bridges both excite me and scare me. Not sure why I'll miss this, but I do love the bridges.

The people We have so many good friends in the Portland area. From Multnomah, Hinson Church, and beyond, there are a lot of people here I love. I will miss them dearly. I will miss seeing them on a regular basis, or having them available to have a conversation over coffee. While music, greenery, bridges, and weirdness are important, the people in our lives are vastly more dear to us. Portland friends: you will all have to come down to Arizona to spend time with us. There's always room available in our home.

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