It's been exactly one week and one day since I left the great city of LA. And yes, I do mean great. I'm not sure I ever called it great while I lived there, but as Cinderella most eloquently put it (or rocked it), "you don't know what you've got till it's gone." That's not to say I didn't have a fabulous time in LA. I did have a fabulous time! But, I never really felt totally connected to the city. Now, as I look back, I realize that I was connected, that I did love it, and that I learned a lot while I lived there. I am so grateful to my amazing friends and the month and a half long farewell to Renee celebration that reminded me why I love LA and why it was so hard to leave.
So, this particular "wild ride" started last Saturday. After a morning of packing and saying good bye to all of my LA peeps (who deserve a huge shout out for all of the help they gave me last weekend), my Dad and I headed North, hoping Lulu would survive the trip. We made it up to Alameda (in the Bay area) where we stayed with Courtney and Alisa for a few days. My dad and I spent the first day at the Exploratorium and finished off the evening with a steaming bowl of clam chowder on the pier. I woke up the next morning feeling horribly sick and we took an extra day to rest and then headed up to Napa Valley. Still feeling sick, we decided to forgo the winery tours and just head for Portland. The second day of driving was BEAUTIFUL. Everyone has been telling me how gorgeous Oregon is. I believed them and all...but I really didn't know until I saw it for myself...and I can attest...it is GORGEOUS!! Beautiful, lush, rolling hills; great big volcanic mountains; trees as far as you can see. It's amazing. If I were a truly good blogger, I would have taken pictures to post here...but I didn't. I'll try to get some soon so you can all see for yourselves.
The closer we got to Portland the more excited I was about the idea of moving there. It really is the land of milk and honey (if the milk is hot bearded men and the honey is the beat up old subaru wagons they drive). I was in heaven! We pulled up to my new digs in Tigard at around 7 pm...just as people were beginning to show up for the enrichment class my roommate was hosting (she's the RS Pres). We checked out the place really quickly (it's super cute...here are a few pictures...no pictures of the bedroom yet as it is currently filled with unpacked boxes) and then decided to go explore a little. We drove through Multnomah village and then accidentally ended up on the freeway, so we decided to go to the city for dinner. We had a fabulous meal at Mother's Bistro (thanks to a recommendation from Ryan Tait) and again, I fell in love with the city. It is everything I hoped it would be and more. It's perfectly charming. We found parking right outside the restaurant and it was free. I about wet myself! The city is filled with charming neighborhoods, cute little boutiques, independent restaurants (no chains!), and a nice healthy homeless population (lest I long too much for LA). The river runs right through the middle of town and has all of these amazing bridges that connect the two sides. It also has the most lovely park that runs along the river and I hope to be spending many hours there, riding my bike along the river paths. Even in the 2 hours we spent in the city, I feel totally connected...I'm in love.
The next day was spent moving all of my stuff (twice...due to scheduling problems with the moving company). But, my dad, my roommates, and my friend Adam were a huge help and we were able to get everything in by sun down. Moving really makes you realize how much crap you have...I think another garage sale may be in order. I have 15 boxes of books...who needs 15 boxes of books?? I spent the evening unpacking and then the following day my dad and I headed to the airport for our trip to Denver to see my sister, Desiree, who just got home from her mission.
My mama picked us up from the airport and by the time I got home I was so exhausted from all of the driving, moving, and traveling, that I went straight to bed. Friday morning we went to the airport to pick up Desiree. It was SO great to see her. She looks so great and is so happy. We met her at the airport with balloons and a big neon sign and all kinds of excitement. She is the cutest thing and it's been so fun to watch her and see all of the ways that she's changed. She is a whole new person. Totally confident, totally independent, she even carries herself differently. It's been fun to hear all of her stories and learn all about the new Desiree. I think it will be a tough readjustment to the real world, as it is for all returned missionaries, but she is doing a great job so far.
Anyway, those are the highlights of this whirlwind week of change. The rest of the time has been spent hanging out with Desiree, catching up with a few old friends, and playing with my family. We had a big homecoming party for Desiree on Saturday night all kinds of old family friends were there. The reaction to my move to Portland was mixed...I think most of them think I'm some sort of crazy vagabond bound for spinsterhood because I can't settle down in one place long enough to get married. Maybe they're right...who knows.
I hope you check in again to get updates on my life, come along with me on adventures, or humor my musings. Love to all!
P.S. To all those who favored "Emigrant Labor" as the blog title (particularly Dan and Evan)...you are right, Emigrant Labor is a far more clever title. I am deeply sorry to disappoint you with this second best option. No excuses...just apologies.