Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Greetings from the Pac NW,

Well, I've just wrapped up my first week here in 'PDX'. It's only been 7 days but I've come up with a list of things I love about the city thus far. Fair warning, a majority of the things can be found on

1. The grass (the kind that grows on your lawn). I'm reading a book called Little Bee by Chris Cleave. He writes, " ... these were beautiful fields, with bright green grass so fresh it made you hungry. I looked at those fields and I thought, I could get down on my hands and my knees and eat and eat and eat." It's so spectacularly green!
2. The MAX. I don't have a car and the MAX Light Rail can get me anywhere in Portland and to the neighboring towns. It stops every 15 minutes at basically every block throughout the city.
3. Some people live on the streets by choice, I can't walk 2 blocks without being approached by an advocate for GreenPeace, people become friends when they spot someone playing a game of Magic, you can talk to yourself and no one looks at you like you're crazy ....
4. It hasn't rained ... YET. It's been 70 degrees since I've been here. I was overly anxious to dodge the Mid-Atlantic humidity.

5. The copious amounts of local breweries and vineyards.
6. Powell's City of Books and Stumptown Coffee. These are in no way related, other than the fact that they're 2 of the most popular tourist attractions in Portland. So, in an effort to be less cliche, I grouped them. Powell's is the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world. To most of you, this means nothing - but I adore it. The inventory is over 4 million new, used, rare, and out-of-print books and occupies 1.6 acres of floor space.
Then, there's Stumptown Coffee. It's an independent coffee roaster on the first floor of The Ace Hotel. It specializes in coffee and only coffee. The most exotic drink of the menu is a mocha ... no "skinny- caramel- latte- with- whip- and drizzle," no "fraps," no "soy-green tea-lattes."
7. No sales tax. Yep, it's true. When I buy a snack wrap from the dollar menu ... I only a pay a GW. Not $1.05. This may explain my new Patagonia shoes, Columbia shoes, yoga pants, Gap T's? Yeahhh.

8. Losing weight unintentionally. Portland is the 5th fittest city in the country and there's really no choice. When they're not on the MAX, they're walking or they're biking. Otherwise, I can sit in my apartment and stare at the wall ... because I have no internet or television. Living on food stamps is not only humbling, it's doing my waistline a favor.

I'm sure I'll find some more positives (and a few negatives) along the way, especially once AmeriCorps starts. As of now, the only negatives include Goose leaving this morning and being 2,232 miles from anyone I know.

Keep it real.

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