I <3 you all so damn much. Every damn one of you. And I had no idea how much until I did something stupid and moved away. "But it's for grad school!", I told myself, "you'll be busy and it will be okay." I was wrong. If you love Portland, never move to the area around Phoenix, AZ. That is my recommendation for you. The desert is beautiful. It has its own language. But people here do not listen to nature. This city could not exist without stealing all its water from the Colorado River and expending a jillion gigawatts on air conditioning. I initially get excited when I see something green, but then I remember that it is all artificial, non-native species that would choke in an instant without obscene amounts of irrigation. But I'm getting sidetracked; my point is to praise Portland, not denigrate Phoenix. Portland, I miss your consciousness and environmentalism. I feel like a rebel here for bike commuting and reminding people to recycle.
I miss you, Elivs dude outside Powells. I miss you, cupcake shops and vegan eateries (why did I become vegetarian after moving AWAY from Portland?!?). I miss the militant bicyclists and the SUV drivers they love to hate, the Beavertron commuters and Gresham sketchballs. I miss public transportation that works. I miss hipsters, and emo kids, goth punks, circus freaks, crazy artists, crunchy vegan hippies, and adorable queer couples who aren't afraid to be themselves. I miss keeping Portland weird. I miss nerd pride. I miss being able to wear something funky and have people smile rather than stare awkwardly. I miss little toy ponies tied to sidewalk rings. I miss music, art, culture. I miss a city that has a soul. I miss the rain and the grey and Sesonal Affective Disorder. I miss the rivers and bridges. I miss the ocean. I miss being able to say "the mountain is out" on a clear day. I even miss the never ending road construction downtown. I miss people who are proud of their city and community, people who love where the live. I miss dogs that weigh more than 5 pounds. I miss the gorge and the waterfalls, the Japanese Garden and Forrest Park. I miss 82nd and the plethora of Asian food. I miss city blocks that are designed on a human, non-automotive scale. I miss seeing people out on the street and not in their cars. I miss First and Last Thursdays, Saturday Market even though I pretty much never went, and many many more things.
Portland, thank you for being awesome. Until now, I've lived all my life in Washington and Oregon. I've considered the Northwest to be my home. But I'm realizing that Portland is much more home for me than anywhere else, even though I was only there for 2.5 years. For the first time in my life, I'm homesick. I'm counting down the days until I'm home for Thanksgiving. See you then.
What did I forget in my list? What do you love about Portland?