I never did post on why I think Portland will be so much better. So, here.
By the time we left Baltimore, the things we had hated about it had driven us so nuts that getting into Eugene, everything looked so nice and appealing, for at least a few minutes anyway. Hell, East Cattlefuck North Dakota had it's own charm when we stopped there on the train and at the time, if that was where I was going, I think I'd have been happy for a bit.
Recognizing this, both Gavin and I have had to question whether we're excited about moving to Portland or away from Eugene and if we will be happy in Portland for what it is, or if we'll just be superficially happy for a while because it's not Eugene.
There are still things that I like here, but he sum total of them does not add up to a place where I can happily live. Whatever weer to happen, I need to be out of here, I know that. Need to be like I need to breathe. Even if certain things had gone perfectly and smoothly without a hitch, I might have been able to tolerate for a bit longer, but I would not be happy. I know that. I give it maybe another six months before I was climbing the walls.
When I went up to Portland last week for my interview, I was dead tired, but started to feel a little better just getting on the train. I got off the train and walked into the train station, and was feeling even more "right", like there was something there that I was missing. Um, then again, it could also be that I have a thing about train stations. Especially really big, old ones. Portland's isn't the hugest, but whatever the criteria may be, it's met. Train stations like 30th Street station in Philadelphia, Penn Station in Baltimore, Grand Central in New York, and apparently Union Station in Portland feel...hmm, almost like a sort of temple to me. I love traveling by train but I'm not one of those railroad buffs or anything. But tehre's always this sort of feeling of "rightness" to them for me. I used to even have a sort of ritual where every time I was in 30th Street station, I would go to the Chinese buffet there and get some food and sit down in the middle of the floor and watch the sign board flip through the departures and arrivals. (30th street station also looks a lot like it should be a temple...lol)
Anyway...I didn't have a lot of time walking around the city that day, but it was enough to start getting a feel for it. There was an odd familiarity to it. It reminded me of cities in the northeast- but cleaner. Some blocks felt a little like Baltimore, others felt a little like Philly. There was more of this same feeling when we went back on Saturday to look at apartments. I was feeling like I was getting parts of me back that were missing. Between living in the city, and getting a job that I'm not going to have to get an all-new, "not-me" wardrobe fore, and knowing that I will be allowed to dye my hair fuschia again...woohoo!
I've badly missed having to look up to see the tops of buildings, and public transportation that consists of more than just busses and runs after 9pm...hell, I've missed the "ding" of the ilght rail trains- so much! And Portland's system is so much better than Baltimore's was. There's a whole other city just north of us, too- Vancouver, Washington is just across the river to the north, and they have a separate public transportation system, but the fare passes for Tri-Met and C-Tran are interchangeable. And for some reason, I just love the idea of a city that's split up by a river. And there's an air-tram and street cars and....and....
One of the really good signs that we see is that we've found a hangout, a default place to go where we don't know where to go. Back in Baltimore, that was the Barnes and Noble at the harbor where we would get coffee and unless it was too cold, sit outside on the balcony and watch the world below us. We ran into Dominic there semi-frequently also. We've never found a place like that here in Eugene and try as we might, we can't think of any place that we'd want to be such a thing. There's one such place that had some possibility, but it also just wasn't quite right- not close to enough other stuff, minimal people-watching potential and various other things.
There are just so many little details, I don't think I can list them all. Suffice it to say, I think going up there Saturday has shed any doubt about being happy In Portland versus being happy Not In Eugene.
Life tells me, again and again, that I need to be in a bigger city to be happy. Doesn't have to be The Biggest City EVAR (Love to visit New York, for example, don't wanna live there.) But it's pretty safe to say that I need a good public transportation system, an Amtrak station, a population of around half a million give or take and buildings that require I look up to see how high they are to be happy.