Happy Birthday, To Me!

This year’s birthday was bittersweet.  On one hand, I’m living my dream in Oregon, something I had hoped and dreamed for over the span of three years.  Everyday is amazing here, even on the days when I’m missing my friends and family back home in Wisconsin.  On the other hand, this was the first birthday in years where I didn’t go out for dinner and drinks with twenty-plus friends.  What I did do though was go on a road trip to the coast with Cole and my friend, Renae.  I stopped to take some roadside photos on the way there, we ate lunch and dinner at two of my favorite restaurants and even watched a storm roll in from the beach.  That is exactly how I hoped to be spending my 35th birthday when I declared, last spring, that I would be moving to Oregon.

Storm rolling in at Oceanside Beach on my birthday

Nature’s fun little birthday gift this year was to bless me with seasonal allergies, something that is completely common here to far too many people.  I’m lucky in the sense that so far, it’s just a lot of coughing and not itchy eyes and runny nose.  It did come on in conjunction with another nasty cold, bringing my cold count to 4 since I’ve been here.  I guess you can say I truly am a nature junkie now since nature literally makes me sick but I won’t let that stop me from enjoying it every chance I get and there’s absolutely no way in hell I’m leaving Oregon.

I do find myself feeling rather alone here.  There’s something to be said for having people around you who’ve known you more than a few months.  I ran into an old from Wisconsin by accident the other day.  It turns out both of us are living in Portland and neither of us knew.  For a moment, it was such a relief knowing that I had an old friend here, someone I’ve known for 15 years.  That was unfortunately short lived when I learned he would be moving to Tennessee in August.  I’m happy that he will be pursuing his music career, after all, everyone should know the joy that comes from following your dreams, but the selfish side of me wishes he would stay put a little longer.  I’m hoping we get to spend some quality time together before he moves away and I look forward to knowing someone who lives in Nashville, a place that has been on my “to travel to” list for some time.

At the Station after the Badgers won on Thursday. Go Wisconsin!!!

I have found that there is a good sized group of Wisconsin people living here in Portland.  I was lucky enough to discover the UW Alumni Association – Portland Chapter.  They gather for Badgers sports events and although I am not an alumni, they welcome all Wisconsinites to their gatherings. It’s been fun meeting people from Wisconsin who live and love it here like me.  It’s funny how something as small as where you come from can bond you so quickly with a stranger.  Or maybe it’s just that Wisconsin people are so friendly?  Either way, it’s been a welcomed turn of events and helps make me feel less alone.  

I have another Wisconsin friend coming to visit next weekend, the third of my friends to visit me here, and I’m looking forward to giving her the grand tour of Oregon, well, at least what I can physically cover in just two and a half days. I’m thinking we’ll start on Friday with a hike a Silver Falls State Park, followed by dinner and drinks at a couple of cool spots in Portland for her birthday celebration. Saturday, we can start the morning by visiting the Saturday Market, then take a drive through the Gorge, stopping to see a waterfall or two, before driving up to Mount Hood, grabbing a bite and drink at Timberline lodge.  Sunday will probably consist of a drive to the coast, stopping to see and explore a few of my favorite places on the Northern coast.  Of course, this all depends on the weather and as I’ve come to learn, as in life, it can change so quickly here.  Check back soon to hear all about it!

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