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Friday, May 8, 2009

My Trip to Portland

As I posted last week, I went to Portland, Oregon, last Thursday through Monday to visit my brother. It was a very timely visit, and I had such an amazing time!

My brother, Tim, and I are eight years apart ~ I'm the oldest and he's the youngest. He's always been my baby. Over the years we have grown apart, especially in our beliefs. I am extremely conservative and he is extremely liberal. I live in extravagance (as much as I can get away with) and he lives a simple life. I love all foods processed. He eats tofu. You get the picture. That all being said, I was really excited about getting the chance to see how he and his wife and high school sweetheart, Shawna, lived.

Here is a recap ~

My mom flew from Kansas City to Portland and I flew from Tulsa, so we met at the airport. Tim "picked us up". What that means is he stopped by the bike rack on our way out of the airport to get his bike, we loaded a train and took it to a bus stop, transferred to a bus that took us about two blocks from his house, where we walked the rest of the way. Let's just say I did not have a small bag!

We arrived at their little house they bought in Portland and waited for Shawna to get home from work. Once she arrived we started walking the first of many miles!

On Thursday night we went to Alberta street to an artsy street fair they have the last Thursday night of the month. People line the streets with their goods to sell, some seriously baking some cupcakes that day and setting them out for sale. But, you can be rest assured that all products were green (and I don't mean moldy!) There were some STRANGE characters: like the two people walking around on stilts and the couple that literally dropped to the ground in the street and did some weird acrobatic move. It was crazy! They were a laid back, funky kind of people!

On Friday we headed to The Pearl District. It's the cool, downtown area. We took the bus there, of course, and walked around the rest of the time. We looked in cool shops and had a blast at a handmade soap store.

On Saturday we headed back downtown to go to the Saturday markets, both food and craft. We bought some goodies to fix dinner with on Sunday night and I got a cool bag. We went to Powell's Books which is a HUGE bookstore! It was awesome! I got each of the kids a really cool book for $1 each. Then we went to a fun thrift store. We stopped for coffee, and let a monsoon blow through, then started the trek back to the bus stop. Along the way we experienced a "march" whereby the participants were wanting to get marijuana legalized for medicinal purposes. Weird.

On Sunday we went to Mississippi street and went through some more small stores and a garden area. We stopped by the Rebuilding Center to see if we could find Tim and Shawna a fireplace mantle for their house. On the way home we saw some stuff on the side of the road. In Portland, it's all about recycling. So, if a family is done with an item they sit it on the side of the street and it's free for the taking. Tim and Shawna have a small house and storage is an issue. We found a nice trundle that rolls under the bed. So, yep, all four of us took a corner and we carried it the four or so blocks to their house. After we got back we fixed a yummy organic dinner.

On Monday it was time to head home. We boarded the bus, then the train and arrived at the airport with plenty of time to catch our flights home.

I was so ready to get home to see Rick and the kids. I missed them so much! But, I saw some things in Portland that really got me fired up about the way we live. I've mentioned previously that the people in Portland just done care about the things that cause us stress. I'm sure some do, but the general population does not. It caused me to have a longing for something different than the life we are living. Rick and I have really been evaluating our way of life and have realized that we don't like it. "This" is not "us" and we've been trying to make it "us" for so long that we don't really even know who we are anymore. We want to be able to do the things we want to do, without worrying all the time about how it affects someone else, or about what they think about us. We are good people. We're not out to hurt anybody. But in the process we've done nothing but hurt ourselves.

Portland opened my eyes to so much. It has caused me to come down from my conservative views, somewhat, and I do hope that spending time with me maybe caused Tim and Shawna to come down on their liberal ones as well. I felt like we met in the middle and really truly enjoyed each other. That's what was most important to me on this trip anyway.

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