It's not you, it's me. While I knew it was always a temporary thing, I threw my heart into you. I asked everyone what I needed to see and I did it. Japanese Garden? check. Rose Garden? check. Hiking, food, waterfalls, downtown, desserts? Check check check check check... you get the idea :) These last four months have been wonderful, and I'm about to tell you why I'll never forget you, but I'm a St. Louis girl and it's time to go home.
The food, oh, the food. I remember my first food cart like it was yesterday. I enjoyed my time downtown, stopping at food carts and eating lunch in Pioneer Square while various artists gave it their all at noon on Tuesdays. Oh, Savor, you never let me down, and I'm pretty sure Whole Bowl sprinkles crack on top because I just can't stop thinking about it and that's saying something for vegetarian fare. Nong Khao Man Gai, you did not disappoint. Thai Square in Sellwood, your pumpkin curry and odd mix of vintage signs and comic book paintings on the walls will stick with me long after I've left. Bamboo Grove Hawaiian Grill off Macadam? My palette has never had it so good. Don might have to come back just for your Luau Style Kalua Pig (seriously). If you haven't had Tacos (technically, I think it's El Guapo Taco, but you wouldn't know that unless you went inside - seriously, get a sign, people!) you need to get yourself there, stat. As an added bonus, they recently acquired one of them fancy fountain soda machines ;). If fountain soda isn't your thing, they'll even bring your mouth watering tacos over to NW Growlers. On my birthday I had a piece of coconut cream cake at Mother's and I don't regret it at all. Last but not least, Salt & Straw. Never let anyone tell you that you're overrated... you are not. Come to St. Louis! We will embrace and love you. I know everyone tells you that, but we are a food town as well, and we will cherish you, I promise!
Can I take your nightly news with me? The stories about Waffles the missing dog, the community coming together to find important stolen items, odd protests, and for the most part, low crime rate are so much better than hearing about daily murders and awful crimes. You seem to focus on, and spend more time on the good things, and even though it's quirky, it's so much better than giving all the attention to the bad things.
Your weird will definitely be missed. If there was one way I felt like I fit in, it was with your creative side. You encourage art, you accept and celebrate protests about everything, you dress in every way possible, tattoos are commonplace, and there are things to see around every corner. You love your flyers, and put them up for everything. I hate to say goodbye to Beaver, but all good things must come to an end. Blue Guy? Unicycle Flaming Bag Piper? Keep it up... the weird world needs you ;)
Oh the hiking, I will miss you most of all. We hiked nearly every weekend we've been here. Banana slugs are the BEST and there will be a slug shaped hole in my heart without them. Mountains? So many mountains! What are those? We definitely don't have them back home. Big ole snails are up there with banana slugs. As obnoxious as they were on certain days, I will miss the daily crow symphony. You can keep your massive amount of spiders. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't do the "walk through a web" dance.
You can also keep your difficult to navigate roads and constantly changing street names. Not even my gps could figure that shit out. I'm going back to a place where if you miss your turn, you can just catch the next one and still get to your destination on time.
Lastly, a small-ish list of random things I will miss:
- Our bed. I know, not really Portland-related, but it's gonna be hard to go back to a queen size.
- Your dog friendliness and obsession with them in general.
- All of the blackberries everywhere through most of the summer.
- The Oaks Amusement Park little train whistle. I heard it daily and it made me smile.
- Your passion for Recycling and the Environment. You've got it right.
- The caution signs for bicyclists approaching the train tracks. Hilarious.
- Bagpipes! Bagpipes everywhere!
- Your love of honey bees. I saw no less than 3 stories on the news about rescuing hives.
- Your people-friendly river. The constant sailboats, kayaks, and paddle boards were fascinating. I wish the Willamette could teach the Mississippi how to make things fun (you know, without killing all the people).
- The bikes. The bike friendly roads, paths, bridges and for the most part, the thoughtful drivers that deal with them every day.
So Goodbye, Portland. Leaving is so bittersweet. I wish you the best as your city grows and I hope the population boost doesn't take away the wonderful things that make you special. I'll think of you often, but I'm going home to watch my Cardinals in the post season, start up the Blues season, have the BEST donuts at Donut Drive In, go to Eckert's for a corn maze, have a Great Pumpkin at Ted Drewes, eat some thin crust pizza, toasted ravioli, BBQ done right, and sit around some bonfires with my friends.
P.S. If you're from Portland and reading this, come see us in the Lou! We have great beer, great food, the best zoo (it's free!), the City Museum, (it will blow your mind) and we will welcome you with open arms :). Oh and we also have very affordable housing :).