Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Coastal Memories

Not only is Memorial Day the official summer kickoff, it's also the first paid-vacation-holiday of the year... which means I generally try to get out and about. (See: checking out the Czech Republic, hiking the death march with Katie in Colorado Springs, visiting the Chinese cemetery in Baker City, camping at Acadia National Park in Maine, singing kareoke with sailors during Fleet Week in New York City, commandeering a beach house in Connecticut.) This weekend proved no different as a friend had a hook-up to a beach house at the coast here in Oregon.

Without a doubt, the long weekend proved to be one of the best of the year. It was colder than any of us would have preferred, but it didn't rain, most of us still managed to get into the crashing surf (even if forced because the losing volleyball team had consequences), and the sun managed to come out on Monday. Any trip where you come home with more color than you left must be deemed a success.

How many years of my life have I been the tallest person girl in my group of friends? Newsflash: I'm the shortie around here now. It's an alternate universe, I'll tell you what. These girls are my favorites:There aren't photos that capture what we spent the majority of our time doing, and that's eating. We brought groceries and foodstuffs for 25 15 and only ever had 10 people. Three full meals a day is 1.5 more than I normally eat, plus snacks, and two trips to Mo's and man oh man it's a miracle I didn't come home 10 lbs and/or two sizes larger than I left.
Perhaps my biggest accomplishment of the trip (besides being the first to bed every night... who am I anymore?) was that I got out running two times. Granted, I didn't go very far or very fast, but as someone who's never exercised on vacation, it was a crazy step in the right direction. I'm only sorry I missed the Insanity workout most of the other folks did... I'm running a dumb Half in less than two weeks, and surely you remember that miles are miles and they must be logged.
Though the pictures don't show it, we spent most of our time on the sand playing beach volleyball, inside the house playing games and laughing uproariously, or hip-shaking to the ghetto-thumper playlist we kept cycling through while playing, cleaning, preparing food, etc.

Getting back into the swing of things has been pretty gnarly, I won't lie -- who ever really loves going back to real life? I have a feeling this summer is going to be a good one...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

5 Months and Hometown Glory

The radio silence hasn’t been intentional, not at all. Until last night I thought it rather accidental to be honest.

Back Bay view from Storrow Drive
My grand epiphany came as most are wont to—one thought, then two, then many that appeared from nowhere while walking alone on brick paths reflecting the light of the streetlights, the cobblestones slick with the rain that continued to fall. Have I appropriately painted the picture of Adele’s “Hometown Glory*”? In this case, the description isn’t a cliché—it really happened wandering from work to my hotel; the distance between Seaport and the Back Bay just long enough to make sense of the jumble of thoughts in my mind.

You wouldn’t know because I didn’t announce it very loudly in advance, but I’ve spent the last week in Boston for work. [Enter mixed emotions I’ll try my darndest to explain.]

It’s been five months since I left and I’ve been quieter in the online world. My blog has lain mostly dormant and fewer Facebook photos, updates, comments, etc. have been posted as I’ve spent time bridging the gap between what I affectionately call my Old and New life. My Old life was comfortable and I was doing some incredible things in all areas of my life. I didn’t feel like my soul was in a rut; but the routine of my life most definitely was.

The transition to Portland has been thrilling. I’ve spent my fair share of time feeling anxiously queasy with nerves, attempting to navigate a new social, vocational, and spiritual scene—but I’m learning that those feelings are conquerable with the right attitude and willingness to fake it til you make it. I’ve proved yet again, that people are interested in you if you’re interested in them and that there are incredibly nice, good people everywhere trying to do the right thing. I’ve learned that the presence of hope is a powerful motivator and can be a sustaining force in the face of crippling nostalgia.

In my New life, I wake feeling like anything could happen.

Last night, with the rain and the quiet and the ability to hear my own brain making sense of my week in the City—the City that I still and will always love—I felt the closure I didn’t know I needed on a lengthy chapter of my life I thought I’d already closed. Call it luck or call it Providence, but I was able to spend meaningful time with everyone I wanted to in my brief time (and still manage to squeeze in that pesky thing called work). Relationships with the people I care so very much about were picked right back up and five months of time were erased as soon as hugs and easy-laughs were exchanged. Instead of feeling queasy social unease, I felt like a superstar. I won’t lie… it’s not a bad way to feel. But I’ve been gone five months, and I know how much my life has changed in the last five months and it felt weird that no one knew about it. It was almost too easy, slipping back into the habit and the routine of being here. Those five months could have never happened—but they have, and I like that they have.

I’ve never had doubts about my decision to leave Boston, not once. Outside of my own subjective view, it probably sounds cold—I had a gorgeous life there full of good people who loved and cared about me. (Still do, and are actively vocal about that fact—I’m a lucky girl.) Still, when I received two texts on the same day from two of my new Portland friends asking “When are you coming home?”, the gamut of emotions you guys—I’m incapable of expressing them. My trip to Boston was the round-trip ticket on my decision to leave. I didn’t know I needed to return to come full circle.

Subconsciously, I haven’t felt right talking much about my forward because I hadn’t fully said goodbye to my back. I hope I don’t ruffle any feathers when I say this and you might be shocked if you know how nostalgic of a person I am, but the last week has fully confirmed that there’s nothing left for me in Boston anymore. I will 1,000 percent cherish every memory I have in that place (and keep up the associated relationships that originated in the 617), but the era of my life located there has passed, and my heart no longer resides in Boston. My life is no longer in Boston.

Like I said, the presence of hope is a powerful motivator. And I’m ready to go home.

*Fourteen listens to write this posts.

Definitely, maybe, probaby related posts:

If NatA! posted a photo with this blog, here it is!