Oregon. Home for 10 years.
Soon after Eric and I met at college, we embarked on a 3 month road trip to nowhere. We spent most of that time in the beautiful desert SW and then, when I realized I was likely to kill someone (ie Eric) if I didn't soon get a real bed and a real shower and a place to call home, we meandered up through California and found ourselves in Oregon. We were young (ish), unencumbered and Oregon seemed like a good place for us: progressive, liberal, lush, green and lots of good pot (just kidding mom!) We settled in Eugene, hippie-ville USA, in a gorgeous second floor apartment with soaring ceilings, french doors, a fireplace and crackhead neighbors who came alive each day at 11pm, screaming and throwing large objects at each other's heads. But I digress. Oregon. We loved Eugene; it's impossible to be bored in Eugene. There was always something going on there: street festivals, farmers' markets, outdoor concerts, fabulous dinner parties with our neighbors. We had good jobs, met wonderful people who are life-long friends, and every single weekend we'd throw the camping gear in the car and head off to explore amazing OREGON: the Cascade Mountains, Waldo Lake, Bend, Crater Lake, the Metolius River, the coast. It was wonderful. Until it wasn't. Our relationship was struggling... so I know! Let's get married!!
We knew at some point we'd have to "grow up" and would most likely move back to Idaho, but before doing so we thought we should experience living at the coast for awhile. With friends from Eugene we'd often visited little town on the N. Coast where they had a cabin. Every time we'd gone there we'd had some sort of magical experience, including getting engaged there on top of Cape Kiwanda (after an ultimatum by me followed by a long, very quiet car-ride...ahem). I got a job at a brew-pub there and two months after getting married we moved to Pacific City, Oregon, population 548. The first winter we lived there it rained...and rained...and rained: 154 inches in one year. This was Tillamook county, land of dairy farms, and the flooding was so extreme that cows were literally washed out to sea. Our shoes molded in the closets and the couch had to be several inches from the wall. But it was breathtakingly beautiful, and we spent hours and hours walking deserted beaches, learning about sea life and birds and wild mushrooms. Friends came to visit and we had roaring bonfires, millions and millions of stars overhead, someone playing the guitar. We bought a house. We got a dog. We bought kayaks. We opened a bookstore, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. We had a child. We were unbelievably lucky. We were miserable. We sold our house. We sold our bookstore. We moved to N. Idaho, once again hoping that a change of scenery would help our marriage. It didn't. But I learned who I am in Oregon and part of me is still there.