On August 6, 2010 I entered a new world and began a new life. August 6, 2015 marked 5 years since I arrived in Oregon after driving from my small hometown in rural Pennsylvania to the city of Portland, Oregon. It was my first time to drive across the country and while it was interesting to see some areas I haven’t been to there truly was nothing like Oregon and the Northwest. When I arrived in Oregon and especially upon entering the Columbia River Gorge I came upon a magical place like I have never experienced.
A place that still leaves me in awe. No offense to those living in all of the states I traveled through but it literally felt like I traveled through a wasteland until I finally entered the “promised land”. It’s like a taste of what Eden might have been like. Oregon is truly one of kind, its landscapes, culture, things to do and see, and the people all have kept me here. Despite the pull towards family back in PA whom I love dearly, I feel very much at home here. If only my family could all move here! The “at home” feeling I now have wasn’t always the case, however. Though it was a wonderful experience to move here and a move I don’t regret, it took a toll on me during the first year or so. To literally uproot yourself from what you know and are comfortable with isn’t something I would necessarily encourage. It was community with other Christians that helped anchor me and feel more connected with Portland. We live in an age of constant transition where people come and go and hardly ever develop roots anywhere. It might sound ironic for someone who has moved from home but I lament the normality it has become for one to move from his or her hometown and go to a place far away. Sometimes people do this out of necessity or for work but its unfortunate that it occurs at the rate it does. I would like to plant roots in Oregon.
This place has certainly changed me in many ways. The core values and beliefs that have been instilled in me through my family and my faith most certainly remain, but I am definitely a different person since I left. My views on how to do life, on politics, food, and community all have been shaped by general life experience but also through living life here in Oregon. The people here love and are proud of their state. I feel a sense of comradery at times. Perhaps even, giving Texas a run for its money. Many of the towns here have a thriving local culture that like to and want to support local businesses, restaurants, and farms. Portland especially has a lot of artisan shops where you can buy quality products made right there in Portland. This is one aspect of the culture here that I love. In a sense it creates itself and sets its own way. There are some places in America that simply have let themselves look like so many other places with cookie cutter neighborhoods, Wal-marts, and the typical chain restaurant fare. It’s not that those things don’t exist in Oregon but you can get so much more here which represents the true character and charm of its people and the place.
I’ve gotten to travel to lots of places in Oregon and the NW in the short amount of time I’ve lived here. There’s definitely a lot left to see and now I have an amazing wife to enjoy it with and go on adventures with! While on a trip with friends, our flame of love was birthed in the small coastal town of Astoria, OR where I would later propose to her. We lived, loved, biked, laughed, ate richly, and played together in many of the wonderful neighborhoods of eccentric Portland. We live now in the beautiful, outdoorsy, and quaint city of Bend, OR with mountain vistas always within our sight. Oregon is a gem of a place. It’s our home and if God wills it will be till our dying day.