As you can see by the clever title above, our weekend trip to Portland was the most stressful trip of my life. I'm pretty sure Ian would say the same thing. Here are the highlights:
What was supposed to happen:
- The first day, we meet up with our Seattle-based friends who have a brother living in Portland, gather him up too, and they show us around the city to help us find neighborhoods to live in.
- The second day, we rent a car and explore the city some more.
- Ian falls gently for the charms of the city, like I did on my first visit; we are assured that this is a good move.
- We find some neighborhoods that we could definitely live in comfortably and happily.
- Ideally, we actually secure an apartment.
What did happen:
- First day, our friends had the impression that this was a hang-out trip, and not a help-Sra-and-Ian be productive trip; friends have terribly dominant personalities compared to our own; we explore the Portland Saturday Market, have some pizza and sit in the Pioneer Court Plaza waiting for some boring bands to play. Ian gets to see some things, but nothing that I haven't seen and nothing we couldn't do later, when we actually live there. Nothing productive gets done.
- Second day, we walk over to Hertz to rent a car. No reservation was made because we thought you could just go up to a rental counter and request a rental. We are denied without a reservation unless we want to pay for 5 days (in other words, line the rental agent's pockets handsomely). We say no thanks, walk over to Avis, and are snottily told that no cars are available. We are beginning to think we are being judged or the agents are just effing lazy. No cars? on a Sunday? come on. We resign ourselves to foot exploration. Buses were considered, but we thought trying to coordinate schedules would be a hassle. So we hoofed it.
- Nearly everybody we have asked about where they recommend living says, "Oh, I just love SE, anywhere from Hawthorne down to Division, or even Powell." Well, maybe we didn't make it to the to-die-for area, since we only got to 30th Ave before we simply couldn't walk anymore, but we absolutely loathed this neighborhood. It felt like Magna or South Salt Lake. I would rather die. Or at least stay in Salt Lake. I might even prefer Sacramento to that neighborhood, and I was violently opposed to moving there. What the hell is wrong with all these people who love Hawthorne? Is this some joke in which locals who don't want new people moving in recommend the most ghetto neighborhood in order to deter newcomers? Or are we really that different from everyone?
- We were filled with utter dread. Ian kept saying, "what are we doing? what have we gotten ourselves into?" I kept thinking, "Ian hates me, he's going to leave me, if this is the coolest area to live, I really don't want to come here." We have several cocktails back at our hotel and then lay on our bed and hold each other, each trying to comfort the other when we are both feeling the same sick feeling in our stomachs.
- Desperate, we decide to try to book a rental car for the following morning before our flight later that afternoon. We go with Enterprise, because those Hertz and Avis people are bitches. Book the car for 8:AM, then manage to fall asleep for exhaustion in spite of our terror. Wake around 6:AM, 1 hour before our alarm, and are unable to fall back asleep, because worry starts seeping in again.
- 7:AM, Pack up the hotel, check out, take the Streetcar to Burnside and find the Enterprise agency. Get our rental car from some very friendly and helpful agents. Agents recommend several neighborhoods, none of which is Hawthorne.
- Decide to start our journey at Lewis & Clark Law School, since I know that's a beautiful area, and I want to show Ian where I will be spending all my time neglecting him. Only a 10 minute drive to L&C, and already Ian is feeling better. I am too - I wasn't crazy, this town is classy and beautiful and hip, you just have to know the right neighborhoods. We fall for Multnomah Village, Lake Oswego, John's Landing in SW, and even Sellwood on the East Side. It's going to be ok, we can live here. But we are still traumatized by this weekend. Why did everybody lie to us? we wonder.
- No housing secured, but some leads have been found. Should have a place soon.
- At the end of the weekend, we did accomplish what we needed to do, but the emotional and mental stress was something I would not like to ever repeat. I think law school will be cake now.