As some of you may know, I recently moved to the Portland area. (Oh, you didn’t know? Then HI THERE, new reader! Welcome to my blog! Here, pull up a chair! Have a Tootsie Pop!)
Having been born and raised in San Diego (where the beach is a logical activity choice 360 days a year, and the “snow” we sometimes see in movies / on the news seems so far away that it’s borderline-fictional), this move represented quite a culture shock for me. I have been here a little over a month now, and it seems like every day I am wide-eyed at another novelty – a constant reminder that I'm not in Kansas anymore.
So I offer a guide, to anyone following in my footsteps, on what you can expect if you make a similar move.
1.) I have two words for you, America: Fred. Meyer. Remember when Target started carrying some limited groceries, and you were all, “Hey, that would be cool if Target just straight-up ALSO became a grocery store. Then I could pretty much just set up camp and live here forever.” But then you sighed and went back to your mediocre day, because Super Targets do NOT exist in your neighborhood and you are doomed to a life of disappointment. GUESS WHAT! I have seen salvation, and its name is Fred Meyer! Do you need socks? Olive oil? A flatscreen TV? Avocados? An engagement ring? Toothpaste? A dining room table? WORRY NOT, CONSUMER, FRED MEYER’S GOT THAT ISH COVERED! Literally trying to come up with things that Fred Meyer does not carry has become a fun little game for me. It’s like Ralph’s, Target, and JC Penny all came together, and Fred Meyer is their gorgeous, scandalous lovechild.
2.) Yeah, it rains. So what? When people found out I was moving, “rain” seemed to be the word I heard most often. Probably because, admittedly, rain is somewhat of a source of fear for San Diegans. When water falls from the sky in SoCal, the whole world more or less stops. Traffic accidents skyrocket, indoor malls and movie theaters become packed, people watch the rain through closed blinds and avoid going outside altogether. And when I arrived here initially, I confess that I, too, could be seen running from my car into a building with my jacket over my head like the sky was falling. Honestly, I might as well have worn a blinking neon sign that said NOT A LOCAL. Because, truthfully, when there is almost never a time that it’s not wet outside, it just legitimately is not that big of a deal.
|That is one confident weather report.|
3.) Also, sometimes it snows. And apparently, that’s when the world here stops. From what I understand it doesn’t happen often, and when it does it rarely sticks to the ground long enough to matter, but as I type this right now it is snowing outside my window. And even though it’s only 2pm, everybody in the neighborhood is already home from work. All of the schools let out early, and all of the offices are closed. You know why? Because there’s snow. On the roads. And that is, apparently, a valid reason to go home early / not go to work to begin with. And I think that is just fantastic.
|The view outside my window... or lack thereof.|
4.) But seriously though, the weather. It’s cold. No wait I don’t think you’re listening. I mean, it’s really cold. It’s so cold that if I’m outside for too long I start touching my face just to make sure it’s still there. The rain was a piece of cake, and the snow is more exciting than anything, but the cold is gonna take some serious getting used to. I didn’t realize how much more MAINTENANCE is required in these temperatures! Last night I had to sleep with all the faucets dripping so the pipes wouldn’t freeze over. Because that’s a thing, apparently. Thank god I have a proactive landlord to provide these kinds of directions, because otherwise I would have been the water-free village idiot who has never lived in freezing temperatures before.
5.) The Clothes! I do not exaggerate when I say that until recently, my closet contained only one solitary long-sleeved shirt. ONE! Living where there is actual weather has broadened the availability of wardrobe options tenfold. Of course, as a San Diego resident I certainly had my fair share of scarves and beanies – you know, for when the temperature dropped below 70 or so… But now these items serve an actual function. And I feel like I’m rediscovering my closet all over again, and it is absolutely fabulous. (Legwarmers! Not just a ballerina fashion statement after all!)