Roots & Changes

And so the move is complete, and we’ve been settling in for the last few weeks, now. And finally, after 60 plus days of absolute stress, life is returning to normal, and with it, routine is creeping in. The routine is different, though, than that of the last 30-odd years of my life. While 99% of those years were spent living within a three square mile radius, I have just moved 22.3 miles, three counties, a new city, and even a different state away.

Ladies & Gentleman, Welcome to Vancouver, Washington.

Vancouver_Washington
Vancouver, Washington Skyline

Now, I’ll openly admit that never in a million years did I expect to find myself in Vancouver- affectionately (or not) known by Portlanders as The ‘Couve. In fact, it is widely known that merely the act of crossing The Mighty Columbia River into the Evergreen State that is Washington, reduces your coolness level by umpteen percent- that is, until you reach about 15 miles South of Seattle. I say this in spite of the fact that I know a lot of really cool people who live in The ‘Couve and/or Washington- Seattle, or otherwise. And now we join them, daring to do the un-cool, jumping the river that divides us.

The Oregon Washington Border
The Oregon Washington Border

While moving to The ‘Couve- also known by Portlanders as Vantucky, which ought to give you an idea of the stigma – was not what I expected, I threw the net wide in my search for a new home- about a 25 mile square radius from Bethany, the area in which I had spent so many years living life.

I had come to openly dislike Bethany, in spite of the many memories I had there and the many friends I had who continued to live there so happily. My feelings were no reflection on the area itself- Bethany was- and is a beautiful, peaceful community, and home to a host of wonderful people we call our friends. 

bethany-real-estate-2627df436eacd1ac
The Beautiful Bethany area, Portland, Oregon

But for me? I wanted out, my restless spirit ready to explore someplace new. In more than thirty years I had really never left – in spite of my vehement insistence at doing otherwise for the better part of my adult life. Instead, I anchored myself there- buying a home only 1/8 mile away from where I had lived from age 12 to 19, and for the next 22 years submerging myself in the community, in three different homes- all within a half mile of my childhood Oak Hills neighborhood. And all the while, I openly felt the need to seek a life away- and continually annoyed Jay at my vocal desires to do so. 

The Oak Hills Neighborhood
The Oak Hills Neighborhood

I wanted to miss Bethany. I yearned to say goodbye, if only to come back again to visit. I wanted to drive slowly through the neighborhoods of my youth, counting the many houses I had been inside, and laughing about the memories that lived within their walls, long after they became inhabited by others. I wanted the anticipation to build as I came upon the home of my teens, the second house on the left of Oakmont Loop. I wanted to drive past my high school, and laugh as I recalled something long ago forgotten, perhaps even prompting a message to a friend long ago seen.

Sunset High School, Home of the Apollos
Sunset High School, Home of the Apollos

So, in this move, I wanted away and, with both kids out of school, it was my turn to do it. And so Vancouver, the ugly step-sister to Portland- three counties, a new city, and even a new state away from Bethany, has become our home for at least the next year. And I’m eager to explore a new place, and to see what The ‘Couve has to offer. I bet I’ll find a lot more cool than Portland’s snobby stigma allows.

"Explore. Dream. Discover."  is actually my next tattoo. :)
“Explore. Dream. Discover.” is actually my next tattoo. 🙂

This weekend, less than a month after leaving, we returned to Bethany for an evening. Good fortune found us in the unexpected company of countless friends and neighbors dining at the local Mexican restaurant we had frequented since our kids were young. The tight-knit community of the area that I had taken for granted for so many years was beautifully evident, and the evening returning “home” to Bethany was filled with love and laughter.

Friends
Friends

I had left Bethany feeling stuck in my sameness, desperate in my desire to try on something new for size, and eager to forge a new path outside of the place I had been for so many years. I returned and realized that I had roots there- deep friendships, and strong bonds forged through our common community. And at the end of the night, while I was just as happy to drive away to my new home nearly 25 miles North, I came to understand, a piece of me will always belong there, in that home that I left behind, and will forever remain rooted in the beautiful community of Bethany. 

Roots
Roots
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9 thoughts on “Roots & Changes

  1. I loved this post! I think the Oak Hills pool is filled with some strange liquid. This liquid somehow creates a force field that prevents those who grew up in Oak Hills from leaving. You are the one of the chosen ones….you were able to break free. I can’t wait to hear about all your new adventures in you new land.

  2. you can never go home again Translation: the things you grew up to know and become familiar with seem so very distant once you grow up and experience things outside of that bubble. The things that you hold in your memories are now your comfort when you go back, but things will never be the same!

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