My cranky post about moving mistakes should not be taken to suggest that I’m not enjoying things in my new place. In fact, I am. I’m on vacation from work, which itself is a delightful thing, and means I have plenty of time to unpack, organize, and enjoy myself, all of which I’ve been doing.
Moving from suburban Menlo Park to the heart of a retail district in Portland is wonderfully surreal (or perhaps surreally wonderful). All of a sudden I understand why people who live in cities eat out so much. Why worry about cooking when there are dozens or hundreds of restaurants within easy reach, many of which look quite good? Of course, this hasn’t stopped me from cooking — tonight I made stir-fry with produce and tofu bought at Food Front, a local cooperative grocery, and inaugurated my new kitchen with plenty of garlic.
Every time I step out of my house, I see people — fashionable people, cyclist people, kid people, scrub people (there’s a hospital nearby). I see buses and ambulances, scooters and skateboards. I see bookstores, massage therapists, cafes, furniture and housewares stores, and so much more. It’s resource overload. I can walk to my apartment management company’s office, to Bank of America, to Walgreens, to Trader Joe’s, to the hardware store, and to the library, all in less than fifteen minutes, and all in a length of time easy to reckon by counting the blocks (conveniently numbered and lettered) and allowing one minute per block. And that’s not even considering all the places I can get if I ride the bus into or across town. (It’s worth noting that BoA, Walgreens, TJs, and an Ace Hardware were also within the same walking distance of my old place — but that walking distance, unlike this one, didn’t contain much along the way.)
My new apartment is lovely too. I have a living room with wood floors and a bay window looking onto the western hills, two of whose segments are currently open to the night air. It gets a little hot in the afternoons, but there’s been a breeze which comes in nicely and cools things off. I have a small but powerful gas stove, easier to clean than my old one, and a kitchen with lots of storage, including an old-fashioned china cabinet that I’m keeping bulk food, spices, and glassware in. My new counters are easy to clean, too, but I miss my in-sink disposal and “compost pile” (part of the garden where I used to dump my food scraps — this is not so feasible in a third-floor apartment).
I also miss my dining area and closets. My old apartment was arranged in a kind of irregular square, which meant that I didn’t have any space lost to hallways and so it could be used for a dining area and several closets. The new place, although only a little smaller in square footage, is linear, and the hallway takes up a lot of space, so although the kitchen is larger, there’s no dining area and fewer/smaller closets. So I have to think carefully about how I’m going to use the space.
I do have a few more compensations besides the view and the windows: French doors in the bedroom that open to the living room, a claw-foot tub in the bathroom (nifty, though requiring minimum two shower curtains to avoid a water mess), secure bike storage in the basement, cheaper and indoor laundry (also in the basement), indoor garbage and recycling, and everything maintained in a bit better repair.
Today after unpacking for a while, I left the house to drop off my rent and on the way back, went to a bookstore, popped into a futon place, and dropped by the library. Then I got a massage.
Yeah, I love Portland.