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So, I moved to London. NBD. (Part 1)


I’ve had a block about writing this post. For the most part it’s because I’ve been too busy doing stuff to stop and write about it. That, and the sheer magnitude of experience encompassed in the last month seems too daunting to write about, even in summary. But, thanks to the (sweetly) insistent pestering on the part of the Girl, I am giving it the ol’ college try.

It’s been almost 7 weeks since my last confession. During that time I said goodbye to everyone I know and love, packed up what remains of my belongings, tied up all my loose ends and hopped across the pond to jolly old England where I am now sitting next to the aforementioned Girl who just finished washing up after cooking me sausages. Let this be an inspiration to you — at the end of any huge leap of faith, there is hope of sausages.

My last month in Portland was exactly what I hoped it would be. My days and nights were filled with sweetness, connection and hugging. It’s all a bit of a blur, really. I left home in the early mornings, came home late at night and in between were hilarious brunches, river trips, bluff sunsets, park picnics, waterfront walks, BBQ’s, dinner parties, patio chats and so much more. Some friends threw me an incredibly sweet going away party with living party favors (lily starts to take home and plant) and a banana cake you wanted to put your entire face in. I had a small gathering as well the night before last where the intimate circle came for drinks. One friend brought a little Polaroid camera and took shots that I could take away tangibly, which was such a lovely and perfect idea. Another gifted me with a package that she insisted I not open until I was on the plane. Inside it was a series of additional envelopes to be opened as-needed. I opened the one that said “Sometimes flying while fat sucks.” and inside of it was a gorgeous picture of a rad fatty and the words “You are beautiful!” So sweet. The rest of the envelopes I have saved for emotional emergencies – as I’m sure some will arise over the next year – and knowing they’re here is a huge comfort. Another dear friend gifted me with a pendant of hers, something that she wore frequently and that I’d always commented on as beautiful. It’s something I always have associated with her and having it here with me is such a sweet and strong connection. Another friend gave me a tiny dish with an old map of London on it. She’d saved it from the first Estate Sale she’d organized, saying that I’d helped her somehow to make her dream a reality. These gifts, each one of them in different ways, as well as other more personal gifts I’ve not mentioned, and the equally-as-valuable gifts of time and connection, touched me in ways I really can’t explain. The collective tenderness, connection, hilarity, sweetness and love that I experienced in that last month is an experience I will never forget and never take for granted.

Two weeks before my departure, the Girl arrived in PDX. We’d arranged for her to come for a final visit and so that we could go home together. (I know, I know. *squish*) We spent a couple of nights in Portland at a local hotel just to have some sweetness and respite together and then packed up and went down to Silverton to stay with my Mom for a week. The time in Silverton went so quickly. My Mom, the Girl and I were all working so we had only evenings together, save for my birthday which was mid-week. I kept feeling this (self-imposed) pressure to figure out ways to make each moment we had feel momentous somehow. It had to be SPECIAL!!!!! Truth is, though, that we were all so exhausted that largely we spent each night curled up on the couches together watching movies. That was good, though. The sweetness and comfort of being in the same room was all we really needed – that, and to stock up on normalcy since there was so little to be had in the near-future. Leaving Mom’s house was the hardest part of this entire process. But really, save the cost of the plane ticket, being an hour away and being 24 hours away isn’t all that different. My Mom and I are as close as any Mom and Daughter can healthfully be and no amount of mileage between us will change that.

Aside from the week at my Mom’s, my last month in Portland was spent in the home of my sweet friends D&L. They were infinitely patient with the sorting process which left suitcases in their living room for days and days as well as just being genuine joy and light to be around. D sat with me while I packed things, tried on silly hats, laughed with me and read me her stories. We spent a bit of time in the pool together. L introduced me to the Glee Project and cried with me at the same silly moments as well as constantly chasing the cats out of the house so as not to set off the Girl’s allergies. And together they were just the most welcoming and easy place to be for both myself and my Mom. D actually offered to drive my Mom home to Silverton after she dropped me at the airport — this on only 3 hours of sleep after an on-call shift. Their kindness and ease in sharing their space during such a chaotic transition just affirmed all the wonderful things I already knew of them, and will never be forgotten.

Also, I have to say that the Girl deserves some kind of medal or perhaps an actual trophy for putting up with my harrowing mood swings during those last two weeks. Between stress hormones and general overwhelm, I was a handful to say the least. She was grace under pressure and a constantly safe space to rest my over-full head. She maintained her excitement even when I was terrified (or possibly terrifying) and helped me feel grounded in the midst of all that change. I’m a lucky girl.

So – more to come. For now, it’s 8 hours ahead and bedtime. I leave you with some pics of my last weeks in PDX.

[slickr-flickr tag=”lastdaysinpdx” items=”41″ type=”gallery”]

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