Take it slow: Part II - Portland, Oregon
I think I’m gonna start a Take it Slow series!
After a 2-weeks-burnout, and a sickly half-hearted week back at work, my Thanksgiving getaway falls right when I need it most! And so it is with a light heart and timid smile that I get into my Uber on Friday morning and head to Heathrow Airport. I stuck up on Airport goodies: Oreo thins, fashion magazines, a bag of Haribo and of course my bottle of water (gotta stay hydrated)… I have a big fat Korean Burger at Léon, a café latte and have a last phone call with my close ones before boarding (you never know…).
I’m flying Air Canada, and I’m loving it! Unlimited red wine, big fat Chips Ahoy cookies with vanilla ice cream for snack, and a collection of Bollywood movies I shall get pretty busy with…
My lay-over in Calgary gives me an idea of the temperature I will be dealing with in Portland…think landing on a strip covered with snow cold, think “I can’t see anything else but snow!” cold, think I ”see 2 snow-trucks passing by my window seat” cold!
Another café latte, 1 tryptophan and a 2-hours-long jet aircraft flight later (you know those small planes with propellers, that sit only 30 people and make so much noise you come out deaf?) and I finally hug my mom at Portland arrivals! It’s 6h30 PM but for me it’s 1h30 AM. We head straight home where the whole family is waiting for me with a nice warm dinner and a lovely bottle of wine!
And here my Holiday really begins. Immediately I am hit with the chill vibe. “This is what I needed” I think to myself.
Next day I am finally able to experience Portland by day and get the full picture! I have been here several times before, but it’s been a while… Portland has grown!
The American way of living is enjoyable: the large roads, my mom’s king-size bed, the size of my coca cola, my burger, and the physical space that surrounds me on a general basis is freaking refreshing! A sense of true personal space, not just physically, is with me at all times and is such a rest from the crowded polluted air of London! No one is up in my face! I GOT SPACE! I feet like my whole persona is respected and left alone!
But first things first: Shopping! Me and Ma head to Washington Square and have lunch at our fav’ - Cheesecake Factory. I’ll have the usual: Avocado spring rolls and Thai lettuce wrap, a glass of Pinot Grigio (oups! Waiter says no cuz they don’t accept British driving licences…Pfff…these Americans!). Ok so Ma will have a glass and I’ll sip on it while waiter is busy (catches me anyways)! We conclude this meeting with a big ass Strawberry Cheesecake slice (each!) and raid Abercrombie & Fitch. Everything is 50% Off. I love USA!
A walk downtown, in the Pearl District inspires me to take some shots. Old signs from the 60’s, red-bricked manufactures turned modern offices and colourful graffitis tell me Portland is one of the cool kids.
Suddenly, an unexplainable hunger for Mexican food takes control of me (must be all the Taco Bells I saw on the way) and I force Ma into a Mexican place called “Los Gorditos” (the Fatties). With a name like that I can’t go wrong! After all, I am on the West Coast, and Mexican food is to USA what curry is to UK! OH MY GOD! I have the BEST Huevos Rancheros EVER! (Google it!). My mom stares at me while I eat, in disbelief at the size of my plate… I love USA and I eat all of it!
Thanksgiving is tomorrow and we are driving up to Mount Hood for 2 days. My aunt bought a lovely wood cabin, in a protected area of the forest. We eat like monsters and drink wine like Romans, we play poker for the last piece of Tarte Tatin I made, me and my uncle go for a run in the woods, we turn on the fire place, eat and drink some more, take a long nap, visit the neighbours for a toast, eat and drink some more, and crash in bed to the sound of the wind and crackling branches. We wake up in the cold, and start all over again! My belly starts to soar but I tell it to hold on for another 2 days!
Thanksgiving is over, wine bottle empty, garbage in the trunk, we drive back to Portland happy to come back to a normal diet, but sad to leave this beautiful enchanted forest, where the trees are so tall they make my head spin.
A last bit of shopping and souvenirs, some left overs of roasted chicken, a couple of bottles of wine to finish up, and that’s it…it’s over. My holiday is gone. It is sad. But on the plane to London I reflect back…
This is my take: I spend too much time running, and not enough enjoying. A walk in the woods, a bottle of wine shared with a loved one, a fun game around the coffee table…taking the time to live, to experience, to eat, to sleep, to read a book… All these simple things are so enjoyable! They fill my heart and soul, bring me closer to friends and family. If I take anything from this trip, it would be to just chill! Be an epicurean. Enjoy the everyday stuff! Coming back from Portland, I really asked myself: “where am I running to?”. Everything I need is here and now, it is mine to enjoy now… living in future expectations gets in the way of me enjoying the present moment. Running solves nothing…
Thanks Portland USA for this valuable lesson…
And thanks to my family for the great memories we created!
‘Til next time!