On New Years, Being an Adult & Portland.
The start of a new year is the fucking worst. You are fat and blotchy from three weeks of booze, cookies and 5 dinners that include a dry bird smothered in a rendering of its own fat. You haven't put on real pants in a week and social media is littered with half-drunk, wholly unflatting pictures where you may or may not be attempting to withhold vomit.
It is supposed to be the Best Time where you cast off the shadows of the past and begin the New You. Lol.
As a salacious aside, last year, around this time my boyfriend took me to LA to meet his parents. We went to Napa! We drove down highway 1! Then he broke up with me. At his parent's house. So, that was awesome. How could 2015 begin any worse?
And it didn't! I went back to Toronto. I saw all these wonderful humans. I remembered how easy and lovely it is to exist in this warm belly of a place you have spent your childhood and all the years. Then I came back here and I'm like, yep. And I didn't want to go home because it wouldn't be right. But this wasn't home yet either. I keep trying to write about how moving makes you this transient being with no real 'home', but how it's not horrible - though daunting - but quite empowering, in a terrifying Total Freedom kind of way that our spoiled generation of a certain time and privilege is lucky/ unlucky enough to feel always. It's a thing I'm really coming to believe and maybe even articulate better soon.
And then it was December 31st. It came and went. I was lucky enough to crash a champagne dim sum party on the 1st that made me feel a bit more full of BC love and statistically more comprised of noodle.
And yet. I kept sitting with my journal and waiting for elegant aspirations of a New Me to flow. Nicole in Five Years! Nicole in Ten Years! Nicole in Six Months? Nicole Next Week?
I had fucking nothing. Really, less than nothing. After all the change last year, I felt pretty decisioned out. Recently, I've been talking to friends about decisions, feeling like an adult and what it all means.
One thing is certain we, the humans, make decisions. These decisions affect our path. Paths aren't better or worse they're just different. I really like this recent New-Year-New-You!-ish, but not nauseating article in the New York Times, as it shifts resolutions to less about cheese and bread (because you should always eat them) and more about mindfully making decisions and shaping the life you value and can commit to. I want to be the type of person that commits to challenge and risk and trying to be better. That sucks sometimes, but I am probably going to keep choosing hard paths because if I didn't I would go fucking crazy. Is that a resolution? So many of my smart, late-twenties, early-thirties, late-thirties friends are in this same weird mindset.
Anyways. Kind of emo ramblings not about wine because it turns out I am bad at having a just wine blog (#boringggg).
One thing I know I like is adventure. Last weekend I went to portland with my hilarious, lovely, beautiful friend Alex. And by beautiful, I mean handsome because gender roles. Portland is the city of dreams. It is the first American place I could really see myself living. Basically, the only things I knew about Portland were from bits and pieces of the hit IFC show Portlandia: all feminist bookstores, empowering slam poetry, chickens with names and mayors who bike.
I am happy to report, that although I did not eat a chicken with a biography, I did stay in an artist community drop in called the "cuddlehaus" filled with more animals than people, where cats and birds lived in perfect harmony and each of the resident's hair was accompanied by a neon streak or dread. I think that basically counts.
Portland is the largest city in Oregon (though preciously small). Everywhere you look are gorgeous tree lined streets and houses with big porches and bright paint that look 85% likely to be occupied by wizards. Even downtown and the busy stretches felt so darling. The most friendly. The most airy and beautiful and zen. It was 10 degrees and strolling around this city known for liberalism, environmentalism and roses, the most prominent signage were the "Keep Portland Weird" bumper stickers and graphiti stetched almost everywhere.
We had such a whirlwind trip that included mostly eating and drinking because there is a reason I have a 'wine' blog, plus nature stuff. Doing a naturey thing, even if kinda hungover and extremely tired will make you feel like the ruler of trips and man.
Here are some things to do if you go to Portland.
Eat at Pok Pok. Know that it will take 2 hours for a table. Put your name down and walk around the wicked neighbourhood having a drink at each bar because the best way to get a feel for the place. Order as much as humanly possible. Also on this same strip is Ava Genes, another great place. We only went for a glass of wine, but Charles Smith was just finishing dinner, sooooo good sign. By the time we arrived, the chefs were cleaning with such vigour that surely their cooking must be at least an 8 if they cook half as hard as they scrub.
The next day we decided to explore outdoorsy things, but first do lame, but necessary tourist things, that you should do too (at least once).
Coffee: at Stumptown.
Donuts: at Voodoo. I know DONUTS. Who cares. But these are somehow donuts to get extremely excited about. I don't even like donuts, but I couldn't not wait thirty minutes to enter the doors where these puffed artery cloggers were displayed like fine jewelry at the carny oscars.
After filling ourselves with donuts, we got incredibly lost looking for the gorgeous Multnomah Falls that are in fact very close to the city and not the two hours away we drove to a sleepy Oregon town. When realizing that you are incredibly lost and have driven 5 x the distance required the answer is not anger, but pizza. The first sleepy town with a pizza place was a gift from the gods. Sadly, it obvs was the place to be and mega packed, so we settled on burritos. The owner was the most portlandia-ish character we met. everything is organicccc and naturallll the rice is madddeee with only the bessstttt oilssss the meatttt is sourceeddddd etc etc She spoke in this strange slow drone like a hippie robbot from a terrifying future where we all sleep in hemp pods.
Anyways, we found the waterfall and it was so fucking gorgeous and worth the 4 hours it took to find it. Yeah.
We also went to the grotto. Which was kind of creepy? Maybe it would be nice in the summer? I don't know. It seemed like a place where one might be murdered, but the trees sure were pretty and gosh it was lush.
I feel like I have been talking forever, but you should just go to Portland, alright? Go to Powell Books. Go to Olympic Provisions. Go to Clyde Common. Go to all the tiny cocktail bars. Go to some seedy bars. I liked the Know because we didn't belong, but they were so friendly.
End it all with the most delicious, bad for you southern food at Pine State Biscuits. Down bloody marys and wonder how much free health care really matters, as you consider taking up the henna tattoo - making portland a little weirder by your permanent arrival.