A San Diego Girl’s Thoughts on Portland

a.k.a. Surface observations and generalizations from a typical California girl.

Xelia at Reed

Photo by Brigid (SaylaMarz on flickr)

•It is crazy cold. Everybody will tell you that you got here for the good weather. You will see people wearing shorts and tanktops soaking up the sun yet you will be wearing two hoodies and a scarf and still be freezing.

•Everyone will tell you that you must go to Voodoo Donuts. They will also tell you that you absolutely have to try the bacon maple donut. Do it. It is AMAZING.

•There is moss everywhere. Portland is very, very green. You’ll think it’s gross because in California the closest thing you see to moss is algae and fungus that grows in gross, damp places. You’ll think it’s the same thing but it’s not.

•There are no palm trees. There are a million other trees, however. It’s gorgeous

•If you are anything like me, you will not be stylish in Portland. Everybody wears flared jeans. Fashion is much flowier and earthier. People will look at you like you dress weird. You will stick out like a sore thumb.

•The closest thing to a 711 (at least where I’m staying) is called Plaid Pantry.

•Embrace and love the fact that there is no sales tax. Cigarettes are still just as expensive as in California, though.

•You will not use the Spanish language that is so helpful knowing in Southern California at all.

•There are a hell of a lot of homeless people. They’re nothing like the homeless dudes that you see in Downtown San Diego. And they’re honest. Where you’re from the signs they hold up say things like “Disabled, sick, hungry Vietnam veteran. Need to get back to Ohio. God bless.” Here? Their signs simply say “Need more beer and meth.”

•It’s a good town for walking and riding bikes. Since I can’t ride a bike, I’ve been walking at least ten miles a day. I don’t even feel like I need to go to the gym because I’ve been walking so damn much. When you get back to California you’ll feel guilty driving to McDonalds when you could easily walk there.

•There isn’t that ‘California bitchiness’. People smile and say hello, how are you when you’re walking down the street. They have no motive. People are just nicer.

•There are a lot of stores that sell only clogs and Birkenstocks. However, you may not see a lot of people wearing them. There are also a lot of stores that you will wish we had in California.

•It is septum piercing central up in here. The majority of people I’ve seen have em. Same with the bleach blonde and brown combo for hair.

•There are so many cute dogs. SO many.

•Everybody’s car sounds like it has something wrong with it. That just might be the mechanic in me saying that, though.

•Learn it, love it, embrace being somewhere different. Go home to California feeling totally refreshed. Come back again.

Portland was the perfect place for me to go and try to relax and clear my head. I’m flying home tomorrow. I’ll miss Portland, but I’ve got to get back to my life eventually, as much as I don’t want to. I’m definitely going to be coming back, and hopefully the next time I get back over here it’ll be with my best friend. She’d love it.

But my heart is in San Diego, and as much as I love Portland I’ve gotta go chase after it. I’ll be doing just that as soon as I step off the plane tomorrow.

Also? Tomorrow is my birthday. I’ll be 20.




Filed under Observations.

11 responses to “A San Diego Girl’s Thoughts on Portland

  1. jai

    This is very entertaining. Makes me realize how much i should appreciate the different places ive been, how much i fail to notice(and take for granted) about my own town, and also makes me wish i could take a trip to portland. 🙂
    happy birthday!

  2. Pingback: Develonizer › A San Diego Girl’s Thoughts on Portland (via Google Reader)

  3. well well I’ve tried to be your friend on myspace but without success,so I’ll have to settle for being some kinda internet in peeping tom, if I were gay I might be in love you, you’re beautiful in alot of ways and your pretty too and I’m happy for you being able to pull yourself back time and again, some people never do, I know some of them

    anyways, I’m writing to you to wish you a happy happy happy birthday and I wish you all love~ good juju and peace of mind there is there in Califorina, which I know there’s not alot, my sister a califorina girl,too. you think you’ve seen it all till you leave and realize there’s a whole other world out here

    much love Enchari

  4. Gem

    happy birthday for tomorrow!!

    and you’ve made me want to visit Portland now 🙂 one day, when I finally make it over to the States…

  5. Megan (merry prankster)

    LOL @ Plaid Pantry, I ended up walking back past that place again on Monday!
    I totally loved the homeless dudes signs, my favorite was “Why lie? I need a Burgar and a Beer”.
    Im surprised you didn’t delay your flight home, 4am is gonna be such a bitch for you on your Birthday!

  6. Wow, I can’t believe you’re only going to be 20! My birthday is in 3 weeks, and I feel so old because I’m going to be 24, and my baby will be a year old in a week and a half…time flies!

    I think some of the things you mentioned about Portland could apply to Georgia as well, especially on the niceness thing. And the greenness. I love the greenness of Georgia. And what kind of cute dogs are you seeing? I HEART Boston Terriers, so when I see them, I get REALLY REALLY giddy!

    Anywho, Oregon is where I’d love to end up for a few years in my life. I have family there and I stayed with them for two weeks a few years back, and it was amazing. I loved it so much, and I’d do anything to get out of the Bible Belt here in the South!

  7. Happy birthday, Xe! I hope it’s a good one and I’m glad you had such a great time in Portland.

  8. Between the lines you learned me a thing or two about California as well. Happy 20th birthday!

  9. Shannon

    There is no way you’re only 20. I feel so OOOLD. 😉

  10. MC

    That’s a great list. Very asute. I lived around San Diego many years and now live in Portland. People think I’m nuts when I tell them I love the moss.


  11. M

    that’s funny. i felt basically the same way as you when i, a san diego girl, went to portland last year.

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