Today is my 5 year Portland anniversary. Five years ago today, I arrived in this wonderful but foreign city. It was Super Bowl Sunday and it was raining. The Moores picked me up from the airport, took me by the grocery store to get some necessities for my first week here, and kindly opened up their home for me to live in for the first two months.
Here I was: a 22 year old girl from Texas who had just graduated from college, never really lived outside of Waco, and had never even visited the Pacific Northwest. I had no idea what this journey would look like. I didn't know what to expect. But I was open to whatever lie ahead of me and as I look back, I see that this journey has been more than I ever imagined.
I have changed, that’s for sure. I have grown immensely. I have learned a whole lot. Here are a few of the pieces of my 5-year journey that I am most thankful for:
- A church home community group that I have been a part of since the first week I moved here: there are six of us from that remaining group that are still very close and get together at least once a month. I am so grateful for these people whom I have known the entire time I’ve lived here.
- “Intentional community”: these are buzz words, I know. But “community” is very much a focus here in Portland. Over these past 5 years, I have learned how to dive deep into relationships in a way that I had never quite experienced before.
- Becoming closer to my family, the Moores: I say this often, but I don’t think I would still living up here in Portland without Steve and Thanne. They are my second family. Being away from my immediate family is very difficult, so having family here to invite me into their home and look after me is a huge blessing. I have spent numerous holidays at the Moore’s home (they even invite me over for Mother’s Day!) and they have been like second parents to me: bringing me food when I’m sick, helping me move houses, picking me up from the airport, going to dinner or coffee with me when I just need someone to talk to, encouraging me and giving me advice to help me through my 20s.
- Unleashing my adventurous spirit: I’ve got 4 marathons, 2 half marathons, 1 triathlon sprint, 5 mountain summits, 5 Hood to Coast races, 5 epic backpacking trips, rock climbing at Smith Rock, bike commuting, and so many ore adventures under my belt. And hopefully this is just the start of a lifetime of adventuring! - An amazing internship at a prestigious foundation which led to a wonderful job at an international nonprofit where I’ve grown professionally for the past 4 and a half years.
- Experiencing some hardships and heartaches of the “real world”, but experiencing more of the joys of life… all which have made me a better and stronger person.
- Building relationships with people who are very different from me: people who see life through a different lens, have a different background and upbringing than myself, those who are homeless, homosexual, of a different faith/religion, a generation or two ahead of me… all of whom I love and have learned so much from.
- Gained a new appreciation and love of amazing cuisine, coffee, beer and wine: Portland is the place to be to become a snob in each of these areas. And I am fully embracing it!
I could say a million other things that I love about Portland and am grateful for over these past 5 years. Thanks to each of you who have supported me here in this wonderful city and from far away. Let the adventure continue!
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