As expected, I’m exhausted.
So far, the best part of this move is that I researched ahead of time and threw out a bunch of stuff. I previously lived in a small-to-medium sized mobile home, which was roomy compared to this place. Before moving, I gave away my bed, my sofa, piles of clothes, two dressers, a bookshelf, and more — things I’ve acquired over the past 20-something years and never had to worry about having space for. I hauled them out to the curb and each thing was gone before I got back outside with the next piece.
Even so, I barely fit my remaining belongings in this tiny apartment (which was apparently designed for broke college students who don’t own anything). I bought a smaller bed. I should have left my desk in Texas too; I need a smaller one. The clothes I did bring won’t all fit in the “closet” (which is actually a small wardrobe on wheels, not built-in as shown on the floorplan).
Oh, and did I mention the fridge is so tiny I can only fit a couple days’ worth of food in it? If I can afford it, I will buy another refrigerator soon.
But I’m here, and I’m warm and dry.
I carefully organized my trip to stay on interstates as much as possible, and to make sure hotels were available along the way. That worked out well enough. I-35 north to Wichita (first day). I-135 and I-70 to Denver, I-25 to Cheyenne, and I-80 to Laramie (second day). I-80 to Salt Lake City and I-84 to Boise (third day). The final day was the shortest, riding I-84 all the way to Portland.
The scenery was beautiful. I passed a hundred places I would have loved to stop if I had more time and money. If I had a camera like Richard or Wil (and knew anything about it) I might have a thousand photos to marvel at. But my fear of a car breakdown rises exponentially every time I stop, especially far between anywhere.
Most of the trip was just driving, eating (often while driving), and then sleeping (usually not while driving).
As Wil said (see comments on a previous entry), most things cost about the same here. Mainly gasoline and living quarters are sky-high. “Affordable housing” here costs about twice what the same place would cost where I just left, and is about three times harder to find and about half the size. I’m accustomed to rent being about a quarter of my monthly budget. Now it will be closer to half. My plan is to make up for some of this by selling my car (and thus saving costs on insurance, gas, and repairs/checkups). Then I’ll be dependent upon public transportation and/or a bicycle — if they make a bike that will hold me.
I’m holding off on internet here. There are a LOT more choices than I’m used to, but most have data caps — something I’m against in principle.
It’s been “rainy”, but not rainy. This is more like a mist — like Texans enjoy from their misters on back porches on summer days. I almost don’t notice it. If this is “rain”, and a few people have told me it is, then I can easily get used to it. As someone said in a city office: “The weather here doesn’t try to kill you.” That will be a huge change from my previous life.
I have met my boss and visited my workplace and I’m set to start tomorrow. I think I will be the oldest person on staff, but they seem friendly. No Jeebus posters on the walls, thank goodness.
Previously: I was barely within walking distance of a decent shopping center (including Target, cinema, Ross, bank, credit union, sporting goods, clothes, restaurants, liquor, and more), but anything else required a drive.
Now: Within a few blocks, I can walk to several restaurants and coffee shops, a branch of the Oregon DMV, a couple of museums, some city offices, and two (small) city parks, and more. About 10 blocks away is a “Target City” (apparently a smaller, urbanized version of Target), which I will try soon. I’ll probably walk because if I drove it would take 30 minutes to find parking. A little closer than that is a public library. And, from the map, it looks like approximately 22 Starbucks locations are within a 10-block radius.
(Note: apparently, blocks here are smaller than elsewhere, only 200 feet long. That’s not counting the width of the street, though. So my “10 blocks” to Target, above, is about half a mile.)
Multiple city bus stops surround my block; it’ll take me a while to learn bus routes — I haven’t ridden public transportation in quite some time. I was surprised at how much it costs to ride the bus; it might not be cheaper than having a car after all. (The hardest part of owning a car here is going to be parking it. In just a few days, I have wasted multiple hours looking for parking places. This alone will probably be why I’ll get rid of the car.)
My emotions are all over the place. I’ve never lived outside Texas, so there’s a little worry that I’ll never grasp the essence of being a Portlander (actual word). There’s fear that I’ll commit some egregious offense, something that is normal where I’m from. (I actually had a nightmare about that a few days ago.) I’m excited to see new places and learn new things. I’m proud of myself — not only for making the change but for surviving a multi-day solo cross-country trip. I’m nervous about my new job and my new place and having to switch over my ID and running out of money and…
Okay, so most of my emotions are worry and nerves.
Note: I don’t have internet at home yet. I will post this when I’m next in a place with free WiFi and actually have a few minutes — I want to search out a few links and add them. So if I mentioned “today” anywhere above, it is Sunday, Jan. 6, as I write this. It might not get posted until Monday or something.
(Ended up posting during lunch break on Monday, 7th.)