Some Observations After Two Weeks

Thank you to everyone who’s following along on this journey of mine. All of your support means a lot to me.

After a little more than two weeks, I am settling in, growing accustomed to the pace of life here. I have a few scattershot observations on differences, which probably aren’t that profound but seemed so to me at the time.


This is probably a difference between every rural area and every well-planned urban center, but for me it’s a difference between the mid-size cities of Central Texas and Portland. Lots of people walk. A LOT. At least half the people I’ve met don’t own automobiles, or if they do own them only drive them a few times a week or only on weekends.

Which makes sense, because there aren’t any parking spaces here. Oh, there are a few, but they’re always filled. I’m more accustomed to cars being a necessity, because nothing is within walking distance of anything else. The old neighborhood where I grew up in Austin had only a corner store within walking distance; any other business must be driven to. Killeen and Harker Heights were mostly the same way.

Here, apartments and streets with houses are almost always within a reasonable walking distance from restaurants, book stores, supermarkets, and so on.

I re-did my math on the bus pass and have decided to sell my car. What I had forgotten is that I’m not making car payments, but will certainly have to save for my *next* car, or begin making payments then. Once I add that, it’s clearly cheaper to get a pass for public transportation.

In two weeks, I’ve lost 10 pounds, which isn’t ALL due to walking, but surely that plays a part.

(Exercise is for health, not weight loss, just to be clear. Your resting metabolism burns *almost* as many calories as when you exercise. To lose weight, you must eat differently, which I am finally learning to do.)


I haven’t seen this many beards since the Civil War. Not that I was alive during the civil war, you understand, but c’mon, man. Nobody needs this many beards. Even tourists here have beards. Big ones, fluffy ones, pointy ones, round ones, bushy ones — basically any kind of beard you can think of except really small and neat ones.

I haven’t given in yet, because (1) I don’t understand it, (2) shaving each morning is part of my “getting ready to face the day” routine, and (3) really, what is the beard FOR? Doesn’t it get in the way? Don’t you get food stuck in there? Won’t it get caught in your jacket’s zipper?


While “The South” is often caricatured as slow-moving, slow-talking, and generally laid-back in general, this has not been my experience. Everywhere in Texas, highway speed limits are 70 mph or higher, and people drive like that in neighborhoods too. Here it’s much slower going on the roads, which is probably a good idea because the roads are narrow and there’s an intersection every 200 feet (literally).

But even the people walking don’t seem to be in a rush, even though all of them have somewhere to be. It all feels sluggish and “chillaxed” to me, which is weird because I was always told that’s what WE were in Texas.


Work is going well. I am indeed the oldest person at the establishment (not counting subcontracted cleaning crew), but no one seems to hold that against me so far.

It’s weird that everyone is white; it might be the first time I’ve ever worked somewhere that *all* employees were white (again, not counting the subcontracted cleaning crew). The city itself is more diverse than my workplace, and so is my apartment building. But on a startling number of occasions I’ve walked into a business and seen only white people. This just didn’t happen in Central Texas. I hope I don’t get used to it.

I am apparently good at what I do and was drastically underpaid for it in Texas.


Though there are multiple churches in the area, I haven’t yet had a person talk to me about it, hand me a piece of paper about it, or the other nonsense that I was getting so tired of in Texas. This part feels like paradise.


So far, very close to what I would be experiencing back in Texas. Forties and fifties, light rain, cloudy skies.

EDITED TO ADD: I forgot to say, my boss looks like a twin of the character David, from the show Travelers — except with a bushier beard. Every time I see him, I think I’ve stepped into a world where time travel is real. Ha.


11 thoughts on “Some Observations After Two Weeks

  1. I am glad things are going well for you. It sounds like you are very happy with your choice to move. Congratulations on the walking and weight loss. I have a bushy beard myself but mine is white, so I guess I would fit in. I wish we had decent mass transit here, that was one of the things I loved about Germany. You will have to post some pictures when you get settled and set up. Best wishes. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for commenting, Scottie. Not many white beards, but I’ve seen a few, LOL. Mine looks like it’s going to be speckled with various competing colors. Shrug.

      “Pictures” : So far, I’m still a no-camera-having person, but that might change someday. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting that you mentioned Travelers! Pretty cool show.

    Glad things are still going in a positive direction for you. Definitely enjoy reading about your impressions and comparisons. I haven’t ever lived in a “big” city — more on the side of midsize to a bit larger (and one time, quite small) — so definitely enjoy reading about your experiences.

    Looking forward to the next update.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I enjoyed Travelers. 🙂

      This is only my second big city (grew up in Austin, which is surprisingly similar in many ways). Most of my adulthood has been in midsize cities. I’m loving it so far.


  3. “…which probably aren’t that profound but seemed so to me at the time.”

    This happens to me a lot. I’ll think of something, or notice something, and mention it to my wife, who responds: “Duh. Everyone knows that.” Ha.

    “At least half the people I’ve met don’t own automobiles…”

    I wish! The only period of my adulthood in which I didn’t have a car was during college. Only a few things were within walking distance. It was over a mile to the nearest grocery store (Walmart), over a mile to my job, and so on. When I did walk those, it was often in pouring rain or thick snow or intense heat. I got a ride whenever possible.

    Cities need better planning, for sure. My current neighborhood now has over 1,000 houses, and there’s not a single business within walking distance. (The only non-house close enough to reasonably walk to is the police department’s new building, and I try not to go there very often, LOL.) I think every clump of houses should be interspersed with clumps of businesses — restaurants, shops, etc.

    “…there aren’t any parking spaces here…”

    I noticed that during my vacation to Portland a few years ago. It was HORRIBLE for a tourist in a rental car. I really wanted to visit a lot more local shops and restaurants, and I had a list of them too, but most I had to check off the list due to the *hours* I spent going round-and-round blocks trying to find parking. When I finally did find parking, it was on a faraway side street and I had to walk really far just to get to one or two things.

    But if I lived there, I would certainly get a bus pass.

    “Exercise is for health, not weight loss, just to be clear. Your resting metabolism burns *almost* as many calories as when you exercise.”

    I wish more people realized this. I know several people who work out a LOT, hoping to lose weight, yet they haven’t changed their diets. Vox had an article recently that explains it a little.

    “I haven’t seen this many beards since the Civil War.”

    I also noticed this in Portland. I assume the entire region has no razors for sale in stores — because no one’s buying or using them. I would never fit in there due to my distinct lack of ability to grow a beard.

    “…I haven’t yet had a person talk to me about it, [or] hand me a piece of paper about it…”

    That would be awesome. Here in Texas, someone talks to me about religion almost every single day. In particular, there’s a lady at the kids’ bus stop who I wait with for the school bus, and she’s EVERY DAY telling me about the Lord did this for her and she’ll decide where to move once the Lord tells her something. It’s ridiculous.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. As a 25-year Portland resident, I find your observations interesting. Personally, it surprises me how much space downtown is taken up by parking garages, but I guess it’s all relative to what you’re used to.

    The bus and rail system here is very good by US standards. Just watch out for the occasional fried-brains and other pests who make a point of riding the lines and hassling people.

    I hope you don’t get too fed up with the rain. The only non-rainy period here is the summer after about the end of June. There’s a reason it’s so green here. Sometimes in January and February the streets get icy and the whole city pretty much shuts down — this doesn’t feel like one of those years, though.

    Please keep posting your impressions. Whether profound or not, it’s fascinating to see how one’s home city appears to someone from somewhere else.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment, Infidel753.

      As for the parking garages, perhaps it’s just that my brain isn’t accustomed to looking for them — where I’m from we have parking lots (which are free to park in). If I’m going to, say, Target, there’s a big parking lot in front of Target, and so that’s where I park while I’m in Target. But here in Portland, if I’m going to Business X, I drive up and see three curbside parking spaces (always filled by people who got there before me) and then drive around the nearby 10 blocks for 30 minutes looking for an empty space that costs too much to park in.

      (Maybe since I’m new I just don’t know where to look for the garages, and I assume they’re not free either.)

      Regardless, I’ve solved this by deciding to sell my car. 🙂

      “I hope you don’t get too fed up with the rain.”

      I might, someday, LOL. But right now, it’s amazing. In Texas, we spend most of our days wondering if rain really exists. 😉

      “Whether profound or not, it’s fascinating to see how one’s home city appears to someone from somewhere else.”

      Thanks for this. I’m working on a new entry, which might or might not get published tomorrow.

      Liked by 1 person

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