The story continues...
They called me for an interview for the job applied for. I couldn’t believe it. I needed to go to Portland, so I tracked down a friend from school who I thought had moved north. She and her husband shlogged to the airport at 3:45 am to pick me up, and over the course of the weekend, I fell in love with the place.
Rainy, damp, old: this was a city, more than the little college town I was visiting from. Bridges, dingy old town (this was pre-Pearl), parks and things so green. I saw the Columbia River Gorge and it took my breath away. We had the best beer and rustic pesto bread at the downtown Widmer bakery and brewpub (it’s now Southpark). The music scene was beginning to buzz with the grunge scene of the early 1990s, and we saw live music, visited Saturday Market, had the best coffee at a place called Coffee People and we rode the MAX to most of the places we went. This was a really cool city.
The interview went well. While at my friends apartment, I received a call. It was a voice from a long time ago, my friend Sally. We grew up together, with shared memories from first grade through her marriage in Scotland—which was the last time we had spoken… I had called her on her wedding day at the Scottish pub where they were celebrating, her thick accent surprising me, but like old friends do, the miles between us flew away and we laughed and giggled and enjoyed the moment.
It was Sally’s voice now that I heard on the other line of that phone on my second day visiting Portland, and she said she had called my parents in Southern California just now, hoping to reconnect with me. She wasn’t in Scotland anymore.
“Where are you now?” I asked, imagining New York or California or London. “I’m in Portland, Oregon,” she answered “and I work downtown near Saturday Market. I couldn’t stop thinking about you today and needed to track you down.” Of course I had been at Saturday Market that day, oogling at all of the hand made items, especially the spoon man and all those things he could make from spoons.
I had to sit down. It was a bit much of a coincidence. It had been months, or years since we had last spoken, and to think she tracked me down while I was visiting Portland for the very first time. Of course, we met up while I was visiting (over coffee, duh!), and her love of the place was infectious. By now I saw all of the pieces falling into place and the obvious direction I was being pointed towards. I was meant to live in this place, and if I got the job, I knew I would return.
A week back in Chico, I got the call of a job offer. They even paid for my move. I was moving to the place I was meant to be, in Portland, Oregon.