Fun-employed No More

My fun-employment has come to an end after a little over two months of readjusting from life after Alaska, reconnecting with friends in Seattle, and roaming around the U.S. as much as my stingy budget allowed. I have been a woman on the move and in transition, and I’m happy to announce I’m slowing down in . . . OREGON? What?!

That’s right, I have accepted a job in Portland, Oregon to work as the new Outreach and Events Coordinator for Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest. Last year, I served as a JV with them in Alaska, this year I’m in their office which I previously only called for bookkeeping complications and health insurance info. I’ve gotten to know the I-5 route between Portland and Seattle very well the past couple of weeks, as I’ve basically been a commuter going to Portland for work and back to Seattle for work meetings and social gatherings planned prior to being offered the job. And, of course, Thanksgiving weekend brings me home after staying in Sitka last year for the holiday.

I also experienced a rite of passage into adult life as I looked for a place to live in Portland. After reviewing with several people, Craigslist was unanimously agreed to be the most effective way to search for housing. So, after I knew I was moving, I began faithfully reviewing the posts and shooting out random emails to strangers about living in their homes. It turns out that Craigslist is, in fact, incredibly effective and after four visits to random houses and four days of commuting from my college roommate’s family’s home (thank you, Stanleys!!) in Vancouver (WA), I had a key to a great house in Northeast Portland.

Despite all that is going well as I transition, one thing creates great distress and inner turmoil: I have moved to the other (dare I say inferior?) Northwest state. Things like this previously made me cringe (and sometimes still do, though I’m trying to lighten up):

Really, Oregon?

My friend Scott asked me a couple weeks ago if I would be getting an Oregon driver’s license, to which I replied, “How dare you!”And I refuse (at least for now) to drive my wonderful Subaru, Joey, home to Seattle with an Oregon license plate and park it in front of my parents’ house. Some parts of transition go smoothly, other parts of transition take a bit longer to accept.

I recognize my place, however, and know that these sentiments are not to be shared aloud when residing in Oregon. Luckily, I have found a long-lost friend from Gonzaga who also works in the JVC Northwest office and is from Washington. Together, we are committed to subtly keeping the Washington superiority complex alive in the office.

Here are a few other tidbits I have remembered about Oregon in the last 10 days since arriving there:

-I now work in a state with income tax. Ew.

-But wait, there’s no sales tax! Time to purchase that new computer…

-I can’t pump my own gas. Annoying. So far, I have only gotten gas on my return trips to Washington, however, I don’t think that’s going to work long-term.

-Speed limits are 55 mph on the freeway. WHY?!

I am, however, willing to at least try to put my prejudices on hold and explore some new territory. Mt. Hood is no Mt. Rainier, but it does have three ski areas, which should be sufficient for now.

Of course, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I have completed my upper-body workout for the morning (vacuuming the living room and taking the turkey in and out of the oven numerous times), but I better head out for my pre-turkey run. I leave with one parting image:

Exactly, Washington. Exactly.