I'm heading east. Tomorrow morning I will drive out of Southeast Portland, past the old houses and the coffeeshops and the plethora of Asian markets. I will take my old route to work, but instead of taking the Fairview exit I will continue up the Columbia gorge, past the fine hiking near Multnomah Falls and the rock-climbing at Horsethief Butte, and onward into the territory I only see when I'm passing through. I know the drive between Portland and Wisconsin well enough that I don't need the map anymore; I have to follow the signs carefully for that one dodgy stretch around Pasco and Kennewick, and if I hit traffic in Minneapolis I might try to look up an alternate route, but the rest of the trip is burned into my mind. I've lost track of how many times I've done this drive. At least six times across, plus at least another six on Greyhound following the same route.
This trip is different, though, because this time I won't be returning to Portland, at least for a while. My car is loaded to the gills with all of the junk I didn't sell, give away, trash, or abandon. I shipped ahead 140 pounds of books and another 80 of clothing and kitchen gear. I own too much stuff.
From next week onward, I'll be living in Champaign-Urbana, IL. I will be studying plant biology, finally living in the same house as kalmialatifolia (well, in four months, anyway), learning to live in a place without hills, gardening and cooking a lot, and spending a lot of late nights in the lab. In five years or so, I'll finish up a badass PhD thesis and go looking for new horizons, but right now a small city in central Illinois is the place for me.
Portland has been good to me. I have six years worth of memories set here: Most of one love now over, the start of another still ongoing, hundreds of hours in coffeeshops, photo walks in St. Johns, late-night frisbee in Irving Park or on Mount Tabor, two years of being a grunt and four years of being an egghead. Portland is where I wrecked my first car, ate my first sushi, and knifed my first hobo (...or maybe that was a dream). I'm going to miss the neighborhoods full of negligently but happily tended gardens, the hot bicyclists, the hipsters and and hippies and punks and outdoors lovers, the skyline seen from the Hawthorne bridge, the walks in the rain-that's really-just-mist-trending-downward.
Portland residents, don't be strangers. I can still be reached by phone, email, AIM, Gchat, IRC, Facebook, Livejournal, that form on my website, and probably some other ways as well. Get in touch with me by whatever method you know and I'll tell you my info for the others.
I don't know my new address yet, and I will be moving at least once more in August. If you have anything to send me (or want to visit!), check with me by one of the methods listed above.