About four years ago, I moved more than a thousand miles away from my family, to a state I had never set foot in before. I ended up in a quiet little suburb of Portland, Oregon, where the trees grow to fantastic sizes and the air smells thick and rich and verdant when it rains. (And it rains a lot.)
For the first two years here, I rarely set foot inside Portland itself. Everything we needed was in our sleepy little town. But then we moved to a house very close to the MAX, the light rail that traverses the Portland metro area, and that changed everything. I’ve always had a “thing” about driving; it’s always filled me with anxiety. But being able to take public transport meant that I could go almost anywhere I wanted, as long as the bus and the MAX could take me there.
So I started going into Portland. I went a lot for work, to various meetings around the city, and I also went just to experience the unique texture and flavor that Portland has. When I ride the MAX, I sit up straight and stare out of the windows (looking like a kid or a goddamn tourist, I’m sure). I’m constantly enchanted by the city around me.
Portland isn’t without troubles of its own, like the housing crisis that is evident in the number of people sleeping on the streets and struggling to find a place to spend their days. But the City of Roses is also strikingly beautiful, with green space and street art and food trucks on every corner.
Portland has a peculiar mix of cynicism and idealism, a New York hipster meets West Coast hippie kind of aesthetic. It tries to project an entrepreneurial vibe, but at its heart, it’s not a for-profit enterprise. You don’t go to Portland to make money. You go to Portland to breathe.
Just this summer, I came across a book that eloquently captures the Portland spirit I’ve fallen in love with. WORTH THE WAIT by Karelia Stetz-Waters is the third book in her Out In Portland lesbian romance series, and my favorite of the three.
Earnest, beautiful, sweet Avery Crown has everything she could want–except the one thing she wants most. That’s the effortlessly cool, gorgeously hip, absolutely unforgettable Merritt Lessing. Sparks flew between them when they were in high school, but circumstances pulled them apart. Now, they’ve got a second chance, and……that’s all I’m going to say. I’m not going to summarize the book for you, because you absolutely have to read it. I’ll just say that it’s sexy and angsty and so totally Portland-chic that I fell utterly in love with it.
I’m so grateful to have ended up in this sleepy town right next to such a vibrant and colorful city. At thirty years old, I can tell you, finding a place that really feels like home is totally worth the wait, and that book is too.
Get WORTH THE WAIT from Amazon (or wherever you buy books.)