This is our new bedroom in our rental bungalow in Portland, OR. We had to put 5 coats of paint on the walls to cover the vibrant sunburst yellow that this room (and the rest of the house) was painted, but now we have a simple, quiet, clean space to rest. It's not perfect, a bit make shift still, but it's the room in the house that feels most like us, like home. The living room and dining room are coming along. The bathroom and the kitchen... Really, no amount of paint can save those outdated and ill-designed rooms. It's ok, it's just a rental.
We've just been here a few months, and the process of transition is challenging. I miss my friends, I miss my routines, I miss my comfort zone. But starting in a new place is also exciting and the exploration of a new town feels adventurous. Laying new sturdy and supportive roots for ourselves, whether socially or professionally, will take time, but there have been so many immediate lifestyle benefits that carry us through and keep us feeling that we made the right choice. We have a 1600 sq. ft. house with a detached two car garage that is bigger than our 300 sq. ft. apartment in Brooklyn was. YES. Our GARAGE is bigger than our APARTMENT was in NY. We are planting a vegetable garden and you can grow food during more of the year here since the weather is milder. We should have our first harvest of peas and radishes (hopefully lettuce too!) in just a couple of weeks. We have basic amenities that most people take for granted but are hard to come by in NY; a dishwasher, a washer and dryer in our basement, a fireplace. The cost of living is lower. The pace is slower. People smile more.
I do love NY. There is no where else in this country like it and the energy and inspiration the city generates drives me. I need it. But I am so glad to be able to visit on my terms now. I'm back frequently for work which keeps me continuing to build a career I am proud of, allows me to see my friends, eat all the great food, enjoy the city as a visitor. Feel its luster but not its burden. And when it all starts to feel a little exhausting, it's usually about time to come back to my new, more restorative home.
Moving and adjusting is hard. It's a long process. When I'm bored and missing my friends on a Friday night in Portland; Or dragging myself out of bed at 3am to catch an early flight and spending countless hours on planes and in airports; Or sleeping on couches and living out of a suitcase between friend's places in NY, I try to remind myself that there is a balance. I'm not sure I've found it yet. But somehow, I am figuring out how to get the best of both worlds.
Photography by Scott Rounds