If you stay, I’ll buy you a puppy.
Those are my mother’s words. It wasn’t the first thing she said when I told her my plan to move to the USA. The first time I mentioned it she said
I don’t like the idea of you being so far away. What if your car breaks down and you don’t know what to do? I can’t help you from that far away.
I like that I own a car in this fantasy. I like that she is apparently a mechanic in this fantasy. I told her I would do the same thing there that I would do here. Like google it, yar.
Every time I brought the moving subject up she would get upset. After these conversations I would call up my friend Amy to tell her about the suffocation. She did it again! She’s trying to make me feel guilty for planning to do this. I’m old enough Amy, I can do what I want! And Amy would reply, loyal in her anger. Oh my God what is wrong with her? She can’t do that. Yes you’re old enough, she needs to accept that and stop trying to bully you into not living your life!
Ofcourse, it sounds more dramatic in writing. But there was a bit of a bad atmosphere around this subject, where comments like well, obviously I can’t stop you from going… would be the resting place of the conversation. To clear things up for you, readers, my mum is American and moved to the UK when she married my Dad, who is British. I was born in the UK but I have American and British Citizenship. So, yes, she couldn’t say moving country was not a good plan because she did it herself. What a woman. I’m just trying to be like her.
At this point, I could see that it was hurting my mum’s feelings so I stopped talking about it and began planning it solo, or with google. First I needed to pick somewhere. New York is too expensive. San Francisco is cool, but also expensive. L.A. I don’t want to have to have a car just yet. Portland, Oregon? I have never been there. I googled it and fell in love. It has a lot of trees. It has entirely gluten free and vegan cafes. It has printmaking studios. It has 9 quilt shops. It has a yarn shop called Yarnia and you pick your fibres and they will spin it into yarn for you. Macdonald’s tried to open a restaurant there and the residents protested against it and won. It has a river. Why was I not born there?
Even though I was already in love with it I thought it would be sensible to go and visit before I made any final decisions. So in December I booked some flights for the end of January. You are coming back right? Mother says. Yes for goodness sake.
So off I went! I did not want to come back but knew I should. I fell hard in love with Portland. It was the first time I had travelled to the US by myself too. Honestly the only scary bit was the airport security. I stood watching all the Canadians getting questioned about why they were in the USA and began to get nervous for some reason while desperately trying to remember if it was leisure or pleasure. I was 90% sure it was leisure. But with my magic passport, the security man just checked my photo and said Welcome Home. And I thought The next time I come here that might be true. Duh, Duh, Duh….
I could see myself living there totally. I didn’t have a luxurious stay while there, not by any means as I went for the low cost options. This made me realise that despite not having tons of funds, I was still able to have tons of fun so it must be a good place to live because I probably won’t be rich any time soon. So I had a nice grounded, realistic visit.
I saw the trees at the Hoyt Arboretum, a living tree museum (not just a forest) and it was the first time I had ever seen a Redwood. They are very tall trees! I ate at vegan and gluten free cafes where I had waffles for the first time since finding out I couldn’t eat wheat last year. I visited the printmaking studios and fell in love with one of them. I went to two quilt shops where I discover fabric is nearly half the price than it is here in the UK, what!? I went to several yarn shops and bought sock yarn. I went to Target a lot. And to Whole Foods. I ate gluten free Pop Tarts. I went to the art museum and they had quilts in the Native American Art exhibit. There is a craft museum but I didn’t get a chance to go, unfortunately.
I just felt so at home there. Portland just had all the things that I like. It didn’t even rain that much. It rains more in Manchester than it did there. And I don’t mind the rain. I also quite liked how polite the cars were there, they would actually stop to let you cross the road. A lot of the cars had tinted windows so I couldn’t see the drivers; I would just be stood on the curb waiting for the car to pass wondering what in the world they were doing. They were probably doing the same while saying certain words. It took me a few days to realise the system.
Sorry the photographs of my trip are a bit odd. I was taking pictures of strange things that don’t happen in the uk. Like Jesus vans, toilet paper prisons and pancake + sausage on a stick! To the last one, everyone comments ‘What the? Next to the Special K?’ In the UK breakfast is not something you can buy frozen and Special K is just cereal – two kinds, with berries or without. I like that in America there is an abundance of everything.
Coffee was really good there. I had a lot. I’ve always liked coffee but I didn’t drink it that much, preferring tea. Since coming back from Portland however, I’m a complete coffee fiend. I can’t stop! Won’t stop!
So, back to the puppy bribe. I’m not getting a puppy. I don’t have a puppy. I desperately want a puppy, but I’d rather be puppyless in Portland than anything right now. That will be the title of my memoir. Puppyless in Portland. When my mum offered this bribe, she already knew the answer would be no. She said she could see that it meant alot to me to do this and that she didn’t want to be standing in the way of my life plans. It was a relief to hear that, I didn’t want her to think I was running away from her! Ofcourse it as been hard to tell my close friends this week. I have been met with lots of good support but also that lingering sense of, when will we see each other next? Its sad, and I’m not looking forward to goodbyes, that’s going to be hard.
I can’t think of what else to tell you… I just wanted to share the news I guess! I kept wanting to write something about it but then I would get scared and worried that if I say to the world I’m “Moving To Portland!” that it would jinx it somehow and I wouldn’t go. But now I have booked my flight – one way – so it’s going to happen. It still doesn’t feel real! And I am still very scared – I booked the plane ticket on Wednesday and since then I have had two nightmares about the flight. The first one was that I got to the airport then rang my mum to see if she was coming to say good bye and she said she was too tired. The second one was that I had forgot to pack my medication then a lot of blood came out my ears – I don’t know what that is about, I have nothing wrong with my ears… They were both scary dreams in their own way. In some ways the nightmares are a good thing, I probably wont forget my medicine in real life. And my mum is taking me to the airport herself. I would let her hold my hand all the way if I could, but I’ve got to draw the line somewhere. Somewhere between Portland and Cheshire.