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Why Tourists Bring Me Home

July 20, 2010

I’ve decided to start yet another blog.  This’ll be number 4, so no promises on how often I’ll post.  It’s mostly to let you all know I’m still alive and what I’ve been up to while living.  Perhaps a bit of my writing will be featured, depending on how I’m feeling at the moment.  I have no idea how WordPress works either, so it might be a rocky start.  Stick with my friends and family!

Today Aunt Kathy suggested I try out the Alberta neighborhood in the North East district of Portland.  It took about 5 minutes to get here (which is pretty typical of most places around the city).  The neighborhood is pretty “gentrified,” as Aunt Kathy put it.  So she told me to stick to 12th st where the shops and coffee houses are.  The nice thing about Portland- you actually have to go out of your way to shop or eat at a chain.  Everywhere you go you’re surrounded by shops with new and unique things to offer.

I’ve parked myself at Random House Coffee- it was the first coffee shop that didn’t have hipster spilling out into the street.  I needed my space today, and some quiet.  Random House is perfect.  Indie female artist playing in the background at just the right volume (I can’t handle the loud thudding bass most shops are going for these days) and super cute baristas singing Lady Gaga while they steam the milk.  Keds and dresses are big here.  I need to make a trip to the Buffalo Exchange to Portland-ize myself.  Not that I want to conform, but these girls are super cute.  I’m loving the Portland styles right now.

Yesterday after I dropped Jackie at the airport I drove down to the riverfront to spend some quality time with my new city.  I sat under this tree on a bench facing the water.  It was as close to perfect as you could get, minus the homeless man expelling his flem behind me (rather audiblly) and the cigarettes laying squashed around my feet- but I felt like I should take ownership of the imperfections- it is my city now, after all- and not let it ruin my moment.

I was close to where the river front hotels are and I started to watch the families on vacation.  I decided to write a lil somethin somethin, so here ya go!

When I’m feeling lonely or homesick, I like to hang about the trouristy families around dinner time.  I think it’s the way they all look freshly showered and newly dressed- rested from their long and hot day of sight seeing and adventuring- ready to class it up a bit in their good pair of jeans at a nice restaurant they’d probably skip over back home (“It’s fine. We’re on vacation,” they say.).

I like to think about the few hours before they ventured out to dinner- that quiet block of time spent in an air conditioned hotel room.  The tv’s on, but usually not very loud- someone’s asleep on top of the freshly made hotel comforter.  No one’s talking because everything worth saying was already said earlier.  Everyone’s cheeks and noses sting a little with all the fresh air and sun they got that day.  The silence is relished and a hushful peace fills the room.  Then the showers begin, the make up gets pulled out, and the nice jeans are slid on.  Everyone is rested and excited to get out and experience something new together again.  The peace is generally lost when picking the restaurant, but the comradery and adventuring spirit remain.

I’m not sure why this comforts me when I’m homesick, but I do know those hushful couple of hours are my favorite during a vacation- and the happy, rested eyes that emerge as a result give me a sense of peace- especially on days like today when the overwhelming realization tha I’m alone seems to be sitting right next to on the is bench, poking me over and over like an annoying sibling on a road trip.

I guess I’m drawn to these people and their vacations because of the memories they evoke and feelings of home they  revive in me.  I always think of my mom first when i surround myself with trouists- and nothing epitomizes home to me quite like her.  I get to feel again what it feels like when you think of someone who knows you and loves you anyway- that warm swooshing feeling, like tomato soup in the pit of your stomach- it eventually envelopes your arms and your waist and your legs and rests its head on your shoulder and sighs.  It’s a good feeling.

For a person completley surrounded by strangers, being reminded of home for a few minutes can do wonders for their heart, and a lightness starts to fill them- a rejuvenation begins.

And that’s why tourists bring me home.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Aaron V permalink
    July 20, 2010 11:16 pm

    Ooh got a little gushy with tomato soup there.. This is good, and portland Really sounds fulfilling
    May have to visit soon. After all, I am headed in a westerly direction. Best of luck Sarah.

  2. Jim Settle permalink
    July 21, 2010 9:27 pm

    Hey there west coast! Wanted to tell you that i enjoyed this piece you wrote and what a great “imagination provoking” job you have done. Very humorous as well, I’ll look foreward to reading more of these in the future.

  3. July 24, 2010 9:13 pm

    Hey Girly! I read it! Beautifully written. We miss you and love you bunches. 🙂

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