My friend just wrote a blog about Portland on her "Ferry Diaries" (check it out) that made me nostalgic for the place I live.
I think it's hard for me to articulate how something or someone means to me when, as a child, I spoke very little of these things. I was a painfully shy child and grew up to be a quiet teenager. In college, I blossomed to be a reserved, yet out going adult with occasional bouts of shyness. But my shyness is more of a choice, than a personality trait like it used to be. With that said, however, since I didn't speak much, I could never quite express myself with words, spoken or unspoken. I express my love for others by showing. For some reason, telling someone you love them, was a joke. It was not to be said, but understood. I plan on eliminating that with my children. I want to tell them all the time and I don't want them to be embarrassed to tell anyone else, like I have, no matter how much I mean it.
Yes, I know I seem to be writing in circles or just avoiding the subject, but I love Portland. There is something about having been born and raised in the City of Roses that keeps me here. I show my love for her by staying and (hoping to) start a family. To promote her anyway I can. To show people it's beauty, all its cultural diversity. And of course, by culture, I mean it's Portland culture. It's different pockets like Hawthone, Belmont, 23rd, the Pearl, NoPo etc. Don't get me wrong, I'm not about to promote Portland as a gem of racial and ethnic diversity, because it's simply not . . . but it's trying. I remember when I was the only Mexican-American in my elementry school, the only one in our apartments. We only knew of one other Mexican-American family, and that was it. Now, the high school seem much more diverse. I see Mexican-Americans, African-Americans walking down the streets of my old neighborhood, where as when I was younger, were were all isolated to different parts of the city. Yes, I understand that there are pockets where many immigrants live, where the African-Americans area heavily condensed, Asian-Americans as well, etc. I hope that some day, our lovely City of Roses will truly diversify.
But in the meantime, I will not give up on her. She has welcomed me time and time again when I was mean to leave. She drew me back after I had almost given up and left. She said "I'll make you're childhood wishes come true" and they did. I live and work in NW. She has nurtured me and taught me to be strong.
I love you Portland.