All those years ago we travelled to Portland. How long ago was that? Six years? Probably longer. We used to tell people that we'd left our souls here. Chris, Amy, Brian and I wandered the streets of downtown for days. I remember passing this hip looking yoga studio and being sad that I didn't have time to take a class. Also feeling a little relieved. It was fancy and fancy intimidates me.
I wandered by it again on this trip. Yoga Pearl. Same look. Cute little super clean food restaurant attached to the side. I thought "I'll go to a class this time." I signed up and paid online for the class so I wouldn't be able to back out and panic at the last minute. Determined. I left our condo and arrived way too early. That's the thing I do when I'm anxious. I walked around the block just to kill some time and then roamed the tiny display of yoga props and clothes in the front of the studio. I felt out of place. I was a poser carrying a yoga mat. Some how I managed to gather some courage though. I plopped my yoga mat down near the front of the class, claiming my space with some yoga props. I would smile and find joy in this new place, this new class. And I did. My mat became my island and I sank into the poses with a smiling heart.
I've worked to make this trip my own. It was hard not to travel the same paths we travelled together on that first trip. My first day there I ended up at all the favorite restaurants even though I told myself I would not do repeats. Peanut butter, banana and chocolate chip pancakes are hard to resist. Then I let myself be talked into renting a bicycle and I found myself in new neighborhoods with new restaurants. I rode the tram. We didn't do that the last time. Now I've ridden two trams in one summer. I'm hanging out in a karaoke bar tonight. I'm doing so many things outside my comfort level.
What I have learned from this trip is that my Portland of then is not the same as the Portland that is here today. There are more tourists and there are more homeless. The number of homeless here now is staggering and depressing. Housing is so much more expensive to accommodate the growing tech industry. I realize that I am content and happy with the home I've made for myself in Kansas City. Though, Portland remains a beautiful place to visit. Traveling here is worth it just for the food. I've eaten so well here and this town does a lot to promote green spaces that I love so dear. I've nearly wrecked my bike three times while gawking at community gardens. I believe that Kansas City is within reach of all of those things as well.
Spending time with Todd and his family has been oh so good. The boys have grown so much and so fast and it warms my heart to see Yuko so happy. Evenings chatting about all things with Todd has awakened a section of my brain that's been sleeping or zoned out. I will leave a piece of my heart here when I leave. I will be sad to say my goodbyes to Todd and his family. I will be sad to say goodbye to that dream Chris and I had of living here one day, but dreams fade and new ones take their place. Yes, I will leave a piece of my heart, but I'll take my soul back with me.