Old Essay from High School Before I Went to Oregon for College
My favorite place in the world is a collection of colors. In the winter and spring, everything is blue and grey. People are nearly swallowed by their big coats, and hold their hot coffees close as they scuttle into schools and offices for warmth. Families come together for the holidays, college students huddle in libraries and study for finals. Birds quake their feathers in puddles, trees dance in the wind and send whispers to the rest of the world while water drops from their leaves to the cold wet cement below.
I used to sit by the window of my family cabin and count the icicles that crept down from the gutters and watch them slowly drip away as spring approached. Summer and fall is gold and green. The sky reappears after a long sleep under a blanket of clouds for the better part of winter and spring and a crisp icy blue is re-exposed once again. There’s a bounce in the air, like a Fitzgerald tune that has you nearly floating down the sidewalk.
At any point in time, I can take myself back to laying in the grass of the parks in the cities. The soft grass that pricked and tickled my skin, the sun that peeked through the trees that made my eyes only capable of a squint. The dome of blue that draped overhead, adorned with fluffy white clouds. The sounds of people’s bike bells, the slow moving traffic, and the muffled conversation of passer-bys.
I’ve been visiting Oregon since I was baby as my parents own a cabin on Ocean Side right outside of Tillamook. Tillamook is a sleepy cold town with not a lot of people, but I still consider it my second home. Memories good and bad, I’ll never get tired of whizzing past all the greenery in my parents' car while I felt the familiar hum of “Pale Blue Eyes” lulling me in and out of sleep.
While taking the grueling 10-hour drive up to our place, we’d make stops all over Oregon. Ashland, Portland, Bend, Eugene, Salem you name it. Hot chocolates for 10- year old me turned into coffee shop hopping with my dad as I grew older. I bought my first pair of Doc Martens when I was 12, and had my first time in Buffalo Exchange in Portland. Small cozy libraries in Eugene and Salem is where I learned to love reading and cried over sad Murakami books when I was 14. Oregon is my happy place, my safe haven and every time I visit, I never want to leave.
The reasoning for my passion about this place is the overwhelming sense of belonging I feel from it. Whenever I walk through the streets of any city in Oregon I look around and see nothing but people who are like me. People who never want to stop building, creating, exploring—all with a laid-back attitude but still with a sense of planning their next step. Hippies and weirdos. Shoegazers and punks. Farmers and vegan coffee shops. It’s almost how Jack Kerouac describes his love for San Francisco, “It’s all in California, It’s all a sea”.
California is my home but as the years go by, my house starts to feel like a cold, stiff museum, and the walls around my city grow taller and closer to me. In this state, the opportunities for me are endless to meet amazing people and experience love and companionship through the arts and other creative minds.
My brain is an emotional mushy mess; most humans have the same affliction. However, I believe if we immerse ourselves in the right environment, with the right people, and surround ourselves in what makes us tick, that mush grows firmer, relationships grow deeper and love and intelligence expand outside of yourself.
Everyone should find their own Oregon. No matter how messy, sad, or fucked up the journey is to get there.
View from the Cottage