Unconventional and Ill-Advised

There’s a new tab up there. Do you see it? It’s called “In Oregon”. It calls for cake. What Have We Done, Cake.

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Or, alternatively: We Got A Condo, Cake. (!!!)

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A condo! An impossibly cute one, with six not-square rooms to squeal over and plenty of places to tuck little trinkets away. We’re going to make it feel like home, and I just can’t wait. There’s so much to look forward to — beginning with the within-walking-distance baguettes.

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Not three days ago, I spent half the morning sitting in that bakery, smelling all the smells and feeling all sorts of sad. I watched a boy with nice hands roll sticky hunks of dough into smooth shape, and I thought: homeless, unemployed, and single. For all of my days. (You know I’m working on a book — now you know the major themes.)

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I picked at my mini pain au raisin, and wondered about what to tell you.

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I wish I could tell you that I was about to do something really brave, the way I did last year, when I moved to NYC. (To chase a crazy dream, and downsize times a hundred.) When I embraced day after day of eggs, and all those hours and hours of time alone. All alone. I struggled then: financially, emotionally, physically.

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I wish I could tell you that the “we” in we’re moving across the country! belonged to my boyfriend. Or my best friend. I feel like you’d approve, then. But it doesn’t. In truth, “we” means my mom and I. We’re going to live together for a year, even though it’s unconventional and ill-advised.

Help me not get defensive. Help me explain. It makes sense, for us. It makes sense for the time being — it makes sense for the next 12 months. Individually, it wouldn’t be smart for either of us to try living where we’re now going to live. My mom is committed to 7 months of snowbirding in Scottsdale, and would ordinarily not be gung-ho about carrying two [expensive and overlapping] leases. But with my help, she can try out both the Southwest and the Northwest, while she figures out where she’d like to land for the majority of the year. And with her help, I can swing a start in Portland, where I think I’m ultimately going to want to be.

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We’ll be able to lean on each other while we settle into our darling new digs, and then we’ll get a chance to spend several months apart. And then we’ll be able to enjoy a little bit of time together again, before each taking our next steps. At this time next year, she’ll choose her home base, and I’ll choose mine. Roots and wings. 

By then, I hope to have made a few friends I could see splitting rent with, and I hope to have done whatever needs to be done in order to land a You Can Finally Be Independent job. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t get one of those, in NYC. In NYC, I could get the cheapest appetizer on the menu, once every other month.

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I hope to write, too. That’s the other nice thing about this arrangement. It won’t be the end of the world if I can’t get a “career” job right away. If it turns out I’m only immediately cut out to be a book-proposal-writing cashier. The pressure is off, for a little while. And honestly? It feels like the pressure might not ever be on, out here. At least, not the way I’ve known it.

I like it out here. I like the unhurried speech and the huge sky. I like the clouds — the way they seem to be the only thing moving at any kind of speed. I like the rain — the way it starts and stops. The way it smudges and softens and sings. And I love the open spaces — the farms and the fields, the meadows and the mountains. I can breathe, out here. I can think.

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I love writing from here. Where it feels like the day can wait. Where it’s green for as far as I can see. Where it’s teeming with life, wherever and whenever I listen close.

My mom told me to think of myself as an honored guest who will contribute as often and as much as she possibly can. I told her to think of herself as Mom of the Year, every year. And then we both reminded each other how lucky we are, really — and how we’re going to have to keep remembering, when the search feels sad and the shadows seem long.

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6 thoughts on “Unconventional and Ill-Advised

  1. Hannah, you and your Mom are so fortunate to be searching together in this new start with great possibilities! Portland looks like a fabulous place to begin, and your surroundings sound lovely. Go Girls Go!

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