Sunday, October 24, 2010

Things I First Notice About Portland: Preface

I began forming impressions of the city before I'd even left New Jersey. It would be worth writing, at some point, a prequel to this story explaining how things were in New Jersey before I left and what the events were that led to me moving to Portland. That would take ages and pages.

I accepted a job in Oregon on April 7, 2009*. The position wouldn't start until July 6, so that I would have a week to move to Oregon after a wedding on June 27th in which I was a bridesmaid. I would work as long as I could to save money, but I left myself two weeks to pack, move out of my apartment, find someone to take over my lease, and tie up loose ends. All while doing whatever it is bridesmaids have to do in the two weeks preceding a wedding. This made Friday, June 12** my last day of work.

After having the imprudence of giving two months' notice to a job drilled into my head***, I waited to give notice until May 11th. I can't remember when I gave notice to my landlord and landlady, but I know I tried to time it so that word wouldn't get to them or my employers from anyone other than me. This left a little more than a month for me to try to keep the secret, and I felt guilty and dishonest keeping that information secret. (Despite having the reasons not to feel guilty drilled into my head.****) This guilt made the stress of preparing to pack up my life and move it across a continent (while trying to leave things in order in case I returned in the fall) even greater. One category of preparations was searching, from a remote location, for a place to live in Portland. For that, I turned to Craigslist.

The original purpose of this post was to outline the differences between Oregon and New Jersey that I picked up before I'd even crossed the Delaware, the differences made apparent by housing ads. But it seems appropriate to save that for my next post and end here.

* As I'm writing this, I realized that this is exactly one year before my first date with my current boyfriend. Interesting.
** This was exactly one year after the day I first arrived in Portland, just for two days, on a road trip.
*** In short, it gives your employers two months to build resentment, to mistreat you because you're leaving anyway, and to dump tons of work on you in order to get as much as they can out of an employee before they're gone. One would like to be able to give maximum notice, so that the position can be filled while you're still around and you can help train your successor, but unfortunately, most situations don't allow that.
**** In short, that what I planned to do in June of 2009 was no one's business but my own. I was legally obligated to give two weeks' notice and prior to that two weeks, my private life and life decisions was none of my employers' business. Since I wasn't actually breaking my lease, either, my private life was none of my landlord's business.

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