Lemonade Life

Friday, November 24, 2006

An Experiment in Independence

Unlike most people who are spending the weekend traveling to the homes of family and friends for the holiday, I actually left my family for the weekend (don't worry, I went home for Thanksgiving dinner - I'm not that deliquent of a daughter).

A friend from my freshman year in college asked me if I would apartment-sit for her while she and her partner went down to California to see their families. Since they lives only twenty minutes away from my parents', I agreed.

This is quite an experience. I'm staying in their adorable, retro-style one-bedroom apartment with their two cats, Lola and Bug, and two bunnies, Jackie and Benson. Their apartment is located in the quaint historic Portland neighborhood, the Alphabet District (named because the streets are listed in alphabetical order from Ankeny to Wilson - it stops at W for some reason). The neighborhood is filled with gorgeous, well-maintained Victorian mansion and East Coast style apartment buildings. Well, I think they're East Coast style. A lot of brick. You guys have a lot of brick, right? The apartment is on "J" - Johnson, and is only 2 blocks away from one of Portland's most famous shopping districts, NW 23rd (a.k.a. "Trendy-third").

Sixteen blocks lined with outrageously expensive boutiques, gorgeous furniture stores, a Vespa store (I'm serious, an actual store next to a shoe store and Thai restaurant where you can buy Vespas!) classy restaurants, cheap bookstores, and two Starbucks. I spent the afternoon mulling around, popping in and out of shops at random. On Black Friday, I was committed to keeping as far away from a mall as possible. NW 23rd was pretty chill. It's always busy, since it's one of the nicest places to walk, shop and eat in Portland, but it wasn't a complete madhouse.

Now I'm sitting here in a cute coffeeshop with mural-painted walls, college students finishing school projects on their laptops (I blend right in), a goth kid with a black mohawk playing chess with a skinny forty-something man, and the whirling of the foam machine blending in with guitar harmonies, drum beats, and the melodic voice of a blond lady wearing a red dress, red fishnet stockings and black flats with ribbons tied at the ankles.

I would post pictures of all this, but I'm borrowing Father's really nice new black HP laptop ("you break, you buy it") and my camera's computer connection cord is still connected to my computer at home. So we'll have pictures on Sunday, when I go back to drop of the laptop before the workweek starts again.

I think I'm going to add a belated item to my list of things I'm thankful for. It's nice to have the opportunity to try living somewhere new for a few days, and especially with my impending move to Somewhere Else rapidly approaching, I need to brush up on my independent living strategies. So far so good.

Though I have to say, the more time I spend walking around the Alphabet District, seeing all those signs for "Apartments Available" hanging from brick apartment complexes that were built in the 1900s (hey, that's old for Oregon), the more I want to stay right here.

Oh decisions, decisions.


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