Monday, October 24, 2011

Things I have learned from living in the Northwest

This month has flown by so quickly that I forgot last month was my 10th anniversary of living in/near Portland. And next month, I will have lived in the Northwest 11 years.

This may be no big deal on the surface of things, but considering I have moved 20+ times in my life, this is quite a milestone for me.

I consider this a relatively quiet place compared to other places I have lived (New York, for instance.) But that's not to say it hasn't been interesting.

I will admit to having major culture shock when I first arrived. Among other things I learned really quickly:

1. Wildlife is not only in the zoo. My first constituent newsletter from my state reps had an article about "what to do if you see a wild cougar." (The cat kind, not the Real Housewives kind.)

2. Things that have cult followings like nothing I had ever seen before: college football (I just about peed my pants laughing at Ducks vs. Beavers), fishing, and food. Foodies are everywhere!  Mind you...

3. It is an utter impossibility to get a salad as an entree here. That said, there is soup everywhere, all year round. Nom! But there is a shortage of good Chinese food.

4. Sun is not just a commodity - people are visibly happy when there are "sun breaks" mid-winter. It's like everyone has an extra orgasm each.

5. Some things have funny names. A bridge can be called a trestle. A creek/run-off can be called a slough. A penis is called a ... oh wait, just kidding.

6. Driving...don't get me started.

7. There are an abundance of small towns named after other countries and global cities, but they're mispronounced. E.g. Madras ("Maadrass"), Lebanon ("Lebenen"), etc.

8. Speaking of pronunciation, nothing sounds like what it's spelled like. A few years ago, an e-mail went around the newsroom where I was working. "You know you're from the Northwest when you have no trouble pronouncing Sequim, Puyallup, Kalama..." Tip for the uninitiated: let someone else pronounce it first.

9. Cops don't always wear blue. My little brother first noticed this when my stepmom got pulled over (he was four at the time) by a sheriff (khaki green uniform) and pointed out, "He's not a real policeman, Mommy! He doesn't have a blue suit on!"

10. It will be a perfectly nice 50 degrees out, and some idiot will say, "OMG, IT'S COLD!" Don't ask what happens when it snows.


Lynn said...

Poor kitties! :)

I like this fun glimpse into your world. There's a food blogger on my blog roll (Running with Tweezers) and she just got back from a foodie trip with other food bloggers in Portland - I loved the descriptions of all the food.

Seriously? No big salads? That's pretty much what I eat. And strange about the Chinese food there - you can't swing a cat in metro Atlanta without hitting a Chinese restaurant - I have a new takeout/delivery menu on my door every week.

Scarlet said...

Some cops in Miami wear khaki (pronounced "cocky") shorts. Acuerdate, I live in a town where everyone has an accent and buffet is pronouncAed "boo-fett"). lol

Love the way you describe your city (makes me want to visit someday). It's the right kinda crazy!

Scarlet said...

*pronounced* ;)

wigsf3 said...

Really? No good Chinese food. You'd think there would be lots of good Chinese food being on the west coast and all. I thought the entire west coast was populated with many Chinese people. And they tend to bring food with them.

Holland said...

Point 4. I recognize so well from myself back in Holland.... now imagine that with me when I first was in Miami.... (or don't.. it might gross you

Claire said...

What a cool post. It sounds like a fun place to live!


Granny Annie said...

Oh boy, not just a fun post but an educational one as well.

The police officers in Tulsa just switched to blue uniforms. Now they look right after years of tan.

Shionge said...

America is so big :)

G said...

And I'm just commenting to let you know that I'm still alive and well and living in the suburbs.

Riot Kitty said...

L: I am so jealous. I love Chinese food!
S: Cocky cops? LOL!
WIGSF: I know, right? Great Chinese food in SF and Seattle, but somehow we got left out. Lots of great Thai food thought.
C: Your city is so much cooler!
GA: Tan somehow seems like forest service to me, not police-like. I can't get used to non-blue.
S: True. I forget that most of the time.
G: Excellent! But come up with something naughty, would you? :)

Darth Weasel said...

funny post. But think about what you have done...we want more people to move away and fewer people to live here, so lets emphasize a few other truths

It rains 476 days a year.
The temp never gets above 60 or below 30. So you do not get summer but you do not get winter, either.

And every fringe group has a home here. Most of them write for the horridgonian.

Riot Kitty said...

Darth: Good points! Love the one about every fringe group having a home here, which is why I live outside of the city limits ;)

A Beer for the Shower said...

I've also heard that you're not trusted to pump your own gas. Is that correct? Either way, I'd still love to visit.

LL Cool Joe said...

It always amazes me how different, different areas in America are from one another. I have no idea why this amazes me though, because London is completely different from Liverpool, or Glasgow, but still...

Riot Kitty said...

ABFTS: It's true. We're one of two states (the other is New Jersey) who are untrusted as such. But it comes in handy when it's raining and 33 degrees.
Joey: True - think of it like Europe, but less sophisticated ;)

StephanieC said...

Just got the most hilarious visualization of a street full of people shuddering in orgasm together as the sun pops out from behind the clouds.

Perhaps I should relocate?