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.