PDX in the Rearview

I can’t believe it’s been five months since Jeff, Cooper and I pulled away from our empty Portland apartment and drove across the country to our new home in Grand Rapids, Mich. What?! Five months! That’s almost half of a year! Time flies by achingly fast. It’s so strange to flip from one life — apartment living in a big(ish) city, hanging out with the loveliest mix of friends, both working at Nike, super liberal environment — to another life entirely, with its unique set of benefits and peccadillos. I understand how people avoid major moves, the kind of moves Jeff and I somehow prompt with crazy frequency. We shake up our lives like an Etch A Sketch: What do we want our new normal to be like? When the dust settles, will we be different from the people we were before? It’s a wild and unpredictable ride but I feel blessed to be able to choose that ride and make it the most memorable, fulfilling journey possible.

Our last night in our PDX apartment

Our last night in our PDX apartment

Hey, but Grand Rapids has been great to us so far. (I mean, it’s Beer City USA!) We miss our Portland friends for sure, especially our buddies Lindsay and Daniel, but it’s been so satisfying to see our families and Midwest-based friends so often. And we L-O-V-E owning a house. It’s ridiculously fun. I feel very homeowner-y, seizing every opportunity to feather our new nest. I paint. And buy rugs. And trim hedges. And plant flower bulbs. And attend home shows. And take advantage of DTE Energy’s and Consumers Energy’s free energy efficiency audits. I love it. Professionally, Jeff is digging into his job at Herman Miller (yay, employee discount!) and I’m pursuing my own little freelance communications entity. I hope to keep blogging, although I’m not quite sure if it makes sense now that I live closer to the people who I mainly wrote for while I lived in the Pacific Northwest. Anyway, we’ll see what happens with that.

I never got around to posting pictures from some of our goodbye get-togethers with co-workers, bowling teammates and friends in Portland — or our road trip across 11 states. Our five-day trek included overnights in Kalispell, Montana; Billings, Montana; Murdo, South Dakota (not recommended); and Chicago, Illinois. We were awed by the beauty of Idaho and Montana, explored the grandeur of the half of Glacier National Park that wasn’t snowed in (in June!), made the obligatory stop at Mount Rushmore, and caught the nearly deserted Badlands National Park as the sun danced across its majestic buttes and spires just before sunset. We also ate the most disgusting pizza EVER — which I never thought was possible — a late-night pepperoni pizza in the tiny town of Murdo. A “signature” pizza with a cinnamon crust and icing for dipping. Pepperoni + cinnamon = throw that pizza in the trash. Along with the garlic bread that was more garlic-y than straight-up chomping a clove of garlic. That hit the trash can as well, and we went to bed hungry. Anyway, we also got to spend a couple of days in Chicago with Rob, Amy and Ben, and we got the chance to meet our friends’ cute-as-a-button little girl, Marley. Our road trip culminated in Michigan with the closing on our house in West Michigan.

So here’s a less-than-stellar compilation of the handful of iPhone photos that escaped the sudden death of my picture-packed external hard drive. (Grr.)

Here’s to new adventures and forever friends!

Sad but sweet cake from Kristen and friends

Sad but sweet cake from Kristen and friends

The many faces of Thunderballs

The many faces of Thunderballs

Dinner at Jeff's boss' house with his team

Dinner at Jeff’s boss’ house with his team

This old place saw some good times

This old place saw some good times

Goodbye, Northrup apartment.

Goodbye, Northrup apartment.

Our road trip route

Our road trip route

Goodbye, our beloved Mt. Hood

Goodbye, our beloved Mt. Hood

I think Cooper loves road trips more than Jeff and me

I think Cooper loves road trips more than Jeff and me

Entering Glacier National Park in Montana — eek!

Entering Glacier National Park in Montana — eek!

The gorgeous, mirror-like Lake McDonald just off Going-to-the-Sun Road (what a lovely name!) in Glacier National Park

The gorgeous, mirror-like Lake McDonald just off Going-to-the-Sun Road (what a lovely name!) in Glacier National Park

A footbridge crossing McDonald Creek in Glacier

A footbridge crossing McDonald Creek in Glacier

The beautiful riverbed in Glacier National Park

The beautiful riverbed in Glacier National Park

Looking back at Glacier and the ridiculous views of Montana

Looking back at Glacier and the ridiculous views of Montana

Mount Rushmore!

Mount Rushmore!

...and our mugs in front of it.

…and our mugs in front of it.

Apparently Thomas Jefferson invented vanilla ice cream — who knew?

Apparently Thomas Jefferson invented vanilla ice cream — who knew?

I see you peeking around the corner, George Washington.

I see you peeking around the corner, George Washington.

A handy coffee guide at a shop in Mitchell, S.D.

A handy coffee guide at a shop in Mitchell, South Dakota

My buddies for 40-plus hours in the Jeep

My buddies for 40-plus hours in the Jeep

Enjoying the beauty of Badlands National Park in South Dakota

Enjoying the beauty of Badlands National Park in South Dakota

More Badlands

More Badlands

...and more Badlands...

…and more Badlands…

...and more...

…and more…

(Can you tell we loved the Badlands?)

(Can you tell we loved the Badlands?)

Cooper picked up a new friend at a gas station

Cooper picked up a new friend at a gas station

Hello, pretty city! We missed you, Chicago.

Hello, pretty city! We missed you, Chicago.

Our little nephew Ben, Cooper and a hairy leg (not mine)

Our little nephew Ben, Cooper and a hairy leg (not mine)

Aunt Kristi and Uncle Jeff taking Ben for a little ride on the L

Aunt Kristi and Uncle Jeff taking Ben for a little ride on the L

Getting to meet little miss Marley in Chicago

Getting to meet little miss Marley in Chicago

Welcome home!

Welcome home!

 

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