It's hard to believe that it's been just over six weeks since Jonah and I pulled into Portland on the evening of Halloween. Since then, we've fully moved into our new apartment, adopted a dog, celebrated our dating anniversary (which, as you know, I totally forgot in the chaos), cooked a Thanksgiving turkey, made new friends, and missed old ones. I always planned on writing a one-month update, but kept pushing it back—so much has happened that I didn't know where to start. In the end, I let you guide it! These questions are all compiled from the most-asked questions I received on @shopcupcakesandcashmere on Jonah and my move to Portland:
Yes! It was—and still is—extremely difficult. But I also felt prepared for that, unlike when I moved from New York to L.A. (which I wrote more about here). Feeling sad and homesick comes in waves, but when those inevitable emotions come, I let myself feel them, and then remember that I also felt this way when I moved to LA and everything turned out better than I could have imagined.
I will say that COVID has oddly made things easier homesick-wise, since—like all of us—I was barely able to see friends, apart from rare, distanced outdoor outings. It sometimes feels like I'm still in LA, just living in a different apartment, so I'm sure there will be a second wave of homesickness once everything begins to open up again. And, when that happens, I'll at least be able to visit!
We're in Northeast Portland. I wanted to move to a neighborhood I was unfamiliar with, but that's full of interesting things, so we could discover it. So far, I love our neighborhood. Jonah and I are constantly discovering new pockets of restaurants and breweries (not that many are open now) that seemingly appear out of nowhere. I still have a lot of exploring to do, but I also really love Sellwood-Moreland, which is a quick drive away and has access to a lot of great parks along the Willamette River.
Building on our land is a pipe dream, with a constantly changing timeline, which right now looks about five to ten years away. At the moment, we're focused on paying off our land loan, which we hope to do early next year (more on that here!). The plan for the nearer future is to ideally buy a house to live in, until we can build our dream home. We've been looking for options where our mortgage would be roughly the same as our rent, but the market is nuts right now—we've made a few offers on places that have gone for far above asking, so it may be a while till we end up with a house. The good news is we aren't in any big rush. We're really enjoying our apartment and the process of settling into our new city.
I love how easy it is to access stunning nature from Portland. Comparable areas that would take an hour to get to in LA are a 10-minute drive from our apartment. Most mornings before work, I take Toast on an outdoor adventure either to the Willamette River (I'm currently scouring kayaks on Craigslist), Mt. Tabor, or Forest Park which is the best way to start the day—and tuckers him out until his lunchtime walk.
The same way I did when I barely knew a soul in LA—but with social distancing! I only knew two people in Portland before moving, so as soon as we got here, I began reaching out to every friend of a friend and distant acquaintance I had here. Before moving, a close friend in LA gave me the helpful advice that it's easy to meet anyone for a first time—but be sure to follow through with second and third meetings soon after if you want a lasting friendship. To that end, I've been on a few masked, outdoor walks with new friends who I can already tell will become old friends.
After enduring a summer in LA with multiple hundred-degree-plus days and zero A/C, a wet winter in a temperature-controlled apartment feels like a cakewalk. Jonah and I also both prefer rain over sunshine, despite both being Southern California kids ("depressing weather" to one person, is a perfect day to another!). We could, of course, be entirely naive so I guess only time will tell. Ask me again in February... But so far, so good! Although Toast hates the rain, which makes walks tricky—just bought him a rain coat after so many of you recommended one in this post!
Jonah and I actually had living arrangements all set, through a family friend, before moving here (we were going to rent their house from them). But life had other plans! The day after we gave notice to our apartment—as we were driving to Zion and the Grand Canyon—the arrangement fell through. I immediately began reaching out to every apartment that looked even remotely intriguing on Zillow. On our drive back from the Grand Canyon, after days without service, I called back the people who'd responded to me. By that evening, we'd signed the least to our place. After only ever living in hundred-year-old apartments, which are charming but quirky, we moved into a new apartment for convenience. We also found that it's relatively easy to find an apartment sight unseen with COVID, because people are so much more prepared to send video walk-throughs or hop on FaceTime.
Also the last-minute apartment find isn't entirely out of character for Jonah and me—we didn't even have an apartment in LA until we were halfway across the US in our U-Haul, and that apartment, like our apartment now, thankfully turned out to be a gem.
Of course! I'll be sharing a tour early next year! (Anything you'd specifically like to see? Let me know!)
The best surprise has been how much we love it. I mean, we had a feeling we'd love living here—but it's been even better than we could have ever expected, from the people, to the nature, to our neighborhood! As for the worst, I genuinely can't think of anything outside of being so far from our friends in LA.
I really appreciate you asking, and I realized I haven't really stopped to ask myself how I'm doing... My primary emotion right now is just excitement—I'm so excited for restaurants and shops to begin opening up, and to begin spending time with people indoors, sans masks. If I already love it now, I can only imagine how great it will be then! I'm also experiencing a bit of disbelief. After planning this move for so many years, I can't fully believe we live here. I have a bit of whiplash from this year, in general, which was possibly my greatest year of growth. Jonah and I got married, moved to the city we want to settle down in, adopted a dog, and are house hunting—almost entirely on our own because of COVID-19. I'm unbelievably grateful for Jonah and our relationship—this would all be a lot harder without such a strong supporter and wonderful friend by my side.
I got a lot of questions about moving and my role at cupcakes and cashmere. Portland is (I hope) a permanent move, so I'll be working remote even after COVID ends, but my job in Portland looks exactly like my job in LA did, with one main exception, outside of more Portland content:
One of my goals for 2020 was originally to lead more in-person events (like February Fitness) which of course came to a dead halt with COVID-19, just as we were about to begin revving up. At this point, we're in a "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it" stage. Most of the groundwork for in-person events happens over phone and computer, so I may be planning events from Portland, then occasionally traveling to LA for them. There may even be some PNW events... we'll see!
As far as having the initial conversations about moving, I brought it up to Emily almost as soon as Jonah and I began talking about it more seriously, over the summer. We're a close-knit company, so I wanted Emily and the rest of the team to be included in our discussion. Different companies work differently, but for me, including them into my thought process, rather than making plans then sharing them once they were already set, was best for us!