Our last week in Portland was a busy one filled with farewells and severed ties. After all, it will be a few years before we will travel back to the Rose City after our round the world trip, and we most likely will not choose to live and work there again once we decide to resettle. Friends and family wanted to get together for goodbyes and to wish us luck in our travels, but there were too many people and not enough time for everyone. So what were we to do? Throw a going away party, of course!
We sent an open invite on our Facebook accounts and on our newsletter for a casual get together on Sunday at a local kid-friendly brew pub in Portland. We really had no idea how many people would show up, or if anyone would show up at all. On Sunday we arrived and were surprised to find Kerri’s cousin and her family had drove 3 hours from Washington to say goodbye. Soon after, other family and friends arrived and we spent hours talking and enjoying good Portland craft beer.
Monday was Kerri’s last day working at the Oregon Health and Science University. Her co-workers threw her a very nice going away party and that was that. She was unemployed by choice; something that left her feeling uncomfortable.
On Tuesday my co-workers at the City of Oregon City threw me a very nice “Bon Voyage” party and Kerri and I gave a presentation about our trip. The presentation went very well and you can see a copy of it here, sans commentary: http://prezi.com/1vo5slg6wn-l/our-rtw-trip/
On Wednesday, which was Halloween, Kerri and I dropped Sydney off at school, which was her last day, and then Kerri dropped me off at City Hall for my final day at work. I spent the day cleaning out my desk and organizing files. After 11 years, 8 months, and 26 days of working for the same employer, I was unemployed by choice. It was definitely a strange feeling, especially in this economy and high unemployment rates. Kerri and Sydney came to pick me up and I left for the final time.
After we got home we had a quick dinner and then I took Sydney trick-or-treating around our neighborhood while Kerri stayed at our apartment to pack. This was probably going to be our last Halloween for a few years, and we wanted to make sure Sydney had a really good one. It’s one of those great kid holidays and we didn’t want her to miss out. After a bag full of candy, we came back and then went to visit our old neighborhood to say goodbye to our former neighbors. Sydney was also excited to see our neighbor’s kitten and see how much he had grown in the 6 weeks since we had sold our house. She loves animals and it’s probably good that we got her rabies vaccination, as she cannot resist animals. After the old neighborhood, we went trick-or-treating at the grandparents, a yearly tradition. Back home we packed and cleaned our apartment until we could not keep our eyes open any longer and went to bed.
Thursday morning we awoke early and made a run to drop off unwanted items at a local charity and then packed our SUV with still way too much stuff. I am so sick of “stuff.” It has been a non-stop battle of ours for months. Everywhere we look, we had more stuff. We have had a couple of people ask us what we were going to do if we found souvenirs that we just had to buy. To be honest, I never want to buy another trinket again. Stuff sucks! We drove our overly packed SUV to a friends house where we left them our computer printer and food, and then headed to U-Haul to pickup our 5’x8’ trailer that would carry the stuff inside our 5’x10’ storage unit to Idaho. Yes, more stuff. We were down to only photo albums, well-packaged framed art, and family heirlooms, but it still seemed like too much stuff. We loaded everything up and came across a large container full of crap that was supposed to be brought back for our estate sale and sold. Oops! After one more trip to the local charity for yet one more donation, we were on the road and finally heading east; the direction that we will be heading for the next 2 years!
As we drove through the rainy Columbia River Gorge, I could not help but notice the beautiful scenery, massive waterfalls, and the changing of the leaves. Western Oregon is a very beautiful area to live, and it was bittersweet to be leaving after living there all my life. But a great adventure awaits us. And it will be nice to search the world for a different place to resettle for the next chapter of our lives.