Friday, May 4, 2012

my life: portland

Currently doing a auto-bio series, hoping to reflect, learn, and grow...and for you to get to know this blogger better!  To catch up read:

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After falling in love for the first {and only} time, it was with a heavy, questioning heart that I began my journey driving across the country to Portland, Oregon.

Don't get me wrong -- I was still really excited.  My heart was full of adventure...yet tainted with sadness over the fact that I might have just left the love of my life back in Minnesota.  I certainly had never felt the same way with any other guy I had dated.   So happy and safe and yet really, really dizzy in love. 

My brain tried to argue with my heart:    "You are only 20 -- too young to give up opportunities for some boy you have barely known two months!  If it is really love, you will end up together, despite the distance."

the day before I left
During our goodbye, we did not promise anything.  We talked vaguely about him flying out to see me in a couple months -- if I wanted him to.  We said we would email.   We did not say we would try to make a long-distance relationship work.  

We just said I love you...and goodbye.

I drove across Minnesota, North Dakota, and Montana -- listening to Dixie Chicks, Dave Matthews, and a whole lotta country that reminded me of him.  I was alternately elated, then heartbroken, then elated again.

After stopping several days to visit my sister and brother-in-law in Kalispell, Montana, my sister and I continued the journey together.  She was going to help me get settled at my new college.  We stopped in Seattle for a day and a night and hung out.  Then we made it to my new college in Portland.  

sister and I in seattle
I remember being excited...and extremely stressed.   So many new things to deal with.   I moved into my dorm, met my sweet roommate, and began the process of getting acclimated.  Attended all the "opening week" festivities -- a big dance {so fun - I was one of the last to leave the dancefloor!} flag football games, etc. etc.  Then I started classes the second week.

There were a couple boys I met and seemed interested in me -- the new girl.  One even cooked me an Italian dinner, took me to one of the many beautiful Portland rose gardens...and listened to me talk about Paul.  Poor guy.

In fact, I brought him up with everyone I met.  Like he was inextricably part of my life, even though I now lived over a thousand miles away, and we technically were not still "together." 

I was probably known as:  "the new girl from Minnesota who clearly still has feelings for her ex."
Every time I got an email from him my heart leapt.  We joked around, and wrote about everyday occurances.  Said we missed each other.  Tried to keep it light.  He booked a plane ticket to Portland to visit me.  Maybe it could work.

But still...every day I wondered when he would stop emailing.   I wondered when his feelings would inevitably start to wane.  I wondered when he would meet someone else.

I started feeling sick to my stomach every day.  Like I was missing an opportunity.  Like I had made the wrong choice.   Fellow students and friends tried to talk me out of it.  Tried to rationalize with me.  Several very vehemently tried to convince me to stay.  But even though I loved the city and I truly liked all the people I had met, it was an argument they would never be able to win.  My heart knew what way I was headed.

I had to know if Paul and I were meant to be, and we needed more than two months to really know that.

After two weeks in Portland, I asked the dean to give me a full refund for my classes.  I explained that I couldn't stay there.  I missed home too much.  I wanted to move back to Minnesota.   

Something in my pleading blue eyes convinced him.  I was released of all financial obligations.  I packed my Neon back up.  I said my goodbyes.  I cranked up my Dixie Chicks.  I pointed my car back toward the Midwest.

It broke down fifty miles outside of Portland.

{Insert interesting story about me being rescued by a redneck mechanic with a full gun rack in the back of his truck.}

yes, I did ride in this truck up into the hills to get my car fixed for cheap.
Once the car was fixed, I drove nearly non-stop.  It hadn't sunk in yet that when I got back to Minnesota I would have no job, no apartment, no clue as to what I was going to do about any of it.

What I would have was Paul.  He had flown home to Louisville for the weekend, and I picked him up from the airport. As soon as I saw him I knew I had made the right choice.

I didn't know the rocky road ahead.  I didn't know it would be full six years and many breakups (including one broken engagement) later before we finally ended where God wanted us to be.

All I knew is that, right then, in that moment, I had made the right choice to move back.  For him.  For us.   

No regrets.
after portland - together again
What did we do with the next four months before he moved back to Kentucky?  Did our love last...or fade like the summer?  Let's just say, it lasted beautifully...until it didn't.   {spoiler alert...}

Up next - my life: the breakup.