One of my students threw a ball in my face, my Chinese friend suggested I stop eating for a few days since she thinks I’m getting fat, I lost my bus card and my boots started growing mold.
So today, instead of writing about rainy Sichuan, I’m going to write about the absolute greatest place on the entire face of the earth. (I stand by that statement)
My family lives about 30 minutes out of the city, but while I was in grad school I lived, worked, and played in Portland. Its a small city…. probably not really a city by most peoples standards. Chinese people keep telling me its a village. But I fiercely love all things Portland.
I could wake up and go for a run by the eastern prom, get a gouda, bacon, avocado and egg breakfast sandwich on my way home, lay on the beach in the afternoon, go to a yoga class, then meet friends in the old port to drink local brews while sitting by the water. I led a very charmed life in Portland.
The things I miss most
1. The Old Port
Little known fact, Portland is second only to San Francisco in number of restaraunts per capita. We have some good food, right next to a working harbor, fish markets, coffee shops, boutique shops. I was obsessed with a handmade vegan donut shop that sold donuts like dark chocolate sea salt, mojito, and ginger. I was also a fan of the many delicious brunch places. Also the many Irish pubs.
2. First Friday Art Walks
First Friday of every month the local stores turn into galleries, street performers gather on the corners, and lots of people just put their art on the sidewalk. Its always a scene and I loved walking through it. Sometimes the library would host ballets in their windows. There is a rumor that the galleries have free wine, but I have never ever found any and that is not from a lack of effort.
3. The Beer
We have good beer in Maine. We have a lot of local brews, most notably Shipyard although I’m a big fan of Oxbow and Rising Tide. I’m a huge beer snob now and I don’t even know why people drink things like miller light if they can getter stuff. Its like drinking Chinese tap water.
4. The Trails
We have a good amount of trails in Portland and its ever growing. Some of them are right through the city and go along the water front. While others are actually set off in the woods and make you forget that you’re in a city at all. My favorite loop actually went across a bridge and out to a small lighthouse. I ran a lot while living in Portland and was obsessed with the trails.
5. Portland Headlight
So this is technically not in Portland but a 20 minute drive outside of it. No matter how often I go there I still love it. I went there when I felt stressed and overwhelmed and somehow hearing the waves on the rocks has always managed to convince me that life will be all right. I think its at its most awesome during a storm, or right after one.
6. The Eastern Prom
The eastern prom is on top of the hill at the eastern part of the Portland peninsula. It was a good place to get outside and see the ocean. They actually had an amazing outdoor concert there for Mumford and Sons a few years ago, and its where everyone gathers for the fireworks on the 4rth of July. I did a good amount of reading for grad school there.
7. Its in Maine
I love Maine. Its in decent driving distance of some good hiking in New Hampshire and two hours from Boston. I loved the state parks to see the rocky parts of the coast or the sandy. I love apple picking in the fall, lobster rolls in the summer, Christmas lights at winter…
I love living in China, I’m excited to plan my backpacking trip through Asia and trying to figure out what country (continent?) to live in next…. but I’ll always go back to Maine. In the midst of all my planning (trying to plan) for the future I’m definitely looking forward to being home next summer.
Now I’m going to go figure out how to rescue my boots and buy a new bus card