It’s official: I have new digs.
For the first time in 3 ½ years, I’m living in the Northeast “Quadrant” of Portland again, specifically in the Woodlawn neighborhood. The house is a modest three-bedroom bungalow built in 1922 that I share with two other dudes, John and Collin. Collin isn’t there that much so it feels more like John and myself. And because we’re a bunch of dudes, the furnishings are pretty Spartan at the moment but hey, we’re working on it!
I currently occupy the “master bedroom” on the top floor. It’s one of the largest bedrooms I’ve had, maybe 200 square feet? It also gets scads of natural light since it has six windows. Of course, lots of windows means lots of places for heat to escape, as I’m figuring out during Cold Snap 2013. But I’ll take that for now, over the option of living in a basement room, which I have done twice in Portland. (It’s not a great option for winter here.)
I will admit that Woodlawn wasn’t my first choice for new digs (I would really love to live in Montavilla again), but the opportunity arose. It’s nothing against the neighborhood itself, as it’s a cool one with a cute and tiny business district with good beer, coffee, pizza, and a bike shop. (Throw in a taqueria, co-op, and library, and why would I need to leave?) It’s just a bit of a haul to work. This will be the longest commute to work in the many years I’ve worked at the hostel, too, clocking in just shy of six miles (10 km) one-way. It was hard to beat the seven-block commute of the last place, or even the 1 ½ mile ride from the last place April and I lived together. Sure, a short commute is easy, especially for someone like me who finds it hard to roll out of bed on certain days. But the one big positive of a longer commute is I will get to ride my bicycle more. And I can use the exercise.
But the best part of living here is that I’ll be in a place that I feel is “mine”. Yes, I do have roommates, but we all come into it as equal partners. I’ve lived in too many places where I came into an already existing situation. While some of those situations were good, some not so much. I’ve had only two places in Portland where I felt that it was mine: My first apartment from 2001-3, and the flat April and I shared in Montavilla in 2010-11, right before The Big Trip. Since then, I’ve lived in “temporary” living situations that became more permanent than I hoped. I don’t know how long I’ll be at this new house, but I know for now that this is a place I can make. This is a big deal for me. As 40 creeps ever closer, I know I don’t want to bounce from place to place every year. I want something more permanent, more stable, more mine.
If you find yourself in Woodlawn, ring your bell as you pass the house.