This summer, I’ve felt like a bit of a nomad. Though I didn’t necessarily travel to anywhere exotic, I did travel among the states quite a bit. I saw several different cultures and demographics and learned a lot from visiting places I had never been before. Overall, it was quite an exciting summer. These other places I visited were interesting, however, I still longed to return to my favorite place of all — Oregon.
Though my true home is spread out across the country because of all the people I know and love, Oregon is, in some part, my home. I’ve really missed Oregon. Now that I’ve returned to Oregon for the school year, here is a list of all the things I’ve missed about my favorite state.
1. Rain and gloomy skies
It’s not uncommon for Oregon to be associated with lots of rainfall. When I first told people in California that I had chosen to go to a school in Oregon, their first response was almost always “Are you prepared for all the rain they get?” or “Well, you better like wearing a rain jacket!” Contrary to what people sometimes think, Oregon’s constant rain isn’t actually a downside to Oregon — it’s a bonus. It’s one of my absolute favorite things about Oregon and about the Pacific Northwest in general. The rain makes everything perpetually green and gorgeous. Sure, it also means you can’t play outdoor volleyball quite as easily. Sure, it also means that you pretty much don’t see the sun for four to five months out of the year (my alabaster white skin can attest to that). But what it does mean is that you can rest assured the grass is always green and the rivers are always full. Personally, I think gloomy skies are gorgeous. The clouds project the sun’s light so beautifully, and every time it rains, I am more in awe of the glowing sky. Plus, when the clouds clear a bit, it makes for some pretty magnificent sunsets. Overall, the clouds playing with the sun’s light is a gift in whatever form it takes.
2. Mossy-green forests
This, along with so many other things, kind of owes its existence to all that rain I just talked about, but I’m still counting it as a separate thing that I love about Oregon. The forests of Oregon are magical. Sure, lots of other places have thick forests, but I particularly like Oregon forests the best. No other state (save Washington, perhaps) has forests that are so full of damp, dark brown and green earth. Oregon has the perfect mixture of humid, ocean air and coniferous trees to produce rich, mossy-green forests that are absolutely full of life. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.
3. "My" coffee shop
I’m sure a lot of Oregonians probably feel the same way about this one. In Newberg, a town with roughly 23,000 people, there are at least four coffee shops within a mile of each other. Oregon really cares about coffee and the places that serve it. Because of this, it’s quite easy to find a coffee shop you like and basically claim it as "yours." I miss my faovirte coffee shop and can't wait to return there once more with my journal in hand. It just feels like home!
4. Friendly Oregon souls
Oregonians are, as a whole, some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. People always talk about southern hospitality which, to be fair, is very real, but there should be much more talk of Oregonian friendliness. Sure, some of the people you meet in Oregon may be a little funky, but they are genuinely amicable people all the same.
5. Having no sales tax
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Oregon has no sales tax, and it’s wonderful. Basically, whenever I was in another state this summer, this would happen:
Me: “Oh wow this candy bar is only a dollar, which is good because all I have is a single dollar bill.”
*walks to counter to purchase candy bar*
Cashier: “That’ll be $1.08, please.”
Me: *walks away in Oregon-living shame*
6. Not having to pump your own gas
The first time I came upon an Oregon gas station while I was driving here from California, I practically cried tears of joy because I didn’t have to get out and deal with another stupid, probably-broken gas pump. It was wonderful. The workers are almost always uber-polite, and sometimes they even wash your windows for you. The other states need to get on this band wagon.
7. Actually good local art
I’m sure this is true about other places too, and especially so for big cities, but Newberg, OR is the only town I know of with less than 100,000 people that actually has good local art. I specify by saying “good” because, sure, lots of towns have local art, but small town art is typically pretty snobby and ostentatious. I was amazed at all the really tasteful local art at small galleries here in Newberg because they weren’t just filled with snobby, rich-people art.
8. Not having to worry about a water shortage
I suppose the only reason I appreciate this so much is because I’m originally from California which is in a terrible drought. Being in a drought has much more serious repercussions than not being able to take long showers (like field of crops dying and entire forests catching on fire very easily), but my selfish shower-loving self is really grateful to be back in a state where I don’t have to set a timer while I shower, or feel guilty whenever my shower lasts longer than 10 minutes.
9. Unique and adorable architecture
Portland, and Oregon as a whole, has some really beautiful and unique architecture that I really admire. This is especially true about older houses here. There really isn’t much else to say about this except that, over the summer, I really missed seeing the particular style of architecture that Oregon offers. I’m so glad to be back around these adorable buildings.
10. Actual seasons
I could honestly write an entire separate article about how Oregon changed my perception of seasons. In California, fall and spring aren’t so much seasons as they are three day transitions between hot and hotter. Oregon wears the four seasons beautifully. I’m so glad to be back around trees that turn bright orange in the fall and a soft pinkish-white in the spring. Seasons are so much more beautiful than I ever knew they were before coming to Oregon.
These are only 10 of hundreds of things I love about Oregon, and I couldn’t be happier to finally be back in my favorite state, even though it means being away from so many loved ones across the country. Long live Oregon and its beauty!