Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Week I Thought I was In Love

I can't believe my relationship posts got over 5x more views than my BELOVED TRAVEL ARTICLES. Sheesh you guys. I guess that just shows humans are obsessed with love, heartbreak, drama and everything in-between. Besides, my dating life is a tad bit more happenin' than my travels at the moment, since I'm not going ANYWHERE for another month. Oh, to San Francisco for a bit for besides that.

So what's the story today? At 26 years old, I finally understand the difference between infatuation and love. I met a guy last week, and it was magical. We couldn't get enough of each other, and I found myself letting all my guards down and telling him everything and wanting to share my future with him. Instantly. We texted all day and all night nonstop, to the point of my iPhone threatening to die before getting out of the office to see him almost every day. I was so head over heels that I've announced to my best friends that I was positive he was The One (they were all skeptical, as they should be. It's a wonder no one tried to slap me out of it). He was completely flawless and perfect to me, and I had decided that whatever issues that might come up, I would do whatever it took to resolve them so that we could continue to be happy together. It was too good to be true. I realized that I was ready to be in a relationship again, because I found the one I wanted to have it with. For one week, I thought I had fallen in love and it was the best feeling ever. Like getting hit with a train.


The thing about infatuation is that it's like a drug, and it's like the cheap vanilla extract instead of the pure vanilla of love. I became addicted to him. Any texts/contact from him throughout the day were like shots of adrenaline. It was so hard to focus at work, and I would wake up too early every morning day dreaming about him. He told me he felt the same way. Scientifically speaking, my brain was releasing huge amount of dopamine which changed the wiring in my brain, then synaptic neurotransmitters  made a connection between my lover and dopamine production and thus intensified my feelings for him which vetoed all sense of logic. Google it. I happily obsessed over him because it was being reciprocated, and I didn't see how I was subconsciously building up irrational expectations for him to maintain this incredible high. We foolishly declared how much we wanted to feel this way forever! Not his fault, not my fault, it was just the way it was.

The tragedy with infatuation is that 1) it's not reality, 2) it screws up judgement and 3) it's not sustainable. It's a dangerous stage, and sometimes it will turn into a healthy, long term relationship (if you actually find the right person)...but I think more often than not it just ends and you feel like shit. I panicked like an unreasonable, lovestruck girl when I sensed he wanted more space and therefore, got put into the 'crazy' category. Guys, please confirm but I'm pretty sure I know this already: If a guy puts a girl in the crazy box, you don't EVER get out of the crazy box. Sigh. It's like guys getting put into the Asshole box. Or worse, the Friend box. UNFAIR FOR EVERYONE but since when was life ever fair?

Events that unfolded after this incident made it clear to me that it was not love. Damn it, hindsight always kills me. Usually it might have taken me weeks to figure out, but I'm so much wiser now. If he had loved me, he would not have put me in the Crazy box. If I had loved him, I wouldn't have whined about him wanting to do what was most important to him. I wouldn't have been a selfish little moron trying to keep him all to myself. If he had really loved me, he wouldn't have shut down and pulled away from me. If I had really loved him, I wouldn't have looked at him like he was magic but instead with loyalty and kindness. If we had loved each other, we would have tried to work things out. Love is about putting each other first, and making them feel secure and supported. Real love is accepting each other and seeing each other clearly, then choosing to commit to them anyway. 

So I failed at falling in love. HAHA! Figures. It was only seven days, but the withdrawals are painful, and oddly feel quite similar to heartbreak. As in, it hurts. I could have loved him, if he had stuck around-but the fact that he didn't just shows it wasn't meant to be. I feel much, much better though after writing/processing this...and you know what? Next time I'll know the difference. I know there will be a next time because I'm actually not crazy. In fact, I'm going off to be amazing now. I love my bed.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

My favorite summer things to do in Oregon

I’ve been spending most of my time doing things rather than writing about them, and I’m a bit sorry but not sorry for doing so. This tends to happen most during the summer time, and since the end is near I’ve been saying YES to every opportunity in or around town that arises for me to bask in summer adventures in all her glory. Here are some activities I highly recommend to do, in no particular order, in case you wanna live in Oregon for a summer (or forever):

-Driving and hiking around the Columbia River Gorge: Along the border of Washington and Oregon, these are my favorite views of the Pacific Northwest. Drive up a smooth highway carved off the edge of endless forest-covered mountains, with a sparkling river below, and stop at trailheads to begin your hike. There are numerous hikes up along this Gorge and they are all fantastic. My favorite is still Angel’s Rest, because the views are spectacular and I’ve seen the most chipmunks there. The Multnomah Falls are in this area as well, so is Crown Point and you can continue up to Hood River. Check out these hikes: http://www.portlandhikersfieldguide.org/wiki/Columbia_River_Gorge_Hikes

-Floating down the Sandy River. It’s a thing. This is the perfect adventure with your friends on a sizzling hot summer day, when you’ve got the whole day to worry about nothing. Make sure you have at least two cars, one to park at the start (wherever you choose to start, Dabney is the most popular lot) and one at the end (Lewis and Clark is where most people turn in). Grab a cooler, stock it with beverages, bring rope to tie your group together, load up your tubes and get your tan on. I love dipping into the water when it gets too hot, toasting to new friends along the way, and extra kudos if you’ve got waterproof speakers! Beware; you may be sunburnt with a midday hangover by the time you pull your inner tubes out of the water. Prepare to spend the majority of your day in the river, the float can take anywhere between 3-4 hours to 7 hours depending on the current. Make sure not to leave any litter behind!

-Beer festivals. No summer in town is complete without spending numerous weekends chipping in those tokens for multiple tasters of delicious beer. I think I’ve hit almost every major beer fest this summer, from the organic, local, specialties and internationals. I usually hear about them by word of mouth. I love the white tents, the drunken old people, the confused lines for tapped out editions, the accompanying concerts in parking lots and parks, and running into everyone from high school. Most of all I love how they’re always outside and beer just tastes better when you can drink it outside! Here’s a nifty guide: http://www.wweek.com/portland/article-21936-beer-guide-2014-calendar.html

-Movies at the park. They’re free, play classics, and you can have a dinner picnic with your friends! Perfect weekday activity for a chill evening, plus the location is always changing so you can explore new parks. Make sure to bring a blanket, lawn chairs if you’re smart, and munchies! The only downside is that you can’t drink alcohol, because it’s a park and you might be watching Nemo with little kids. Upside, the little kids might give you their glow sticks for no reason. It’s happened to me. Looks like the season just ended, but there’s always next year! 

-Drinking on bar patios. I’m really good at drinking beer when there are so many amazing brews just steps from my door. I love sitting in the back patios where they have strings of little Christmas lights above the tables and you can gather tons of your friends or go on causal dates. There are plenty of these patios all around Portland, but the ones on 21st are the most convenient for me cause I live there. The warm summer night breeze combined with a chilled mojito is just perfect for hanging out on those wooden bench tables. Decks close at 10pm. I also love catching up with friends down by the Brewery blocks at Rogue, Deschutes and Bridgeport. I have also been introduced to Bailey’s Taproom this summer and it’s changed my life a little. The possibilities are endless, so you’ll never go thirsty. Below left is the patio outside of Valentine's, and right is White Owl Society. 

-Running up Washington Park to see the Rose Garden. I do this at least once a week, and I know its cliché but it’s my happy place. The Portland International Rose Garden draws visitors from all over to admire the vast rows of roses in all colors and variations. It’s just a beautiful sight and there are always people with big cameras and couples strolling through. There are numerous trail paths weaving around the garden and I will sometimes continue on running into the woods. I think the time to go is in June/July, but it’s September now and there are still plenty of roses in full bloom. Don’t miss the Japanese Gardens while you’re there. http://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/finder/index.cfm?&propertyid=1113&action=viewpark

-Heading out to the Oregon Coast. I hesitate in putting this one in cause I’ve only made it out to the coast once this summer, but I hope to get out there again soon, plus I grew up making multiple trips a year. The Coast is about 2-3 hours out from Portland, depending on which beach you have chosen. Seaside is my favorite for a touristy beach, and Pacific City is my favorite getaway beach. The Pacific Ocean is NOT warm, but the sand is hot in the summer time, and I LOVE the little towns and seaside cottages. The seafood is phenomenal (have oysters! Clam chowder! Crab omelets!), have an ice cream and rent a funky bike. The sunsets are gorgeous on the coast, and remember to bring a windbreaker. http://traveloregon.com/cities-regions/oregon-coast/

-Going to Timbers Games. I went to my first game on a whim, and I knew it wasn’t going to be my last. The Portland Army is a fierce and passionate crowd as any-if you come to a game you must sit in the Army section. We have our own war chants and victory songs, and the audience is so captivated and fueled on microbrews that no one sits down. If you love soccer, you will have a blast. If you don’t, you will still have a blast and probably leave as a lifelong Timbers fan. Season is almost over, so grab your tickets! Here are some chants for your entertainment: http://timbersarmychants.blogspot.com/

-Skipping brunch to go for pho or ramen. I’m not going to go too far into the crazy food scene here, so I’ll just stick to this. As much as I love a nice omelet and hashBROWNS, after a wild night out on the town all I want is broth and noodles. It might be an Asian thing, and it’s a good thing cause the lines for the best noodle joints aren’t 2-3 hours long and the worse thing when you’re hung over is having to wait for food. My favorite place for wonton noodles is Good Taste in Chinatwon. For pho it’s gotta be Pho Hung on 82nd although Luc Loc is trendier and closer so I go there too. I just discovered Boxer Ramen and I’m so happy it’s down the street from my house, and definitely hits the spot.  My picks are confirmed here, under the 10 Best Asian Noodles in Portland: http://www.thrillist.com/eat/portland/best-asian-noodles-in-portland

-Always having back up indoor activities. Remember it still rains here, that’s why we have living room theaters, Glowing Greens 3D underground mini-golf ranges, DIY painting studios, Powell’s Bookstore, Ground Kontrol Arcade, and of course our cozy homes. I suppose beer can also be consumed indoors once we have to. I’ve spent so much time outside this summer I’ve barely been home. Right now I’m in bed on a Sunday and I wanna stay here all day.

There is still SO, so much more to do in and around the city that I don’t know about or haven’t gone to yet. That’s another thing I love about this place, that it’s a new city to me because it’s evolved so much but the roots are still where I remembered them. I am looking forward to Autumn, and all that entails. Pumpkin beer, haunted corn mazes, OSU football games…I’m ready for you.

**All photos are my own except the the movies in the park one. Mine all turned out too dark for those :)