Maybe I've done this post five times already. I feel like I have nothing new to say even though my mind has been running on full. Currently, I'm writing from Portland, Oregon within the safe refuge of a friend's home.
I arrive on Friday. Since gum surgery, I haven't really felt the same. Ok, before surgery I was already in a semi-funk, but not too bad at all. Perhaps it was the coming of my third week in Washington that chased me away and decided, "I should go to Portland tomorrow."
My ride was an old Couchsurfing connection I met back on Lopez Island last year. He's a bagpiping medic, if that tells you anything. Seeing our exchange on Facebook, my cousin and second cousin, Kat and Kiera, asked if they could hitch a ride as well and he willingly let them join in on the three hour trip.
And that's what brought me to Another Castle - the home of folks like Dan, Princess Ryan, Brandon, Mindi, Yarrow, Davi, Laura, Adam, Adam, Monica, Brooke, Emma, Penny, Tinka, and Jae. I think that's all of them. Another Castle is like no other home I've witnessed or been welcomed to be a part of for a short while (contemplating a month). They live as a community. They eat together. They sleep together. They spend time together. And, in all of this, they welcome other humans to join them.
I felt honoured to witness their interactions. They talked pretty straight to each other, for the most part, keeping communication lines open in a world that seems to be getting worse at telling each other what we need from each other.
I think the community bed might be one of my favourite parts.
The people are vibrant and that's pretty swell.
One of my favourite days was Monday with Princess Ryan. They were heading out to do errands and I asked if I could join. They grabbed a tandem cycle (thanks, Brandon) and we headed out. It was the sort of sunny day that warms your guts and makes you chortle - which was exactly what I needed. I need to laugh and I needed the sort of laugh that came out without reason and stuck around for a while.
We first biked to the Oprah house where they bought tickets and then suggested we watch the bridge being built. After that, we cycled to the bouldering gym where they climbed and I went off to read int he sun and stroll about. On the way home they asked if they could get my lunch at the food carts and I was pretty delighted. I was already on a cheery-high that I'd been craving for a few weeks.
We meandered the food courts until I spotted one boasting Traditional Russian Cuisine. That sounded super good. The woman, Bella, was from Moscow and spoke Russian. I spoke a phrase of Russian to her from Soviet Winne-the-Pooh. "Are you Russian?" she asked. "Nope, American." I was able to then pull out a few more phrases I remembered.
We get piroshki and soup - I got borscht. It was jubilation in a meal. At the end, she came out of her cart to give us free cardamom tea which warmed my hands up in preparation to get on the tandem again. Satisfying conversation.
That afternoon was what I needed to jumpstart my feeling-like-meness. I don't know. Maybe I should learn to feel like me when I'm down, but I don't. There's a certain neutral pleasant that I prefer to be in and normally am in. When I feel like a Magi, I feel pretty free and... gah, I miss it. I'm being care to not mess up my expectations or boost them beyond what can be the norm.
Back at home, we cleaned the house. We scrubbed the kitchen and tidied up the living room. That felt good too. I was craving a way to contribute to the household.
That evening I hopped on a bus to Lucy's which is where I am now. With Lucy... sigh. I feel like I can just maybe, maybe connect with Lucy! She says things that make me clap and point and say, "YES! Crikey, YES! Exactly!" She's helped me also feel vibrant again in that connection. Grateful. Grateful.
Things might be coming together? I suspect?
Today I get to travel for an hour to Hillsboro to see my family figures.