We're moving to... Florida!
"Wait, WHAT? Where in Florida?!"
We just bought a house in Sarasota, FL. You read that correctly. I'm as surprised as you.
"Why, I thought you LOVED Oregon?"
Oh yes. I do love Oregon, dearly.
Thank you. I came to you as a girl. A young woman, but really, just an east coast kid in her 20's itching for a new landscape. Oh, what a treasure chest you were, PDX. You gave me the car-free city life I'd been yearning for with a side of adventures in the great outdoors I'd never even dreamed of; you've taught me so much in our decade together.
I married the love of my life on Mt. Hood, the same volcano I learned to snowboard on. I naturally birthed both my babies here. I'm sure we won't soon forget my daughter's dramatic home birth, right? I meant to leave the neighbors "Please excuse the noise, just home-birthing a baby" cookies at the door steps, but didn't get around to it. With all that commotion, it's still a wonder no one called the police.
But, I'm grown up now. Those babies of mine are growing up too and despite your waterfall hikes and postcard-perfect coast line, you aren't providing as much for their futures as I'd like. Your schools systems don't just rank poorly, they are also rampant with corruption and the funding issues (much like your growing traffic issues) only seem slated to get worse, not better.
But, don't fret. I'm not giving you up that easy. We're keeping you, not just in our hearts, but also as our address. I am so pleased and relieved to announce the home we've been lovingly renovating and caring for the past 3 years will remain our own. We're just going to share it with others now. That's right, get ready to suggest booking The Hill Top House on Air Bnb and Home Away!
It's a major sacrifice to keep our home here while we transition back East, by making it all much more complex, but this way we can still come back to visit (& shoot) often. Our west coast kids will know where they came from. The beautiful weather (*ahem* half the year), farmers markets, epic camping trips, excellent restaurants, 0% sales tax, reasonably priced happy hour craft beers, ski slopes, and hiking trails will all be enjoyed on our visits back to the Pacific Northwest.
"So, I can go stay in your house?"
YES! Or you can recommend The Hill Top House to friends or family coming to visit Portland. We've been working harder then ever to create a welcoming space in our Milwaukie Park home. It is being reconfigured to comfortably sleep 8 guests (1 King room, 2 Queen rooms, and 2 Twin beds), with 3 full bathrooms, our organic vegetable garden, great location, and one hell of a view. We're just a 15-minute drive from the heart of the city (or just under 3 minutes to the TriMet MAX train's orange line park-and-ride stop in Milwaukie). Booking for May 2018 onward will begin soon.
"But, I thought you didn't like Florida?"
Did I say that? Hm, I might have said that... Looks like it's time to make up and make nice! But first, let's settle some beef.
Let's be real. You are the landscape for the absolute worst chapter of my life. As I see it, you nearly killed me. You're a threat.
My husband doesn't "believe in" vibes, but I get a strong one from you. I don't like the things I can point to: your must-drive-everywhere lifestyle, your itchy thick grass, the way my hair is always big and frizzy. But more then that, I really don't like the things I can't as easily put into words: this aloof attitude vibe (I CRAVE community & connection) & the importance that seems to be placed on the things I don't find to be important at all: like cars, money, and wearing make-up every day. It's just felt like you're the wrong planet for me. That I should visit like a tourist, get a light tan and piña colada, but then swiftly make my way back home West.
But, maybe that's all South Florida garbage, and you're different on the left coast? Can anyone vouch? I've never lived anywhere near Sarasota, so I'm hopeful.
When Matt and I realized it actually made sense to move back to live in the sunshine state, we were just making eggs one morning. Neither of us really saw it coming, like most of the life's most meaningful moments, it just… happened. We'd been talking about leaving Portland and needing a change before Amelie started elementary school for the past year, but conversations were of Idaho, Hawaii, and Colorado. Florida, or anywhere east of the Rockies for that mater, weren't ever an option to us. Until, that morning when it became one. And I cried.
I cried and I cried, for two days I cried.
Matthew said "Why are you crying?" because he didn't understand that we had said the un-speakable thing and that there was no taking it back now. Immediately, it was clear how much sense it made and that we would have to do it. If we were moving anyway, wasn't it obvious to reunite our kids with their FL-families that adore them up, down, and sideways? When we found out the schools in Sarasota vs. the schools in Oregon weren't even a comparison, the deal was sealed. Any excuse we could come up with to stay in Oregon only ended up sounding selfish. We're parents now and parents do what's best for their kids. Period. Before the eggs were done frying, I knew what had happened. We were moving to Florida and sometimes a girl just needs to cry about things.
But, I'm done being a whiny-mess about it now + feeling ready to take it on!
"So... are you happy about this then?"
Oh, yes! Thrilled to bits! I just needed to cry about it first, but now that THAT is out of the way, I can't wait to see what fresh adventures unfolds for us!
If we weren't sure we wanted to do this 100%, Matt wouldn't be working so hard. We sold our phone repair business and he's been working his e-commerce business 6 days/week so we could buy a HOUSE. A REALLY GREAT HOUSE! I mean, we think. I found it on the internet, so we've only seen pictures. It's what you might call a… "fixer-upper". You know, holes in the roof, a major septic drainage field issue, a known-fire hazard electrical box, that sort of thing. Oh, AND out-dated kitchen and baths, leaking toilets, water-damaged shower, all the really fun stuff.
But, check this out: the place has a big yard, a big pool, & somehow (*ahem* with help, thanks for believing in us family!) we managed to swing it without having to let go of our beloved Portland home. We're buying a crummy house in a nice area. That's what makes it perfect, because most importantly, it's in a great neighborhood. We know it's a great neighborhood because it's the one my husband grew up in and his parents still live in. So, the kids will live within bike-riding distance of their grandparents! HOW DREAMY?! I'm still pinching myself that we really are making this happen for our family.
The decorator inside me can't wait to get my paws on this place and make it our own. There are few things I love more then transforming living spaces! If you'd like to follow along, keep tabs on this blog.
So, Florida, I'm done complaining about you like a teen-angst-ridden woman-child and I'm ready to embrace you. I've changed a lot in the past 10 years, maybe you have to? Maybe we will get along better now; can we start over?
Let me re-introduce myself, Florida:
My name is Sam and I love people.
Firstly, I love my own people- my husband Matthew and our two little loves Amelie and Theo. I also love photographing portraits of other people, decorating, dancing, traveling, sewing, dinner parties, gardening, clean sheets, snowboarding, IPAs, ping-pong, and that tingly feeling when you first get into a hot bath.
I love great late-night conversations that dig deep, karaoke in dive bars where people are performing like they're on the verge of a midlife crisis, and the rush of Christmas mornings. Come to think of it, I love ALL the HOLIDAYS. And I loooove going on cruises, to the beach, and to Disney, so I think we'll get along just fine, Florida.
If you live in Florida and you like any of these same things, please let's be friends. I'm arriving on a serious hunt to find a new tribe of friends that make sense to me because I miss my Portland-people already (and we haven't even left yet). And, as always, if you know someone engaged (just about anywhere in the world! We won't charge a travel fee!), please think to send them my website (so we can reunite at their wedding) and because I love, love, love photographing weddings. Thank you.