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Quarter One: graduate school isn’t so bad or I love Portland

December 26, 2010

I’m struggling to find the words to objectively describe January through March because everything that happened then is inextricably colored by the happenings of the months that followed.  You’re thinking, “of course they are.”  But, I want that objectivity because these three months are very important.  They mark the beginning of, in a way, everything.  At least everything that is important to me now.  January through March represent a reluctant separation from my life in Seattle and an effort to build something of my own in Portland.  I don’t mean that in a disparaging way, but more of an honest, out loud, statement of fact about 2010 and everything the last year has been for me.

January - The Oregon Coast

In January, friends converged upon the Oregon Coast for a long weekend before quarter two got too out of hand.  Graduate school has provided me with a completely stellar community.  This group of people are not only a source of support within an exceptionally rigorous and demanding program, but the respite I need to maintain sanity.  Even if that sanity requires The Nature.

February - Learning to Love Portland

Until about three months ago, I would have described myself a reluctant Portland resident.  There was a lot of push and pull between Seattle and Portland throughout the winter.  In February, Anne and Roy visited and joined Josh, Michelle and I out for a night on Hawthorne.  We drank cocktails from fishbowls (i’m classy, I know) and wandered and ventured before we stumbled home.  I remember feeling happy that two of my oldest friends were sharing a moment with two of my newest friends.

March - Settlers of Damascus and Other Planning Nerd Things

Sometimes (all the time) I like to complain about the rigors of graduate school.  I grumble about the time, the demands, the lack of sleep, etc.  The truth is, planning school is fucking rad.  Yes, I spend about 12 hours a day working on any variety of school-related tasks, but there is always some sort of respite.  For instance, Nathan invented Settlers of Damascus (a witty riff on the best game ever Settlers of Catan) and our cohort gathered around games to understand the challenges of rural planning.  This is why I love smart/nerdy people.  Betwixt and between the challenges, the negotiations, the reading and the writing are opportunities to have fun and think in new and interesting ways.

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