Greetings From Portland.

Listening to: Two Coins by City & Colour

Staring down at the mountain ranges that rose up from below my airplane window, I thought about how I had waited a long time for this. How, tired and disillusioned by my first year of college in Chicago, I printed out a picture of a group of guys hiking mountains in the Pacific Northwest and found myself thinking that this particular sweeping landscape of adventure was the thing that I was missing, that I hadn’t yet found, and would never find within the inner streets of Chicago. How, the day I quit my decade-long behavioral therapy career, I drove towards the setting sun on my way home and thought about how, if worse came to worst, I could just sell everything I owned and head out to Seattle to see my friend Scott. How, the day after I broke up with Chris, I sat on the deck with Katy and talked about how I couldn’t take Minneapolis and the memories it held for me anymore, and that maybe it was time to finally make a fresh start out west. How, after a life-defining trip out to L.A. to see my pal Erica and my baby brother Daniel, I made a promise to myself that, no matter what, I would move out to the West Coast – “I have maybe one more Midwest winter in me” I told my friends Chels and Karah when I got back, “But I’m going to do whatever it takes to get out there as soon as I can.”

A few weeks ago, I sort of buried the announcement that I was moving to the West Coast in this mega-post about writing and goals and purpose and new books. Nothing was really set in stone yet, and I didn’t want to announce something just to have to go back on it later. I just knew that it was happening, and probably sooner than later.

And then it all fell together really quickly. Which is why I trusted it. My talented intuitive friend, Kari, once told me that the universe keeps trying to remind me that I’m a powerful manifestor…which is something I never really believed about myself before, but once she said it, I knew it was true. When I give myself over to the pure desire for something – as small as wanting to see The Last of The Mohicans again or as big as hoping to find a place to live + a job after a sudden break-up with a live-in love – it will often show up the very next day. When my hours were drastically cut at this part-time gig I was holding down to help pay my living expenses while I focused on writing, I texted my friend Dave, who now lives in Portland. It suddenly didn’t make sense for me to pound the pavement in MPLS to look for another job when I knew I didn’t want to ultimately stay there. Wouldn’t it make more sense to go out to the Pacific Northwest, where I wanted to be, and look for a job there?

After a short series of conversations, everything was set. I had a place to live + a job waiting for me in Portland (not to mention one of my favorite friends + partners-in-crime). And then it just felt like…what was I waiting for?

So I did the thing I always wanted to do when it came to thoughts of moving out west – I sold off most of my things, put the must-keep-for-life things (my grandmother’s hope chest, etc) in storage (thanks again, Mom & Dad!) and filled two bags with only the essentials. The last two weeks were filled with a lot of hustle (a LOT of hustle…), but they were also filled with a lot of sweet, slow moments, too.

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I spent time with friends and hit up places that had been lingering on my MPLS bucket list. I had coffee at Five Watt.

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A burger at Parlour Bar.

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A donut at Bogarts.

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On Friday night I had an amazing going-away party + beers at Surly with some of my favorite pals. On Saturday I had lunch at The Blue Door Pub with my parents and moved all of my stuff out of the house I had been living in with my ex-boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend (a long but super fun story). On Sunday I had a Best Last Day at the Minnesota State Fair with the Bauschy-Slawson crew, which was like a dream come true.

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On Monday I flew to Chicago –

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where I got to play with my totes adorable niece –

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and watch The Fashion Police: VMA Edition with my brother Kris and sister-in-law Becky while drinking dirty martinis with blue-cheese-stuffed-olives (yeah. Kris and Becky def know how to live life right).

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On Tuesday afternoon I boarded a plane for Portland.

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And so now I’m here.

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It feels exciting and overwhelming and yet also totally normal to have woken up early to pine trees and clouds this morning. There’s something about the Pacific Northwest that has just always felt like it fit, you know? And it’s been surprising and gratifying, how many friends have said the same thing upon hearing the news. Last night, moments after I exited the plane, I passed a super hot blonde guy sporting facial scruff and a soft-looking flannel shirt who was straight outta my pacNW dreams and I decided to take it as a sign. Today, part of me wants to rush over to IKEA and buy a bunch of stuff to help me settle in, which is a habit I often fall into whenever I move to a new place, but another part of me wants to break with the past and just enjoy living out of my two suitcases for a good while longer, to treasure that feeling of being unencumbered by stuff (I probably need to buy a moped before I buy anything else, though – my “yeah, yeah, I’ll be fine” assertions to Dave’s warnings about the height and steepness of the hill he lives on have proven that sometimes I’m a little too cocky for my own good and that I need to just shut up and listen for once).

I sort of ignored this space the last couple of weeks because I was so busy and overwhelmed with the hustle of the move, but one of the things I was most looking forward to about getting here was being able to sit down and work hard on the writing again. Because coming the realization that writing was it for me and then realizing the dream of moving out here so quickly after that…they feel tied, somehow. “I kind of can’t wait to see how living in the Pacific Northwest impacts your writing, you know?” my friend Erica wrote a couple weeks ago.

I can’t, either.


Author’s note: This morning I stumbled over these two things I had written for myself in late July, right around the time when my part-time gig was being phased out. When seeming disaster strikes, I like to counter it by promising myself that it’s going to be the best thing that ever happened to me, and then I like to write down what that might look like. This time it looked like this:

The universe is shifting to support + take care of me during this time. Everything will fall into place beautifully. I just need to have faith that this time will carry me forward into the next. (CHECK CHECK!)

I am being given the means to give up my current living space in MPLS and move to the West Coast by November 1st, 2015. (CHECK CHECK!)

#Gratitude #ThanksUniverse


For more writing like this, check out all the things you never knew + certain things you ought to know, available now in print and on Kindle

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About Amber L.

Hi! I'm Amber. I've been telling stories with books and blogs since 2004. I also spent 10 years working as a behavior therapist, which I now put to proper use by publishing thought pieces and dissertations on '80s pop music and the defining TV shows of our current times ('The Bachelor', 'Vanderpump Rules', etc). I can also be credited with single-handedly ruining the city of Portland, OR just by moving here.

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