I’ve been in America for four months now. As tough as it was in the first weeks, I find it nowadays so much easier to get around. I easily drive up and down to Seattle to drop off some caviar in the middle of the center (don’t ask me why). I find new trails. I drive to downtown Portland without having to breathe into a bag. I’m pretty proud of myself for finding my way here and getting used to the American lifestyle. Of course, there are still sometimes moments that would be so easy to do in Holland, such as buying a stamp to send a greeting card but seems to be a great mystery to me here. Not life-threatening issues, but still really annoying if you want to mail something.
With the occasional trip to another state, Oregon still remains my home. Every time when I see the misty mountain tops, my heart skips a beat. I can’t explain it, you have to feel it.
When I saw the remaining number of days before my visa expires, I felt a slight panic bubble up. I’m not done here at all. I still have so much to see, so much to do. Help, I don’t want to go home yet. Not to lose more time, I feel compelled to soak up as much Oregon as possible before I go home.
One of the places that are a must-see is “Multnomah falls”. I skip the weekend for these kinds of tourist attractions. Too peopley outside. So on Sunday, I did my work and on Monday I drove through the pouring rain towards Gorge. It was raining so hard that the river next to the highway was barely visible. In fact, the highway itself was barely visible due to the rain. However, as Dutch, as I am, a few drops won’t stop me from going on a hike.
The gods were kind to me because when I arrived at the falls after an hour’s drive, the weather cleared up and I saw the falls against a clear blue sky. The falls were amazing, as was the path up. The higher I got, the bigger my smile. This view is amazing, I want to pack it up and take it home with me. I want to put up my tent here, build my house, and breathe my last breath. Scatter my ashes here! Okay, that might sound a little bit too dramatic, but still. This view, people!
I’ve seen a lot of America in the past few months. Americans love to be “the biggest” “the best” “the friendliest” or “the tastiest” of America. Even in the middle of the desert, a random diner puts up a mega sign with the slogan that they have the best food in America. It does take some guts to say that about yourself.
It got me thinking. Maybe I should have a slogan like that too. But what is still original? While I was standing there on top of the mountain thinking about everything while enjoying the view, an elderly gentleman came hiking by. “You’re lucky,” he said laughing, “I’ve been walking here for 40 years but the way the sun and the shadows of the trees shine into the water now, I’ve only seen 5 times at the most in the last 40 years.” Before I could say anything, he started walking again. Hiking poles, hiking boots, and a helmet for falling rocks. He came well-prepared.
I look at the view again. “The happiest Dutch graphic designer of America.” It says nothing about my work, but it is the truth. I look one more time before I walk back down. That zen feeling lingers around me for the rest of the day. No, I’m far from being done with Oregon and Oregon is far from being done with me.