Hi there. I'm still here. Resurfacing in the Beaver State. Three months into my Oregon experience, here are my first impressions of the state:
1. You can smoke pot, but you’d better not try to pump your own gas. It’s illegal.
2. I have been waking up with a recurring nightmare: I am driving the wrong way down one of Salem's omnipresent one-way streets.
3. Oregonians are a friendly lot. The tech support person I called at work talked to me like I was her buddy. Definitely took the edge off my computer setup frustrations.
4. The sound of a train whistle is a constant companion -- I hear it daily from both work and home. Mostly it makes me think adventure, except for the 3 AM run, when it becomes an unwelcome alarm clock.
5. LOVE not having a state sales tax! That $548 couch is actually going to cost $548, not $548 plus $44.
6. You know you’re in Oregon when an Audubon Society workshop about raptors (eagles, hawks, etc.) draws an overflow crowd of 60+ people. You would think it was a town hall meeting!
7. I love them dearly, but Oregonians are weather weenies. Two years of living in Alaska, and I never once got a snow day. First two weeks in Oregon, we already had two snow/ice days. They’ve had a total of 8 snow days this season. They don't seem to have salt or plows; they just let nature take its course in clearing the roads.
8. They are serious about their recycling here. They even recycle city names. In addition to Salem, so far I’ve seen Dallas, Albany, Lebanon, Newport, Bridgeport, Seneca, Oakland, Vancouver, and Charleston. Even Madras. (Wonder if they'll be changing that to Chennai...?)
9. I will know I've become a local when I run my first red light. There's a lot of red-light running going on here! Are they stoned? Or just think they're so rogue that laws don't apply to them? An Oregon colleague tells me this joke: How can you tell an Oregon driver on the road? It's the second car running a red light.
10. The cherry blossoms at the state capitol are almost as spectacular as those of Washington D.C.
Cherry blossoms at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem