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the things of autumn

autumn in Oregon

Yes, it’s really a new post! I can barely believe it myself. The last two months have flown by with many good intentions to write in this cherished space, but all my writing energy ended up going towards other projects. But here I am, is anyone still out there?

We’re now in the midst of November and on the brink of the holiday season. The weather in Portland was incredible all October, endless sunshine and warmth with a hint of chill in the air. All this led to extra crunchy leaves, pleasant bike rides, hiking every weekend, and lots of gatherings with friends.

At the end of the month, we flew to Mexico for the wedding of two friends from Amsterdam. It was a perfect dose of sunshine, sea, lounging by the pool, and reuniting with friends from the Netherlands. After the wedding, we headed north on the Baja Peninsula to spend the second week of our holiday in La Ventana, La Paz, and finally hiking in the Sierra de la Laguna. Unfortunately, the trip was cut short when Marcus sprained his knee windsurfing and we had to head home early. Bummer! But we’re happy for the time we had and to be home again.

Anticipating: My first Thanksgiving with my family since 2004! Marcus’ best friend from Berlin will be visiting us over the long weekend. He actually lives in New York now. And lived in Amsterdam while we were there. They like to follow each other around the world, I think.

Studying: I’m currently taking the NovoEd course from the Stanford School of Business The Finance of Retirement and Pension. It’s completely outside my normal area of interests, but it has been really interesting to learn about life annuities, coupon bonds, and how to make smart choices to ensure a financial future. Important stuff!

Reading: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. The first book of a trilogy that was quite popular in 2006. I’m a little late to the party, but am enjoying it so far.

Watching: You guys. This documentary about ducks is so great. Not only because they call it a DUCKumentary, but also because it takes a unique look at one of nature’s most familiar creatures.

What have you enjoyed this autumn? Any reading tips for the coming winter? It’s good to be back, friends.

Images from my Instagram (clockwise): leaves covering Director Park, banana pancakes for breakfast, pappardelle with chanterelle mushrooms foraged in the Willamette Valley, a waterfall found while hiking in the Tillamook State Forest.

six months

“You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place, I told him, like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you’ll never be this way again.”
- Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran

Six months ago, I said farewell to Amsterdam, my home for nearly seven years and a city that I came to know as my own. It’s amazing to receive something so unexpected. The Netherlands. Who knew that I would end up feeling at home in that little country in Northern Europe.

I miss it and I miss who I was there, Carly in Amsterdam. Much has changed, but that’s what life does. I am thankful for the experience and the fact that Marcus boarded that one-way flight to Portland with me. If I could bundle up my favorite things about Amsterdam, I’d happily pay an extra baggage fee for these:

The people. My friends, colleagues at World Press Photo, the friendly waitress at our favorite restaurant, the neighbors who safeguarded my packages while I was at work, the Turkish grocer and his family, the Dutch in general. Pragmatic and refreshingly, brutally real.

The lifestyle. Biking everywhere. Coffee with a cookie on the side. Customer service without frills. The rhythm, routine, and slow(er) pace of life. The ease with which you could find yourself in Cologne, Brussels, or Paris. Waking up every Saturday morning to a delivery from De Krat. The Kinderboederij.

The social system. I would happily pay much higher taxes to live in a society that takes care of its people and infrastructure. Where people see themselves as a community rather than isolated individuals that need freedom above all else.

The ongoing sense of wonder. Amsterdam is so beautiful and not a week went by where I didn’t stop to appreciate it. The canals, the architecture, the history. As I would ride along, sometimes I just couldn’t believe that such a place exists and that I knew all the small alleys and bumps in the road.

There could just as well be a list of things I gladly left behind. Or a list of things in Portland I wouldn’t want to give up again. But at this six-month milestone, I’m happy to reflect on what it was and why it meant so much.

Norquay Co.

paddles

A brand dedicated to camping vibes is a brand after my own heart. Norquay brings a love for the outdoors together with great design in their collection of canoe paddles. The Montreal-based company selects the 100% cherry wood paddles from Teal Paddles in New Liskeard, Northern Ontario, which are then hand finished, marked with a cow brander, and topped off with a leather harness. I can see their paddles fitting in perfectly on the lakes of Oregon or simply mounted on a wall, a reminder of summer when winter has descended.

Norquay

paddles2

Norquay paddle

in August

basket of peaches

In May, I set a few goals at the beginning of the month. Having small goals is something that helps me take incremental steps towards something bigger. So, with the goal of enjoying the month of August to the fullest, here are three things I plan to do in the last month of summer.

1. Indulge in summer fruit
Undoubtedly, my favorite thing about summer is the abundance of fresh fruit. Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries. Peaches, plums, and cherries. I can’t get enough. But, for as much as I love baking, I rarely make desserts with summer fruit. This might be due to the fact that it’s too delicious not to eat immediately. Another aspect is my hesitation to turn on the oven and make the apartment even warmer. I have been eyeing recipes for a summer peach tart and a cherry clafoutis and think it’s time to branch out. Do you have any favorite summer fruit desserts?

2. Visit Crater Lake
The past months have been focused on making the most of the warm weather with trips to the coast, gorge, and forest. Our sights are now set on Crater Lake and a camping trip in the Umpqua National Forest. Crater Lake, created when the volcanic mountain collapsed, is one of Oregon’s most beautiful attractions.

3. Find a doctor
This might seem like a silly goal, but while living in the Netherlands, I struggled to find a primary care doctor that I felt cared about my long-term health. This could be attributed to the requirement that you had to register with a doctor in your neighborhood. Having moved three times, I also changed doctors as often. Now, I am determined to find a caring physician in Portland. Recommendations are welcome.

What will you do in the month of August?

Photo by Hannah

Suttle Lake

  SuttleLake1At the end of May, Marcus and I drove to Central Oregon to spend my birthday weekend at The Lodge at Suttle Lake. The resort has a beautiful main lodge and boathouse restaurant, with private cabins scattered around the premises. We rented a small cabin a short walk from the lake and dined the first evening at the restaurant. Due to a mixup, our reservation was lost, so the manager opened the second floor and gave us a private meal with a view over the lake. The ambiance was amazing, complemented by delicious food and a bottle of wine. After our meal, we headed back to sit around the fire and roast birthday s’mores.

The next day, my parents joined us for a hike around the lake, although the water was too cold for a swim. In the evening, we cooked a meal of chili, cheese sandwiches, and roasted kale over the fire. With s’mores for dessert, of course. On Sunday, we headed to the nearby town of Sisters, an Old West style town with a mountain range for a backdrop. We visited a few antique shops, enjoyed lunch on a sunny terrace, and grabbed coffee at the legendary Sisters Coffee Company. And then, we headed over the mountain and back to Portland.

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on the lake

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weekend links

ned ludd

Life has been a whirlwind lately! I’m three weeks into an exciting project, two weeks into another, and have been meeting up with new and old friends all across the city. We spent the last two weekends at the beach and plan to head in the opposite direction this weekend to explore the Columbia Gorge.
What will you be doing this weekend?

1. New-to-me Portland places that I’ve loved: Canteen, Produce Row, and Ned Ludd (pictured above)
2. The three-part Nature series Bears of the Last Frontier is worth watching
3. This recipe for garlic scape pesto is just delicious
4. National Geographic has a Tumblr for unpublished work in its archive
5. If you ever find yourself near Newport, Oregon, I recommend taking this kayak tour through the Beaver Creek wetlands
6. All hail the arrival of cherry season
7. Cinema 21 is still showing Joss Whedon’s fantastic Much Ado About Nothing
8. My ears are perked to the music of Kate Boy (below)

kate boy

the things of summer

William Lamson solarium © Storm King Art Center

Admiring: Solarium by William Lamson, a greenhouse with 162 windowpanes made with carmelized sugar on a hilltop in Mountainville, New York. Love.

Reading: The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. ‘A reflection on time, aging, memory, and remorse’. I’m taking full advantage of my library card and the wonderful Multnomah County Library app, which allows me to reserve books endlessly with the touch of a finger.

Baking: Granola with dried apricots and blueberries, strawberry shortcake cake, and bread with zucchini fresh from my sister’s garden. It feels great to be in the kitchen again, mixing and measuring while NPR plays in the background.

Anticipating: A long weekend at the beach, time to enjoy family, reading, and exploring. And also a chance to stare at the waves and think about how I’d like the next months to unfold. Sneak peeks on instagram.

Solarium © Storm King Art Center

Photos: Storm King Art Center