Tag Archives: Portland

the first of May

in bloom

The first of May is here and I feel all the anticipation for my favorite month ahead. Not only is the weather forecast for the next week pure sunshine and warmth, but the month concludes with my 30th birthday.

After nearly two months of building up a new life in Portland, things are finally starting to take shape. Slowly, but surely. In an attempt to focus less on how life-turned-upside-down this all has been and more on everything that lies ahead, I am making a monthly list of three things to help the settling in process move ahead and make each month a little sweeter. Plus, I love lists.

1. Furnish our apartment
On May 15, Marcus and I will move into our new apartment! We are beyond excited and can only hope that our shipment from Amsterdam will have finally arrived by that point. After living in half-furnished apartments for the last eight years, we finally get to start investing in our own items. First up: a bed, dining room table, and comfy chairs for the living room.

2. Sign up for a library card
Libraries are magical places. The libraries in Amsterdam had a small selection of English-language books, but nothing worthy of a membership. I’ve either purchased or borrowed from friends all the books I’ve read since 2005. I can’t wait to go to the library again.

3. Join a yoga studio
I have been practicing yoga independently for years. It started out during the wintertime in my high-rise apartment in Seoul when I came across a great video series. I’m looking forward to trying out a few studios and hopefully finding a good one in my neighborhood.

What do you hope the month of May brings?

leaving Amsterdam

Amsterdam to Portland

It’s official. After nearly seven years in Amsterdam, I am heading home. The move has been in the works for a while now, but the tangible reality of it is really emotional. It hasn’t always been easy, but this little country has been good to me.

In July 2006, I arrived in the Netherlands with two suitcases in hand. It was my first time stepping foot in the country, enticed by a full scholarship for a two-year Master’s of Arts program. The first year was a rollercoaster as I adjusted to living in Europe, a mix of awe at the beauty of the city and confusion as I wondered where my place was in the world. I had lived in Seoul the year before and, although I loved my family, I didn’t want to live in America. A year into my studies, I wondered if Amsterdam was the place for me. At the height of wanderlust, I imagined moving next to Berlin or Paris. And then…

In September 2007, I met Marcus. A sweet German who had lived in Amsterdam for two years, played music, worked with technology, and is the epitome of stability and love. When I received my diploma in June 2008, I couldn’t imagine leaving him and decided to stay. I entered the Dutch workforce in August 2008, building my career and an amazing network.

Moving to a new apartment. German lessons. A job offer from World Press Photo. Traveling the world. An engagement. A wedding. And then it was 2013.

The two suitcases I arrived with in 2006 have evolved into five cubic meters to be packed in a transatlantic shipping container. I now have my MA degree, a solid professional career, friends from all parts of the world, and an amazing husband. And somehow, despite the distance, I am closer to my family than ever. I don’t mean to make it sound easy. There were moments of tears and frustration, times of loneliness and wondering if I would make it along the way. But I did.

A new life awaits in Portland and there are so many details to arrange before the end of February. But for now, I am going to enjoy these last days with the city that has brought so much to my life.

an autumn walk in Hoyt Arboretum

On the last day of our trip home, Marcus and I went for a walk with my parents in Hoyt Arboretum, nestled above downtown Portland. The temperatures had dropped significantly during our visit, turning the bright autumn colors a duller, winter version. We wandered over the hills as the late-afternoon air turned cool. Finally when our fingers were numb, we headed for dinner at Serratto and then back to Amsterdam in the morning.

autumn in Oregon

Oregon is beautiful in all seasons, but autumn just might be my favorite. After my trip to Casablanca, I returned to Amsterdam for a few days before departing for Portland. The occasion was my father’s 60th birthday, which we celebrated with abandon. My father declared his birthday a season and has been celebrating the past several months with fishing trips to Bend and explorations of hidden lakes. We take birthdays seriously in my family.

The actual celebration of his birthday lasted about three days, starting with a large party on Saturday, complete with live music and an array of baked goods by yours truly. On Sunday, my parents, Marcus, and I went on a long walk through the orange-leaved trees in surprisingly warm weather. We wore summer clothing and sat outside, drinking lemonade and eating watermelon. On Monday – my dad’s actual birthday – we turned in our ballots, went book shopping, and gathered around the table for a family dinner. I’m thankful for such a wonderful family, a dad who has humor and wisdom, and especially for the love of nature he has inspired in each of us, which comes in especially useful each time I return home to Oregon.

Above, a few images from Instagram (clockwise): sunset over the Willamette River taken while hanging out with my two sweet nieces; the sun shining on the leaves of a maple tree in my parent’s garden; the Stayton-Jordan covered bridge; and the view from the Wildwood trail at Hoyt Arboretum.

at the Portland Farmers Market

The first morning I was in Portland, my sister Alyssa and I began the day at the Farmers Market at PSU. She lives downtown and we woke early enough to scout out our breakfast from individual vendors. Chocolate milk, strawberries, and Bavarian-style croissants. Finished off with coffee at Stumptown.

Even with all the impressive markets we have in Amsterdam, there was something special about this market. Perhaps it was the fact that I hadn’t been to a Portland farmers market in years. I also appreciated the space that allowed for people to walk uncrowded. My sister also knew many of the vendors, like the bread bakers who are trying to learn German. Such a perfect start to my trip home.

urban aquarium

A beautiful art installation in the Portland International Airport by artist Sayuri Sasaki Hemann. Handmade jellyfish are suspended in a large-scale aquarium. The project aims to ‘create a dialogue between viewers about context and displacement and about the unexpected.’

The jellyfish are styled after the Sky Jelly, A Midsummer’s Night Dream (real name!), Portland Rain, Electric Moss Jellyfish, Magic Jelly, Moonlight Parade, and Sunset Jelly. I would love to unexpectedly come across this work while headed to a flight.

Photos by The Weaver House

New Year’s Eve Masquerade

New Year’s Eve was such a fantastic night that, 12 days later, I still want to share some photos. The evening started with an early dinner at Jake’s Grill followed by a 7pm performance by Pink Martini at the Arlene Schnitzer concert hall in downtown Portland. A NYE tradition, it was my second time attending the show, a wonderful mix of favorite songs and Christmas songs.

After the show, my parents, my sister, my brother-in-law, Marcus and I headed over to the Benson Hotel for music and a masquerade. Dancing in masks was actually a bit tricky, but we rang in the New Year with style. Shortly after midnight, I petitioned that we head outside for a Berlin-style, on-the-street celebration. Maybe even fireworks? It wasn’t how we imagined and we reached the hotel sooner than expected. Which was when we grabbed our champagne and headed out to enjoy the fire on the terrace. How did you celebrate?

Weekend Links #12

One last edition of Weekend Links coming out of Portland and Seattle. Weekend Links is a collection of the interesting bits and pieces that I’ve come across on the streets and online. The weekly post is my chance to share with you a few things from the week, in a list compiled during the weekend. I hope you enjoy them as well.

A few things I enjoyed this week:
1. Checking out Newspace Center for Photography in Portland, an interesting gallery, production and educational space
2. Watching the beautiful production Paris: The Luminous Years (thanks Dad!)
2. Eating a delicious breakfast at cozy Citizen Cafe in Seattle with dear friends
3. Seeing the photography of Amy Blakemore made with a Diana camera at the Seattle Art Museum (image above)
4. Taking a ferry from downtown Seattle to Bainbridge Island to feel the water and wind (images below)
5. Watching the documentary Pelada, in which two football (soccer) players travel around the world seeking out pick-up games in unexpected places

Weekend Links #11

Weekend Links is a collection of the interesting bits and pieces that I’ve come across on the streets and online. The weekly post is my chance to share with you a few things that I have enjoyed, in a list compiled during the weekend. I hope you enjoy them as well.

A few things I enjoyed during a very Portland week:
1. Eating a sumptuously creative dinner at Castagna, the Portland restaurant of 2010 (pictured above, a baked apple with black walnut, smoked milk, and cinnamon sticks)
2. A lazy afternoon of relaxing at Löyly Sauna
3. Ringing in the New Year with some of my favorite people, kicking off the eve with a performance by Pink Martini at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
4. Book shopping at Powell’s Books
5. Mourning the closure of Berbati’s Pan, an old haunt where I used to interview bands then get kicked out for being underage
6. Enjoying a taste of Lovejoy Vodka, a creation of a local Portland distillery, at the Night Light Lounge (pictured below)

And then it was December

Time has flown and we now sit in the midst of December. Tomorrow I am off on a plane to Portland – the city of roses and the gateway to a world both familiar and foreign to me (image via fieldguided).

Weekend Links #5

Weekend Links is a collection of the interesting bits and pieces that I’ve come across on the streets and online. The weekly post is my chance to share with you a few things that I have enjoyed, in a list compiled during the weekend. I hope you enjoy them as well.

A few things I experienced this week:
1. Listening to Inside the Icelandic Music Scene on KEXP
2. More planning for a (mostly) vegetarian Thanksgiving celebration (pictured above).
3. Wanting this cute owl (via Elsa May)
4. Reading about Jonathan Safran Foer’s unique formatted upcoming book (pictured below via simonvanoldenbeek)
5. Wishing for the Portland Farmer’s Market in my backyard when I look at these photos (via @blueeyesbren)
6. Scouring the program of the International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam, which begins on Wednesday
7. Planning for a trip to Porto, Portugal this week and Cologne, Germany this weekend

Weekend Links #3

Weekend Links is a collection of the interesting bits and pieces that I’ve come across on the streets and online. The weekly post is my chance to share with you a few things that I have enjoyed, in a list compiled during the weekend. I hope you enjoy them as well.

A few things I experienced this week:
1. Hearing the excitement grow for Little Winter on 6 and 7 November. If you’re in Portland, you should go to this handmade market with over 20 artists.
2. Reading ‘A Fiction Reader’s Guide to Social Interaction‘ in The Bygone Bureau.
3. Checking in on 100 Days of Active Resistance 32 days into the project (above image by Matthew Senkowycz on Day 8).
4. Watching the trailer for Trainwriting in Berlin, a documentary the graffiti scene in the German capital (via Freunde von Freunden).
5. Partaking in a much-needed Mexican food splurge with Sarah and drinks at Café Brecht.
6. Exploring the world with Globe Genie, a creation of MIT grad student Joe McMichael.
7. Listening to CocoRosie in preparation for their concert Monday night. Click the link below to listen to a live performance in Seattle.

Wanderlust: Vintage on Wheels

My upcoming trip to Portland in December/January becomes more exciting every day and my To Do list is growing concurrently. I’m gathering recommendations of restaurants from Lemon Basil, stores from Unruly Things and Modish, and catching up on the street style with Urban Weeds. And the excitement continues to build with Frolic and Honey Kennedy. Etc.

The list is long, but one Must Do is a visit to Wanderlust, a vintage boutique on wheels making its way around Portland (via Modish). What else is new and not to be missed in Portland?

Carson Ellis illustrations

I was thrilled when I read that the cover of The Mysterious Benedict Society, a wonderfully imaginative book, was illustrated by Carson Ellis. How could I not have known? Carson is best know  to me for her amazing work on the albums and concert posters of The Decemberists. Her illustrations from another book, Dillweed’s Revenge, are showing at Nationale gallery in Portland from 8 September – 3 October. If I were there, I would certainly stop by.

Stumptown in Amsterdam

A bit of home across the ocean. Stumptown Coffee Roasters, native to Portland and a favorite brew of my dad, is taking a holiday here in Amsterdam through the end of July. You’ll find them at Sid Lee in de Pijp. Thanks for the reminder Stef!

The Year in Music

NPR takes a look at the best music of 2009, with more than a few representatives from the Pacific Northwest.

Oregon Manifest

oregon manifest

Pereira CycleLast weekend, I was able to catch the final festivities of Oregon Manifest, a celebration of the bike culture and innovation in Portland, Oregon. Part of the month-long celebration was a design challenge and an exhibition of the winning frame designs. The first place prize went to Pereira Cycles for this design, now on sale.

A gallery in the Pearl District was featuring the exhibition Dreams on Wheels: Danish Cycling Culture for Urban Sustainability, which will make its way to cities around the world including London, Barcelona, and Brussels in 2010. The exhibition looks at Danish efforts to cultivate a culture of cycling through sociological research, urban design and planning, public policy, and educational programs.

A few Danish words for ‘bicycle’:
Stålhest (steel horse)
Skærveknuser (bone crusher)
Havelåge (garden gate)

bicycle 1bicycle 2

The Days

the view

Almost a week in Oregon and I’ve seen a lot so far. Dinner at Oba. Mat Kearney concert at the Roseland. Drinks sitting by the fireplace in Vault Martini. Watching my little niece prance around in ballet class. Lunch at the Wild Pear. Hiking at North Fork. A day with the wonderful Mr. Headley. And, last night, a bit of salsa dancing while listening to Aguamiel.





The Simon Façade


A building in Portland stopped me in my tracks last month and gave me a nice moment to think about my wonderful Dutch colleague, Simon, who was probably sleeping soundly on the other side of the world when I took that picture. Unlike this façade, he is more than just a pretty face.

A Sassy Beggar

Turn down your shoes, they’re way too loud!

Said a man on the corner of 10th and Couch in Portland, responding to the click clack of my high heels.