Arriving in Portland, Oregon

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Laura and Penny at Diana's Apartment

I arrived in Portland on Saturday March 30th around 3:30 pm. The timing was good because my sister Diana and my niece Laura where at a friends birthday party and had just gotten back about 15 minutes before I arrived. We talked for a little while and I tickled Laura some. Then Laura and I went for a short bike ride around the complex. After that the three of us went out to a Mexican restaurant called LaHacienda.

We stopped by the grocery store on the way back home and picked up a few things along with some eggs to decorate for Easter. When we got back Diana made hard boiled eggs and then all three of us decorated them with crayons and them dipped them in water with food coloring. That evening after Laura went to bed the Easter Bunny hid the eggs around the 1st floor of the apartment. In the morning Laura looked for them. By the time we left for an Easter Gathering at a friend's house she had found all but one egg. My other niece Penny came along with us. We had snacks and lunch there and then did another Easter egg hunt there. It was a beautiful sunny day. It was nice walking around outside and playing with the kids.

Cinnamon and Mimi at Diana's Apartment

Monday evening I drove over to Aga's apartment. Aga is a friend I met on the Internet in November of 2001. We had talked a lot online and were looking forward to finally meeting each other in person. She is from Poland and has been living in Portland for about three years now. She baby-sits, teaches piano lessons and sings in a band. I got to her place a little after 3:00 pm. We talked for a while mainly about Reiki and Spiritual stuff.


We went out to Blockbuster and rented the movie Hearts of Atlantis and swung by the grocery store and picked up some tomato soup. I made grilled cheese and tomato soup since Aga had never had that before. Then we watched the movie. The next morning Aga left for work around 8:00 am. She said I could sleep some more if I wanted to, so I did. I woke up around 9:45 am. She left a copy of the key to her apartment for me and left a note saying I was welcome to drop by anytime I wanted to. I was kind of surprised at how fast Aga and I connected and how strong that connection felt for both of us. Then I drove back to my sisters.

Aga and Myself

On Tuesday Diana and I went to the grocery store and got a bunch of supplies. Then we stopped by the pet store to get some crickets to feed to the lizards and a couple new fish. Later in the day when we were back at Diana's a black stray cat came in the house. Since then he has become one of the family and has been sleeping with me down on the couch.

On Wednesday I went to school with Laura. She is in 2nd grade now. It was kewl spending the day with her and seeing what her life is like in school and meeting her teachers and friends. That evening I went over to Aga's apartment again. That night we rented K-Pax (A great movie) and Aga fixed barbeque chicken for dinner. It was that evening that we verbalized that we wanted to be together as a couple. We agreed that after I leave my sisters place in a few weeks I would move in with her.

Living Room of Aga's and My Apartment

On Thursday Diana and I got Laura off to school and I slept in. I took a long nap in the afternoon. Diana went to barrow a truck so she could get a mattress from her friend Kelly. But Kelly forgot the key to the storage place so my sister was unable to get the mattress. I watched Laura and some of her friends while Diana was out and about on that adventure. That night we watched ER at 10:00pm. It was Dr. Greens last night on the show.

Friday afternoon Diana and I went downtown and had lunch. Diana was going there to have a meeting about Stand For Children (The Portland State Team that my sister started). Only one other person showed up for the meeting and she was 45 minuets late. Diana was a great leader in the meeting. After that I went over to Aga's. She and I went to visit two of her friends that are also from Poland. We walked around some botanical gardens that had a stream with little waterfalls in it. That night we watched the movie Top Secret.

Looking off the Balcony of Aga's and My Apartment

On Saturday I took Laura out to see the movie Clockstoppers. After that we came back and rode bikes for a little bit and then went out to Mc Donald's.

I slept a lot on Sunday and Laura was not feeling so well so she took a long nap as well. Diana worked on her homework most of the day. Diana, Laura and I watched the Emperors New Grove in the afternoon. It was a very funny movie. That night Diana and I stayed up till around 1:30am talking.

Laura stayed home from school on Monday April 8th so I stayed there to watch her and we played video games some and then I took a nap. Laura cleaned her room and I helped out a little. Gwen sent me my mail that was building up back in Ballston Spa, so I sorted through that. I opened up a checking and savings account here and got my car insurance switched over to Oregon. Unfortunately that added about $600 a year to it. I got the application to change my driver's license over. I will have to take the written test and pay a $54 fee for the privilege of taking a test I passed in NY when I was 16.

Aga and Kids she Baby-sits

The next day I visited Aga at the place where she baby-sits. The family she baby-sits for is one that she lived with for a while when she first came to the United States. They have three sons that she watches twice a week and when the parents go on trips. I brought a few Nintendo 64 games over that they enjoyed. That evening all of us went out for pizza at The Round Table Pizza Place.

A couple days before my birthday when my New York Drivers License would expire I took the test at the DMV to get my Oregon Drivers License. I got 82% on the test and needed 80% to pass so I just made it.

On April 17th (My birthday) Aga came over to my sisters. We were originally planning on going out to LaHacienda for dinner, but since none of us were all that hungry we changed our plans. Aga had had a big lunch and Diana, Laura and I went to Costco's earlier and while we were there all got ice cream to eat. So we decided to go for a walk instead. We drove to a near by park and walked around. Then we drove around some scenic roads and returned home later in the evening.

On Saturday April 20th I moved in with Aga. I brought most of my stuff over and I unpacked and Aga and I figured out how to fit everything in and rearrange the apartment for both of us.

On Friday April 26th Aga and I went downtown to see Steven Hawking give a lecture. It was kewl to see him in person. At the end of the lecture he answered questions. He types about 4 words a minute so he only answered two questions in about an hour. But one the people he works with was answering questions while he typed out his responses. They also showed the clip from Star Trek the Next Generation that he was in.

The next day Aga and I went to Seattle, Washington. We stayed with Lucy who is a friend of Aga's while we were there. Saturday evening we went to the Polish House where Aga sang in a band until around 2:30 am. It was nice to finally see her sing in the band after I heard about it. She is really good.

On Sunday Lucy, Aga and I went to visit Aga's cousin that lived north of Seattle. He is the only family she has in the United States. He had a home video he took from earlier this year when he visited Poland of Aga's parents, her sister and her dog. After watching that we all talked for a while. Her cousin is an architect. When he first moved to the United States in 1989 he lived in Syracuse, New York. I told him that was where I was born. He told me about this one grocery store he really liked there and I said he must be speaking of Wegmans and he said he was.

He had to take his two sons to play in a hokey game up in Canada that evening. He fixed them something to eat before leaving for the game. But one of them was not eating that much. So he told him he better eat his food or he will punish him by taking him to Mc Donalds. I found that funny since that would be a reward for most American kids.

After we left there we drove back to Seattle and went downtown. We stopped at a section with many small shops selling different types of food. We got some Polish food that tasted pretty good. We drove to where the Space Needle was and walked to a big water fountain to eat our late lunch. It was relaxing to watch this water fountain and kids running around trying to touch the middle part of it without getting wet. After sitting there for a while we went up to the top of the Space Needle where we were able to see downtown Seattle from way up high. We also had a great view of the mountains, rivers and Lake Washington from up there.

After coming back down from the space needle we got on the monorail that went to a different section of downtown. It was my first time on a monorail outside of Disney Land and World. We got to sit in the very front looking straight ahead. It was kewl going so fast above all the traffic on the streets down below.

On Monday Aga and I drove to Redmond, Washington. It was fairly close to Seattle. There we stopped by Nintendo Headquarters. They don't give tours there but it was still kewl to see and we were able to look around the front desk area and the repair center. Microsoft Headquarters is right across the street from Nintendo. So we got to see the outside of that building as well. Then after seeing that we drove back home.

On Friday May 3rd I went downtown to the Art Institute of Portland. They are connected with the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. So I was able to go to there career services and they gave me a list of different companies in the area I could send my resume to along with different websites to check out.

On Saturday I hung out with my niece Laura while my sister had classes. Laura and I went to the Aquatic Park around 5:30 pm. They have several water slides there along with several pools including a wave pool. On Sunday a couple of Aga's friends stopped by. One of them was a woman who was the cleaning lady for the people Aga stayed with when she first came to the US. She is around 46 years old and is very interesting. We talked about spirituality some along with sharing a few dreams. Martin also came over. He is the leader of the band Aga sings in. Martin and I played some video games and then we ordered out for some pizza and watched the movie Driving Miss Daisy.

Previous Section | Summer 2002: Life in Portland, Oregon

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