You probably guessed this already- we're living, working, renting, and getting by in Portland, Oregon.
This is a city that both of us are familiar with. It was where D landed waaaay back in the day, his very first American city. He's got great memories of the place- hiking in the forest, taking English classes at the community college, getting his own aquarium, learning to drive, visiting the coast, ordering 50 hamburgers at a time from the McDonalds drive thru- and is already planning to call up some of the old Russian-speaking crowd. It's also a city I spent a huge portion of my life in and then left for almost 15 years.
You could say our roles are reversed: in 2011 I dragged D (back) to Ukraine. "Pleeeease! It won't be so bad! And you speak the language and everything, you fit right in!" Now it's 2014 and funnily enough, those same arguments are being used again... only in the opposite direction.
In order to keep the melodramatic ranting somewhat short, the Pacific Northwest is yes, a wonderful area and yes, everyone proudly adorns their cars with those little Oregonian love stickers, and yes, we both have nice family nearby and yes, it's crazy to not want to live here. I, however, campaigned hard for Mexico, California, even the Middle East anyway. Anywhere. No luck. And the one time I mentioned teaching English in Moldova, D was like "You can have Moldova or you can have a boyfriend." So here we are. Nowadays I'm trying not to compare us to salmon, returned from the wilds of the deep blue sea to spawn and die.
Okay, done, melodrama over.
Finding an apartment two weeks ago helped. As did finding jobs. That's the piece of good news I'd like to end with. D visited LA, experienced hours of traffic jams and smog, gotten shaken down by a sketchy Armenian driver, didn't see any sidewalks, and promptly accepted a less-exciting-but-better-situated job here. He's doing computer-y things again and is one of only two guys at his entire company without a beard. (Flannel shirts, tattoos, and beards appear to be the local fashion.) My work just started this week and it's something along the lines of what I did before- teaching and citizenship, this time with a healthy dose of event planning thrown in. It's as good as it gets as far as work goes and it's exciting to be back in the business of helping new(ish) arrivals go after their dreams.
Thus, this could be our "and they lived (if not quite happy, at least contented) ever after"... except everyone knows there's no such thing as ever afters, it's more like for nows. The rest of the world will always be out there waiting for new explorers and maybe someday we'll be those new explorers again. Or maybe next time it'll be you?
PS: Has anyone got a link to a good travel blog? Something à la Never Ending Voyage or Fluent in 3 Months? Please leave ideas below!