I’ve been wanting to visit Portland, Oregon, for years. I knew that I would love it, but it would be an expensive trip and I would have to take at least a week off from work. And I tend to take all of my big vacations in England, my second home.
Well, the stars aligned earlier this year and my vice president agreed to pay for me to attend a conference in Portland in April. Not only would I be attending my first American Copy Editors Society conference, but I would also have the opportunity to explore a city that I knew I would be smitten with.
The conference was great. I was surrounded by hundreds of people who cared about grammar and spelling and proper usage of words. There were entire sessions on dictionaries, a spelling bee, and a formal dinner at which the keynote speaker used images of Grumpy Cat during her speech.
But, this post is about birthday list items. I did a number of things I’ve never done before, but the two most important ones were:
- Walked the aisles of the world’s largest bookstore = Powell’s Books
I only managed to carve out one hour to spend at Powell’s, but it was a glorious hour. There are so many sections that whole wings of the store are color coded. Luckily I found an information desk early on and an employee told me where to find the travel and music sections. I was half giddy and half teary eyed throughout the experience. I left with a happy heart and gratitude toward Portlanders for supporting this store.
2. Visited a cat café
I’ve been obsessed with cat cafés for a few years now. I don’t remember how I first heard about them, but I’ve known about the cat cafés in San Francisco, London, and Montreal for a while. I met a number of people from Montreal at a conference in January, and our introductions went something like this:
Me: Hi, I’m Nancy. I work at xx.
Montrealer: Hi, I’m xx. I work at xx.
Me: That’s great! Have you been to either of the cat cafés??
Only one Montrealer was aware that the cat cafés existed, and she hadn’t visited it.
So my friend Kara whom I met in Boston lives in Portland now, and she graciously played host during my sightseeing days. She offhandedly mentioned that there was a cat café in Portland and a record scratch went off in my head. “Can we go???” I pleaded.
She said, “Sure!” And so we found ourselves at Purringtons on a quiet Sunday afternoon.
We bought tea and then paid a fee to hang with the kitties for an hour. There were six kitties and some were napping or unenthused by our presence. But we were able to get some good pets in. This cat was a lover.
It was a fun experience, and I look forward to visiting other cat cafés in the future…
This post is long enough, but I just have to mention the other wonderful things that Portland offers:
Beer, donuts, coffee, culture, nice people, and a startlingly amount of natural beauty.
If it were about 2,500 miles closer, I would move there in a heartbeat.