At 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.
It was a Saturday afternoon, sunny and the warm air thick with pollen. We had rented a car for the weekend and were preparing to head to my sister's house for a dinner party. Marcus turned to me and upended our plans to drive to the beach early the next morning with a question: "Shall we go tonight instead?" Suddenly preparations to pack our sleeping bags, park on the beach, and sleep in the back of the car began to take shape. And, why not? Didn't we uproot our cozy life in Amsterdam to be closer to nature and adventure in Oregon?
We began the drive from Portland to the beach well after 9pm. Headed west, we witnessed the sun setting behind the Coastal Mountain Range and then were pitched into darkness on the winding roads. As Marcus drove, I studied a map to decide where we should set up camp. For long stretches, we would lose mobile phone reception completely, nearly unheard of in Western Europe.
As we entered the small town of Gearhart, there were self-reprimands that we should have planned the trip better. After several failed attempts, we came upon a beach access point for cars and drove out onto the sand. There were small groups of people up and down the beach, gathered around bonfires as the tide drew near. We crawled into our sleeping bags, rolled the window slightly to avoid asphyxiation, and settled back to the sound of the waves.
The early morning light woke us at 5:30am and we staved off our hunger until the Pacific Way Bakery opened. After rounds of coffee and pastries, we returned to the beach for a gloriously sunny day. As the tide went out, we came across a multitude of sand dollars still intact. A sight I'd never seen before.
The move across the world hasn't been easy and the last months have surfaced doubts, worries, and fears that I didn't anticipate. The transition will take time and we're trying to fully embrace life in America without sacrificing the European values we hold close. I have learned to trust Marcus in ways I never had to before and I know that as long as I say yes, only adventure awaits.