Left coast life

17 Nov
17 November 2016. It has been scarcely three weeks since we left Rome. In that time, we have been to the dentist and eye doctor, bought new glasses, established ourselves with a General Practitioner, figured out public transportation in Portland, learned to drive again, bought a car, and had an offer accepted on a house after a 3-night trip to the Oregon Coast to “start” house-hunting. Yes, we will truly be living on the left coast, at Lincoln City, Oregon. Here’s our house-to-be. It’s about a mile from the beach. house
Driving is a necessary annoyance. We have a lovely hybrid vehicle; However, we are still trying to use public transportation for trips to the city centre to avoid the hassle of parking and to keep ourselves walking and wandering and discovering. You cannot adequately explore a place by car as well as you can on two feet.
We have made progress in the ever-important search for good coffee. We have managed to find three places: Coffee Time  on Northwest 21st Avenue makes an excellent and small cappuccino, Grand Central Baking just a block from our son’s house makes a smooth and rich cappuccino, and Great Harvest Bread Company  on Southwest 2nd Avenue made an Americano I found pleasant: not burned, not bitter, and not too big if you ask them not to add too much water. We have found that a flat white at Starbucks is pretty good and at 8 ounces about the right size. At $3.40 it is hardly a value and they expect a tip!
Last time I shared some of our observations after only a few days back in the U.S. In the past 10 or 12 days we’ve noted many more. These are things we took for granted until we lived overseas for 4 1/2 years. Now, they are astounding.
  1. Elevators are huge! I had forgotten you can put 10 people in an elevator without having to become intimate.

    This is the elevator at our embassy apartment in Roma. You coudl get 3 not-too-big people in it. One might call it "intimate." Quaint.

    This is the elevator at our embassy apartment in Rome. You could get 3 not-too-big people in it. One might call it “intimate.” Or quaint.

  2. In the US, cars do not park on the sidewalks nor in the pedestrian crossings.

    No one parks like this in Portland, but this is a failry common approach in Rome: on the sidewalk and in the pedestrian zone.

    No one parks like this in Portland, but this is a fairly common approach in Rome: on the sidewalk and in the pedestrian zone.

  3. Maybe it’s just in Portland, but buses are terrific! The drivers welcome you on board and they arrive on time. Most remarkably, rather than flagging a bus down as one does in Rome (or they won’t stop), the other day while standing at a stop serving 2 different lines we had to wave off the bus we did not need. So polite! Of course, the cost is much higher. A single trip is $2.50 versus €1.50 in Rome. My Roman friends will gasp when I tell them an annual pass is $1100.00 versus the €250.00 we paid in Rome, but then the buses here run on time and show up.
  4. People do not talk while riding on public transportation. It’s almost like being in Paris. They also wait for you to get off before shoving their way on board, and people queue up. I’ve even been deferred to in boarding. In Rome, people would shoulder me out of the way in the scurry to claim a spot onboard.
  5. The mentally challenged engage you in conversation on public transportation. In Rome, we seldom saw challenged people of any sort out alone, if they were out in public at all. It is refreshing to see people of varying abilities making their way around the city, confident and free, accepted by their fellow travellers.
  6. Dogs pee on the grass. Sidewalk puddles are (usually) from rain. This may only have meaning if you have lived in a big city without grassy areas.
  7. I can wash and dry clothes at the same time while making espresso and ironing. This is huge. Thank you, USA, for plentiful and affordable electricity. And we could turn the heat on before November 15. 
  8. I no longer need to clean the calcium out of the cat’s water dish with vinegar.
  9. Tipping is the scourge of America. Prices are so much higher than Europe as a whole, yet we are expected to tip even if we serve ourselves at the counter. This is going to take some getting used to.
We are thankful for all of you who have followed our story since GoodDayRome debuted 4 1/2 years ago. I am not sure where to go with blogging. Obviously, for awhile I will have little to say about Rome. I will keep posting what’s going on in our lives as our transition continues, so I hope you will stay for the ride. When we travel back to Europe, I will probably blog about our travels.
I am writing a book about easy hiking in Italy’s Val Gardena. It is for people like Ric and me (yeah, old people), people with children, or anyone who does not fancy climbing mountains but enjoys a good stroll. If I can take a deep breath and work on it consistently for a few days, it should be published on Amazon by late January. I will let you know here when it launches. Maybe 5 or 6 people will actually buy it. 
For our American friends and readers, Happy Thanksgiving! It is exciting to be back in the USA for this most-American of holidays and I am looking forward to our family gathering and cooking up a storm.
kitchenSpeaking of cooking, I can hardly wait to start cooking in my kitchen-to-be.


21 Responses to “Left coast life”

  1. Chloe Erkenbrecher November 22, 2016 at 20:23 #

    Your home in Oregon looks lovely and I hope that you enjoy every minute in that fantastic kitchen. The electrical problems seem to be a universal problem in Europe. If we have any electric heat on in our house and turn on the oven, everything goes out. I am looking forward to your book, as I have friends who hike (stroll) in the Dolomites. I believe that they are going there next summer with a group of friends from Paris and they will be in charge. Your book will be just in time for them. Happy Thanksgiving


    • GoodDayRome November 23, 2016 at 23:54 #

      Thank you, Chloe and Happy Thanksgiving!! I will announce my book here when I publish and please pass the word when I do! 🙂 Appraisals are apparently delayed so we may not be able to move in January as we had hoped. I guess I’ll have time to publish my book.


  2. krumkaker November 18, 2016 at 17:49 #

    Lovely house! And all that American electricity available! The easy hiking book sounds excellent, keep us posted.

    Liked by 1 person

    • GoodDayRome November 18, 2016 at 22:10 #

      Electricity — relatively cheap electricity — is a wonder! I will post about the book and a probably new blog and Facebook presence in the not-too-distant future. And I continue to follow your cooking adventures in Accra. After Thanksgiving we’ll try the sweet potato soup!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Will McAllister November 17, 2016 at 18:32 #

    Wow, that was fast! A house near the beach and a hybrid … very PNW 🙂

    Good luck completing your book. I’ll be interested in the process … maybe a entirely new blog theme?


    • GoodDayRome November 17, 2016 at 19:51 #

      We feel very “PNW” again already! We seem to have slipped back in almost seamlessly. Astounding, however, how hard it is to get in all the walking we did in Rome!

      I do think I will start a blog on easy hiking. Lots of material from our European travels, my book, and of course the Oregon Coast.


  4. ckleonard November 17, 2016 at 18:21 #

    A wonderful blog, Laurel! It is very good to be reminded of what we take for granted. Yes, we are fortunate to live in the US. Your new home is a dream! And the setting is so beautiful calm and peaceful.


  5. Debi November 17, 2016 at 18:16 #

    I love reading about your adventures. Welcome back to Oregon. Looking forward to seeing you sometime soon!


    • GoodDayRome November 17, 2016 at 19:44 #

      Thanks Debi! We’ll have to get back to the old ‘hood soon!


  6. Jane Dunning November 17, 2016 at 18:10 #

    Excited to read you’re writing a book! I published on Amazon, Kindle only and it was very easy. Good luck with all that. I am on 99,000 odd words of my new book and can’t wait to finish it and then do a jolly good edit.
    Good luck with everything that happens next! Your house looks very nice, the kitchen especially – a little different from your Roman kitchen which was rather quaint!
    Please give Janie a cuddle from us – we’re going to look after four cats near Avignon from next month, including over Christmas so we’re looking forward to that.
    Loving your posts and various shares, especially in the last few weeks! 😉
    All the best


    • GoodDayRome November 17, 2016 at 19:44 #

      A nice big American kitchen was tops on our list after the apartment on Ruggero Fauro! Maybe you can house sit for Janie in Oregon sometime. It’s lovely!

      All the best with your book. Do tell when it comes out!


  7. Marcia November 17, 2016 at 17:40 #

    We just love the looks of your new house AND especially your new kitchen! Being just a block from the beach will make for lovely walks. And that great salt air will be refreshing.

    Grand Central and Great Harvest were both Marc’s customers and he agrees with your statements!

    I do hope you continue your blog keeping us all updated about your new ‘beachy’ life and of course, how Janie (the beautiful kitty) is adjusting.

    Happy Thanksgiving to both you and Ric! (and could you send me a separate email with your new mailing address for our annual holiday card to you?)


    • GoodDayRome November 17, 2016 at 17:48 #

      Thank you Marcia! You must come and see us when we are furnished and fitted! Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately in light of tsunamis) we are a MILE from the beach, but we love a good walk. Email to follow, and Happy Thanksgiving to both of you! Janie sends her love.


  8. Bill Walls November 17, 2016 at 16:30 #

    Wow, you have accomplished so much – congratulations. Does this mean you don’t have many boxes to unpack. Welcome back!


    • GoodDayRome November 17, 2016 at 16:33 #

      Thank you Bill! We have 6 boxes in our son’s garage, and 1100 pounds in storage. The najor unpakcing will be of all the new stuff we need to acquire: dishes, flatware, linens, appliances…. The list goes on and on.


  9. gayleseely November 17, 2016 at 16:25 #

    Well, I was surprised you were able to find something so quickly. Bravo! I usually tell Dennis we should move to the coast about twice a year, but one of these days I will probably do it. But let’s try to meet up when we are down at Pacific City – I so seldom go to Lincoln City, that alone will be a treat. And walking on the beach is a wonderful thing. Something about it is primal, renewing on a kind of ancient level. Not to mention renewing on the bone and tissue level.

    I am eager to learn your plans to come into PDX periodically. Perhaps we should plan to go to some of the lecture series: World Affairs Council or Oregon Historical Society’ Packwood series. And there are other options, of course. Anyway, let’s talk about it.

    And my personal coffee recommendation is Nespresso. We started using our Nespresso machine about 2 years ago and now it is very hard to find retail coffee that is as good. I order my pods from Amazon. I love strong coffee.

    Have a great Thanksgiving!


    • GoodDayRome November 17, 2016 at 16:32 #

      Yes yes yes to meeting up at Pacific City or LC!! You can stay in our darling guest room (it WILL be darling) if you like! And we will be in Portland monthly, just need to find the metier. There is also a shuttle so I do not have to drive in if I just want a day or two with friends. Lecture series sounds like a great idea! Or plays!

      Nespresso is our home brew, but sometimes we just like to take a loonnngggg walk and stop for coffee. Like we did in Italy. THAT will be harder in Lincoln City, but the ocean makes up for it.


  10. Nigel November 17, 2016 at 16:19 #

    “We are thankful for all of you who have followed our story since GoodDayRome debuted 4 1/2 years ago. I am not sure where to go with blogging.”

    We’ve enjoyed the ride so far, all the way from the cats exploring the flat, keep driving the bus and we will continue to stay on for the ride. Fifth row back, on the left.


    • GoodDayRome November 17, 2016 at 16:22 #

      Thankful for you and Carol, Nigel! Hope all is well and feel free to move closer to the front of the bus!



  1. Gallucci’s Pizzeria, Lincoln City, January 4, 2017 | Our Weekly Pizza - January 9, 2017

    […] City for a couple of days making arrangements for some work on our new house prior to moving. (See Left Coast Life over at GoodDayRome.com.)  We figured this was a good time to start learning the pizza options in […]


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