In a quest to reconvene the Redlands Bulldog with something fun, each editor reflected on their summer and what it’s like to return home after being away for college.
When I came home for the summer everything was different. Both the city of Portland and my home life seemed to have transformed into a foreign land.
Portland itself has become overcrowded with new people, apartment buildings popping up every month, and Teslas and Audis congesting the streets that used to be filled with Subarus. Before this year you could get from one corner of Portland to the other in just under twenty minutes. Now I’m lucky enough to make it in under an hour. Because I am a food cart junky, I resent the new apartment complexes that evict my favorite food cart pavilions in order to build bougie complexes that only the well off can afford. If anything, the city should be building affordable housing to accommodate the growing homeless population in Portland, Oregon rather than displacing local business owners that only appeal to a specific demographic. Can you tell I am heated?
Even though Portland has changed more than I ever expected it to, the city has persisted to maintain its core essence that “Keeps Portland Weird.” Stoned hippies are still monopolizing the infamous Hawthorne street corners, playing their drums, creating something resembling music, and selling macrame jewelry. The food cart pavilions that still stand are booming with business even after the bars close. And although the streets are saturated with fancy cars, Portland drivers remain so polite that instead taking initiative at cross sections they play the “no you go first” game, until there is a car crash. It turns out that being overly friendly on the road gets your city named one of the “Top Eleven Worst Drivers in the Nation.”
Along with what felt like was an entirely new city, it was as if my life at home had gone through Extreme Home Makeover: Talullah’s Family Edition. I walked through the front doors of my childhood home into a whole new world. Luckily, my family remains to be a fusion of wildly inappropriate and eclectic people that they’ve always been. To some, the madhouse that is my family, may have made the idea of coming home induce an anxiety attack or two, but to me it provided comfort and sparked a touch of nostalgia.
I feel that I should preface this next part with the following information: my sister, her husband, their child, my mom, three dogs, a lizard, and I all live in the same three bedroom, one bath red house.
By the end of May, my sister and her husband concluded the “nesting” phase of pregnancy and entered the “get this baby out of me” phase. On June 6th , I welcomed my first nephew into the world, baby Leland. I may be bias but I have never seen a baby as beautiful and strong as Leland is. He could lift his own head from the moment he left the womb! Needless to say I spent a good portion of my summer falling in love with my nephew, despite him pooping, peeing, and puking all over me on various occasions. Leland was a welcomed addition to the sardine can that is my house.
The final change made to my life at home felt like the biggest. Over the course of the summer my mom was essentially gone for the better part of two months. She filled her summer days spending time on our local nude beach at Sauvies island, early evening happy hours with her friends and spent evenings with her new boyfriend. And for two weeks she went to Venezuela, amidst their political crisis, to visit my grandparents. A trip I would have been on if the country wasn’t in the peak of an uprising.
These somber weeks without my mom gave me a small taste of adulthood. As a part time adult, you work, maybe at a renowned establishment named Slappy Cakes, which I should clarify is a restaurant where you go to make your own pancakes, not a strip club. You work hard and get paid, but you never seem to have any money because it all goes towards food and gas, especially if you’re like me and go out to eat nearly every meal instead of going grocery shopping. This was poor planning and irresponsible on my part, although it did allow me to claim a new addiction to Pho, a beef broth noodle Vietnamese delicacy. The best hole in the wall Pho restaurant in Portland, and maybe even the whole country, is only a mere two blocks away from my casa. So of course I became well acquainted with the restaurant owners. I would walk through the doors and they would immediately point to me and say “Tai Gao Number 10 and Crispy Egg Rolls Number 34? Aha!” Just like that too. And it turns out that if you eat Pho from the same restaurant at least twice a week they give you the highly esteemed title of the “regular.” Sadly “regular” status was not worth draining my bank account and having less money than I did when I was fifteen years old.
Ultimately this summer was one chalked full of lessons, whether it was how to change a diaper, which I still can’t do on my own, or budgeting my extremely irresponsible spending habits, which I’m slowly learning how to do. My conclusion is that “adulting” is immensely challenging and expensive. I’m not sure if I’ll ever perfect this whole being adult thing or know how to gracefully accept change, but maybe I’ll become a little bit better at it overtime.
After spending my third summer at home and entering my junior year of college, which is so scary by the way, I realized Portland has become my childhood home. I’m ready to fly the coop and enter a new phase of life. I’ve already started searching for career building internships in the greater Los Angeles area for next summer. Planning this far ahead is pretty adult, right? This is the year I start to think about my life beyond school and after graduation. And according to my horoscope, Jupiter is soaring over my chart which means a possible professional victory and a realization of a lifelong dream. The stars are aligned in my favor, which is good because I’ll be needing all the help I can get.
stories and photos provided by Talullah Plummer Blanco, Opinion Editor