Thursday, January 18, 2007

Where In the World Is Central Oregon?

When we went to Ireland last spring, we met all kinds of people: Irish people obviously, people from Northern Ireland, and Germans there for a fishing competition. The first questions were almost always to establish where one another was from. Instead of saying "Portland" we said "Oregon", figuring that saying the name of the state instead of one city might orient people to the west coast because it's a big state, and then we could avoid the whole Portland-Oregon-not-Portland-Maine thing. Turns out people in Europe don't give a fiddler's fart about Portland at all because they don't know where it is. They also didn't really know where Oregon was, which was a first for us because it's a big state and easier to place than say, Rhode Island. (Unless you're from Rhode Island, of course. Or live near it. But I digress.)

Why should the Irish know where Oregon is, anyway? I don't blame them. It takes hours to fly to the States from Ireland, and to get to the west coast is another 6 or 7. I can see why most visit New York and Boston on their vacations. Who wants to eat up another two days of vacation just getting there? Well, besides my husband and I?

Anyway, I'm not harping on the geographical knowledge of the Irish. They're smart, hospitable people. What I'm getting at is that Oregon is a big place. Most people when they think of Oregon tend to think first of Portland, the Willamette Valley, Salem, and Eugene. But there is this whole other part of the state, and that is where I live now.

I knew that moving to Central Oregon would be a big change. Not only is it 126 miles (or 3.5 hours) away from where we lived previously, but it is over the Cascade mountains. We used to live in the Willamette Valley. In wine country, to be exact. Now we live in the high desert. A whole 'nother ecosystem.

I have never spent much time in the high desert. The occasional camping trip or visit to Sunriver, but that was about it. I would say I have been here probably a dozen times or so in my entire life. Now I live here. I still cannot believe it.

It is cold here. Very, very cold. And dry. The shock of it has worn off somewhat, but I still tend to watch the weather report in disbelief. It's going to be a high of 22 degrees? Really? Can it do that??? It can, it can; oh yes, it can! And low temperatures? Forget about it. Single digits! This week, the mornings have started at six degrees. SIX DEGREES. I don't know what to think of that.

The bad thing is, I haven't found my hats and gloves yet. I have warm jackets, but you really need to have all your exposed skin covered. And you need lotion: face lotion, hand lotion, and body lotion.

I'm ready for someone to visit. Bring your cold weather wear - all of it - and your lotion. Oh, forget it, I'll give you some of my lotion. Just come see me!


creative-type dad said...

Actually, I didn't know where Oregon was either.Just kidding!

That is a little weird that they didn't really know, but having friends over there - all they know of the states is big cities or anything portrayed on TV/Movies.

Next time, tell them you're from Las Vegas and you solve crimes.

Wendy said...

I was an exchange student to Belgium when I was in high school. When people heard I was from Montana, they thought that I rode horses to school and had never seen a telephone, because their knowledge of Montana came from old Western movies.

Occidental Girl said...

That's funny, I guess we had stereotypes about the Irish, too.

I like the Las Vegas idea. Everyone knows where that is, even if they don't know where Nevada is. But then they might assume I'm a stripper and that would be...oh yeah. No they won't.