Sunday, July 13, 2008

First Impressions of Portland

First days in Portland, Maine July 11, 2008

It rained last evening! And a good amount at that. It’s so nice to actually have some weather changes. It’s been mid 80’s and pretty humid… feels like 90. Michael reminds me this only lasts a couple weeks each year. Just a few days later the temps are in the 70’s with no humidity, exactly what I signed up for!

Everything is different here including the tree, bird and plant species. It will take some time to familiarize myself with the hardwoods and cold-tolerant garden plants. There are some ubiquitous blue birds that act and sound suspiciously like blue jays, but look significantly different. I saw a bright orange bird today, but didn’t get a close enough look to try to identify it. Michael’s bird book indicates it might be a Tanager. Of course there are seagulls and an array of shore birds. It’s a mild culture-shock for me here.

People are a little different too. Most are very friendly and speak to one another more often than in the SJ Valley, or anywhere in California. They engage each other wherever and whenever circumstances bring them together as casual conversation. There seems to be a New England comradery among people. Even though I am “from away”, I am spoken to in waiting lines and at checkout stands. I haven’t identified the accent yet, but it’s different. I detect some Minnesota/Swedish thing (reminds me of the movie “Fargo”) and another Bostonian drawl where the “a’s” replace the “r’s”.

I’ve been turned down from 3 applications already and I thought I was well qualified for each of those jobs. Perhaps I applied after the interview process was completed. Anyway, there are several more apps to wait on. I went to Maine Medical Center and Mercy Hospital today to see if there was anything more I could do to increase my chances and all they could say was “it’s a waiting game”; thanks a lot. The cafeteria at MMC was having a run on macaroni & cheese for lunch although they had several stations for deli, hot sandwiches, prepared hot food, salads, & specials of the day. Quite an array of choice, but it is, of course, twice as large as Kaweah Delta. We have a Whole foods store and people seem to be into health conscious foods for the most part. We have several bakeries making specialty breads and lots of young people who are into new age eating habits. The farmers market in mid July has a lot of vegetables, but no fruit and gobs of plants, both ornamental and herbatious. Offerings included unpasturized goats milk & cheese, farmstead home made sausage, and blueberry honey. Michael bought a big bunch of sunflowers to dress up the condo. There are several colleges in town, so it seems like a young town.

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