Dear Portland-I know you are only a city. I know that you are only the sum of the living, breathing bodies that inhabit you – the things they build, the places they live, the doings they do. I know that, though we often speak of you as though you are one of us, you have no real pulse, no heartbeat, no soul, no energy of your own. I know you don’t really have a “heart.” But you have mine.

My dear friend Annie and I were talking yesterday about how today is her 5 year anniversary with you, which started me thinking that it’s also our 2 year celebration, you and me. I remember how vast you seemed when I first met you, how I stubbornly tried to learn a city built on a grid in tiny rings of concentric circles, how you patiently let me get lost and found a thousand times, how your people smiled me right on through. I noticed today, driving familiar streets, that you have become a collection of small places for me – a memory in every neighborhood, an adventure in every restaurant, an echo on every corner. You have both shrunken and grown, lovely city, and I am poised and ready to continue to explore you and the hundreds of other somewheres hiding within your walls and under your trees that I will slowly, methodically, patiently claim as my own.Dear Portland, thank you for becoming home to me. Thank you for letting me be myself, for wrapping me up, for taking me in. Happy Anni(Annie!)versary.