How I Came To Be Here
One morning about 20 years ago I realized that I really needed a new life and in order to do this I would have to quit my job and move away from New Jersey. My first choice was to move to Hawaii. I hadn’t even considered Oregon at that point.
I took a month off, booked my flight and rooms on three different islands. I wanted to see what living on an island would be like and which island would suit me best.
I started in Oahu where my parents spent their winters. One of my goals was to retire or at least not work for a few years, but the economy there would have me working within weeks. That is unless I lived in an unsavory neighborhood.
From there I spent a week on the Big Island, which ranged from the most beautiful to the bleakest place I have ever been. I loved it up around the Parker Ranch and around South Point, but Hilo was nothing special and Kona was a bunch of white cement around black rocks. Racism was rampant on the Big Island. The Hawaiians hated the Japanese, who hated the Chinese, who hated the Samoans who hated the Koreans, and put them all together, they all hated Caucasians.
From there I went to Maui which struck me as being very much like California. Other than the sameness and the made especially for mainlanders type of resorts I stayed at, the rest was just too foreign. I figured it would it be hard to fit in any local culture that didn’t have something to do with the tourist trade.
Though I had been there for a little over three weeks I was also starting to understand what “Rock Fever” was all about. Locals everywhere I went mentioned it. It is a feeling of a rat in a maze, being stuck on an island. The only way to shake it is to get away or go mad. People on the Big Island especially have this affliction. Some go to Oahu monthly just to see something different.
With my dreams broken, I realized that it wouldn’t be a good idea for me to move to Hawaii. I headed home but stopped in Vancouver Washington for a couple days to visit someone I was having a long distance relationship with. I was dejected realizing that I might have to stay in New Jersey.
I picked up a local real estate booklet while at a grocery store in Orchards. Those were things I never read, but for some reason I picked one up and threw it in the bag to read later. When settling down for the evening I paged through the booklet. I thought the whole thing was misprinted with the decimal in a position too far to the left. I wondered if they used a different currency here, but that wasn’t so. Houses I knew that were being sold in New Jersey for 400k were on the market here for 70k. I suddenly realized that if the prices were that low in the Portland Metro area, they would be even less here on the Coast. I drove to Astoria (actually Cannon Beach) the next day and picked up some real estate booklets to bring back to study on my flight home.
The day after I returned to New Jersey I put my house on the market.