12 Sep

We really shouldn’t have made Walmart the first place I saw in Newport, but we needed toothpaste. One mini tube for 6 days between two people is just not enough and toothpaste should not be something you try to “conserve” anyhow. I typically do not find myself to be a judgemental person, but when thinking about who I could see myself being friends with in this new place I was guilty. Guilty, guilty, guilty. I whispered, “Ryan, am I going to have friends here? Are there any normal people here?” I was getting worried because it seemed that with every person we passed my chances of finding a friend were getting smaller and smaller. I could have hopped on the plane back to Lynchburg right then, painted the soles of my shoes with Gorilla Glue, and dared anyone to try and move me. But, then I realized how completely psycho I was being, so I tried to keep things in perspective by telling myself things like, “The people in every Walmart are always a little interesting.” Right?!?!?

Three days later I am slowly coming to realize that just because change is hard does not mean that it shouldn’t be welcomed. Everything we see and experience on this trip is helping to put things into a new focus. It is not often that one gets to move to a new place that embraces an altogether different attitude and way of life. You will not find the majority of people in Newport living in big, fancy houses. Homes here are functional, a place to eat and sleep. You cannot exclude yourself from people that are different from you in terms of socioeconomic factors by holing yourself up in a brand new subdivision. You must coexist with all of your neighbors, and a quick drive through the small town will show you exactly what I mean. Well manicured homes are down the street from homes with peeling paint and children’s toys everywhere. But all of that is somehow not so important here.

What I saw as glaring inconsistencies with what I considered to be a respectable way of life have turned into challenges for refocusing my own priorities. Can we make a 1000 square foot house work if it means we get to be a couple blocks from the ocean? It was overwhelming.

I had to run 7 miles this morning. I decided that a beach run would clear my head and help me to think things through without worrying about the street names. Slowly my head cleared as I listened to the waves crashing and my feet crunching through the sand. Then it hit me, I was exhausted. Not just physically as I looked ahead to the end of the beach and realized that I had to go all the way back the other way, but emotionally, too. It had been hard to hold it all together. To keep a brave face. As I looked down I saw that beside me were a pair of footprints. I ran with those footprints for the next mile or so. Footprints that had been left by an earlier runner doing exactly what I had set out to do. But, I couldn’t help but have my mind repeat the “Footprints” poem that for so long hung in my parents bathroom. “The times when you have seen only one set of footprints is when I carried you.” I could go on and on about the flaws of Newport, but suddenly it didn’t matter so much. I want to approach this as the adventure of a lifetime that it will be. Sometimes it will be hard, but it will be in those moments that we will carry each other through it.

Newport is a small beachtown. An active fishing community that brings in Dungeness crab, albacore tuna, and salmon (to name a few). A place where people from all over come for a vacation. Barking sea lions below the piers echo along the bay. Restaurants serve local seafood and produce – much of it organic and sustainable in two small, but thriving downtown locations. A place that prides itself on it’s performing arts center. Somewhere that jeans and a fleece are just fine for a fancy dinner.  Somewhere  you can see cliffs sweeping majestically on the backside of miles of beautiful, clean beaches.

Will I make the friends of a lifetime? It remains to be seen, but I think Newport is a place where our whole family will become a lot closer and more centered on the beauty that sometimes rises out of madness.


4 Responses to “Steps”

  1. Jen September 12, 2010 at 10:23 pm #

    I have lived in several states from the east coast to the west. I have visited states everywhere inbetween including, now, Alaska. I have met people in every one of these places that I could be friends with, people who challenged me, intrigued me, understood me and some who surprised me. What is best about all of this adventure? That each of these places made ME a better friend, person, spouse, and mom. I took a little something from each place and person and tucked the memories away inside of myself. The longer the journey, the better the person I will become for it.

    You are entirely right. Your family will be more centered and close and you will share some of yourself with every person you meet and they, too, will be better people for knowing you! You have the right idea in taking the leap. What is familiar is easy, but who grows from only doing what it easy? The satisfaction and pride comes when you step outside your comfort zone and try something new. What better time than now with a new dog, new baby and new town?

    And you are also right in your assessment of Walmarts…the people are VERY interesting no matter where you are!

  2. Nicole September 13, 2010 at 6:39 am #

    I had tears in my eyes Sarah – anyone with as lovely a personality as you will find friends in no time. Enjoy this new chapter in your lives and know that all of us back in the Burg will miss you but also want you to be happy =)

  3. Heather Knapp September 13, 2010 at 9:10 am #

    Sarah, you are living my dream. To have an adventure, to live in a place where fancy houses just don’t matter, where you can buy locally produced food right around the corner, to live where you can hear the ocean on your front porch ( and yes you CAN live in 1000 sq feet) and to have just your immediate family to rely on. You and Ryan are so brave and I am so proud of both of you. I have had the pleasure of seeing Ryan grow into an amazing man who I know will support you through all of the rough days and how lucky are you to have just that? My mom has always said that God never gives you more then you can handle but I like to think that God helps us handle what we are given. Love you!

  4. Sue September 13, 2010 at 8:10 pm #

    Sarah, I am so proud of your great attitude. After living in 4 different states, I know exactly what you are going through. When we moved from Illinois to Texas, at first it felt like we moved a continent away. But I soon found out that I treasured my family and friends and kept in contact with them. They were never further than a phone call away. I grew as a person, and we grew as a family. Having to count on each other for everything at first drew us closer. I know you will do fine in Oregon. You make friends so easy and you are such a good friend in return. Our loss is their gain!

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