Exploration

Accounting for Modalities

Accounting for Modalities

Given that many people in the United States are thinking about accounting today, I thought I'd share some of the raw numbers from my recent trip to China and the Philippines, but rather than detail how much money I spent (speaking of which, you are welcome to complicate my 2015 taxes by donating here), I thought I'd share the following summary of the many journeys within a journey I took while traveling through China, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Macau, the Philippines, Canada and the United States:

Feet shredded while walking miles through eleven cities, many small villages, one former military stronghold and atop, along and around ruined portions of a gigantic wall: 2

Subway systems used more frequently than can be tallied: 6

Personal cars ridden with a buddhist who would later host an elaborate tea ceremony, an atheist tour guide raised in a cave, and two precocious children: 1

Bridges crossed at which the largest conflict in the history of the world began: 1

Last minute rickshaw rides organized by a guide squeezing in one more sightseeing visit before a thirty-hour train ride: 1

A thirty-hour train ride between China's current capital and the city that served as its capital during World War II: 1 

Ducking the Elephant in the Room

The day takes shape slowly. Getting out the door just happens. Once you do the bus is ten minutes late. Then, so is the MAX, but you don't mind. You've been quietly extricating yourself from time. You wait in the chill beneath an interstate, listening to teenagers gossip. Staring at the spikes lining the steel beams beneath the roadway you think perhaps a bit too long about pigeon deterrence.

Take offs

 am convinced in this moment that the city is limitless, recreating itself as it crawls across the landscape. Too many discount it as a disjointed whole lacking some maturity shared by the world's great destinations. But it is only here, it is only this sea of stories crashing upon each other, glittering from the ripples in the water. As the waves draw near I know I am here, only here, perhaps realizing only further that home means far less than a mindset. It is just another constructed identity.

Landings

Portland proper, if not its suburbs, swirls with the pot luck attitude of a true community, although strong, valid critiques exist of redevelopment within the city as well. Far more than any place I’ve been in the United States except perhaps, as a matter of fact, the original Portland, this is a self-determined city, including the blemishes of its modernity.

As I land and swirl through so many past worlds of mine, I remember I can move about the city without thought. However, I’m still constantly discovering more beneath Portland's surface. The only time I ever had a similar sensation was at my five-year college reunion last year, and that feeling was aided by the presence of so many others who had experienced that period of my life with me. But where the grounding I find among my undergraduate peers is most firmly rooted in a mindset, there seem to be physical roots here in Portland.