August 1st marks the one year anniversary of living in Portland, ME. I considered taking a photo a day for 365 days or jotting a random thought down each day to jumble into a mason jar via Pinterest, but the truth is, I’m just not motivated enough. I can’t even get myself to blog once a week or brush my hair in the morning. So I figured capturing what’s happened so far in a blog post would be a good way to toast to a life of thicker skin and (potentially) thicker accents. I should start by commenting the obvious quirks of Maine, followed by the adaptation process and lastly, a glimpse into the coming years. In addition, it should be noted that my description of Maine will be skewed in that it comes from the perspective of a (mostly optimistic) Missourian gal that just moved to Portland, the largest & coolest city in Maine. This is important to note because from what I’ve gathered about other regions of Maine, it sounds more like living in Missouri (which is not a bad thing by any means).
Maine is not only a different state, it looks a different place. It is filled with trees, mountains, moving lakes and rivers, residents with the letter “r” confusion, Bean boots, fat squirrels, long winters and extremely brief, beautiful summers. Living on a cute peninsula dangling out in the Atlantic is simple. During the summer, the state of Maine will not allow you to be indoors. You will be arrested or at least ridiculed by your mates. The mountain trails glisten and call you by your nickname as if they’ve known you personally for years. The ocean air lingers in your living room taunting you like a well-versed Zumba instructor (read the news). The perfectly warm temperature cuddles you with Snuggie like arms and invites you to take a dip in one of the many natural lakes. During the winter, however, is a different story. The crispy winter is pretty but misleading in a way that infomercials do to its viewers. The Chipper Chopper looks great at first sight, but by the 6th installment of easy pay, the Chipper Chopper has become 2 parts dog toy and 1 part prison shank. What I mean is, May should be warm like Spring and it’s not. Fall is gorgeous and so on.
Its people are tough, almost intimidating tough. For the most part, its occupants are not too chatty with strangers. If you cut them off while driving, be prepared to receive an ear-load of something-something so-and-so about your family and the places where they plan to stick their foot. A couple of rules you should learn to embrace regarding pronunciation: 1. words containing an “r”, throw them out 2. words ending in vowels, throw on an “r” 3. tennis shoes are literally shoes for playing tennis, the sport 4. if you’re not from Maine, you are considered “from away” 5. Dunkin Donuts are always used as a reference point when given directional advice which provides no real tool, because there is literally one on every corner 6. Vanilla Ice will literally be pronounced Vannilerrr Ice. That being said, stereotyping people is not generally encouraged, and so I will keep it brief with a quick take-away via Wikipedia: the Portland city motto is Resurgam, Latin for “I will rise again”, which refers to its recoveries from four devastating fires. Pretty neat, right?