My First Winter In Portland, OR

The Third Doctor Who (Jon Pertwee) said, “A straight line may be the shortest distance between two points, but it is by no means the most interesting.” My line has crossed many paths,  made some loops and curls, and even was broken, but here I am, still drawing it out until I find the end. I grew up in sunny south Florida, and I was lucky to spend most of my childhood on a county park that had a barn for rescued horses and ponies, a working educational farm, and about 600 acres of parkland to explore. My dad has told me many stories of the park’s history, including: the park’s equestrian roots, wild panthers that ghost the woods at night, and a friendly horse that would peep into our house windows, looking for snacks. We moved when I was still pretty young, but I have lasting memories of collecting wild peacock feathers, growing my own garden, and rolling down the big hill with the windmill on it. My dad has worked for several cities, managing the parks and recreational programs, and my mom has been a teacher for teen and adults. I have a sibling that is my total opposite, and I adore my sister-in-law and my nice and nephew. I might not always remember birthdays, but I make sure as an Aunt, I spoil them rotten. My path has led me to wear many hats in my career, such as: alligator wrangler, science wizard, sea turtle rescuer, master artist, kite lady, and librarian. My line crossed paths with a wonderful guy, and finding that my footprints started to walk beside him, I found a partner to share the trail with. He told me he spent a few years living in a magical land in the west, where the 90’s never died and people live in harmony with technology and nature. So here I am, finding my path has lead me here, living in Portland, OR.

Adam and myself, posing for engagement photo.

I moved recently in 2015, just after I got married to my husband, Adam. He had a really good career offer at educational tech company, and we moved to chase that opportunity. I was able to work there for three months as a seasonal Customer Success agent. My experience working with teachers was a perfect match for their Software-as-a-Service products. Here I was able to learn the ropes for customer success, get familiarized with JIRA, and offer support for Clever (a Single Sign-On product that was utilizing for their LMS). I really feel like I was able to sharpen my problem solving skills here, and even if I wasn’t able to find the answers right away, to keep in contact until I did.

Making the journey west was a big change, and also seeking out a new career from what was familiar. My Crohn’s disease flared up and created a medical emergency in my life.  Imagine every part of you was a Lego block,  a giant hand just pushed you over, and every little brick went scuttling in a thousand

The Grotto, 2017

different directions. That is how my life was for a few years, living with several invasive medical issues, becoming disabled, and moving to a brand-new home. I picked myself up bit by bit, and with the loving support of Adam, I was able to slowly put my Legos back together.  They might not be in the same order that I had them, and I needed to add new ones for me to continue on my new path in Portland, OR.

My path has taken me to continue my education and job support with Vocational Rehabilitation, and I spent the last year taking 16 graduate course hours for eLearning and Design and Adult Education. I earned a certificate of completion from PSU to add to my BA in Elementary Education from FAU. It was a wonderful experience to learn how adults absorb and accept information, and how project managers create and start proposals.  I am always seeking out new information and look forward to learning innovative skills.

My feet still move forward, following the path as it unfolds. Taking each opportunity to learn something new, and I hope to find a good place to continue writing my name onto the face of the world.