It’s 1:53 pm and Annika and I are camped out in Symposium Coffee. We never actually intended to come here — not to Symposium, not even to Tigard. But I suppose that’s what happens when a bus leaves you stranded.
I should back up, probably.
The day began far too early for a Saturday; we awoke at 7:45 and hastily ate bagels on the way to our bus stop. Neither of us had much experience with public transport, but it couldn’t be too challenging, right? It was going to be fun, and exciting, and we were going to make it to Portland with no problem.
In reality, it was crazy rainy and overly complicated — partially because we had to take four different buses to get close to Oaks Park — and still somehow so fun.
Our reason for coming to Portland is named Kayla. She was in town for the day with her rowing team, and I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see her. (Kayla Power: you are a sunshine of a human being; I heart you.)
And then, after watching her boat fade into the grey horizon of the Willamette river, we were back to trekking through city streets and waiting at drizzly bus stops. Our arrival in Tigard was coupled with the realization that the bus back to Newberg wouldn’t be coming until 3:30.
So now we’re sitting in Symposium Coffee, feet tired and hair still damp. My toes are frigid in their soggy socks, and I’m pretty sure my bag is half-soaked, but it’s worth it. It’s worth it because I got to see a dear friend, because I now know how to use the bus system, because at the end of the day, I got a hot coffee out of it.
And it’s worth it because it’s one of those crazy stories I won’t forget any time soon — the time Annika and I stood in the pouring rain eating smokehouse almonds, playing “I’m thinking of an animal” to pass the time until the bus arrived, the day we walked over what felt like all of Southeast Portland in search of the right park, the time I got to see a long-time friend doing something she loves.
Later, we’ll be back in our room, donning warm socks and chasing the chill from our bones. But for now, I’ll wrap my freezing fingers around a warm mug of coffee and smile out the window at the pouring rain.