OREGON – The Places: Part 1

Life is too good for words sometimes, and the most transformative experiences must have time to steep in memory. That’s a corny excuse for not writing about this trip sooner. But it’s been a month ago already, and so I think the time has come to break the silence and tell you everything.

Today I’ll tell you about the places we went and the sights we saw.

Lan So Chinese Garden: Right in the middle of the city there is this little Oriental oasis. We thoroughly enjoyed our experience there, walking through the arches, the bonsai garden, over the bridges, around the pond, and into the art and calligraphy room.

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The International Rose Test Garden: Above the city, neighboring a wealthy neighborhood full of super-interesting houses, rises a garden built into a hill, offering refreshment for the eyes as well as respite from the city skyscrapers. Evergreens tower here; roses romp, climb, and bloom; lovers stroll hand in hand; and tourists take lots and lots of pictures.

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St. Sharbel Maronite Catholic Church: Oh this dearly beloved church holds a special corner of our hearts! Its steps provided a calm and safe place to enjoy a picnic supper, and its sanctuary and faithful disciples welcomed us back Sunday morning to their worship service. Let me tell you how we found this place. On the west side of the Williamette River, there is a unique street design. We noticed it on our paper map, and immediately decided to investigate the circle in the center.

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And so, Thursday afternoon, we bought a light supper, and headed across the river, following the map to find this whim. Upon finding the circle, we discovered it really was smaller than we imagined it to be. It was full of lovely roses and had several benches around the middle, but the church on one corner of the circle (haha) caught our attention, and to its steps we gravitated. And that’s how we got acquainted with St. Sharbel.

Oblation Papers and Press: We were innocently walking around in the streets of Portland on our first full day there, admiring the shopfronts, when we discovered this hidden gem of a place. We walked in on a whim…and immediately realized we had found something really significant. There were letterpress cards, stationary, fountain pens, wax and seals, Moleskin and Rifle Paper Co journals, ribbons, and envelopes. We felt as though we had stumbled upon a slice of heaven. Fifty-four minutes later we emerged, wonderstruck and clutching bags of paper goodies. We enjoyed this place so much that we went back on Saturday for items we regretted not buying on Thursday.

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