When I moved to Oregon in May, after spending 23 years on the East Coast, I had no idea what to expect. I never even fathomed the possibility of loving it so much that I would never want to return home. I am unabashedly in love with Oregon and the West Coast. So this post is going to cover all of the things that I accomplished and learned about myself out here that were not work related. 1) I’m almost a cowgirl: I’ve always had a moderate obsession with equestrian things, but where I grew up in New York riding is an expensive and sort of fancy activity. So the prospect of hanging out with horses never really materialized until I got here to Eastern Oregon, where horses probably rival the number of people, and riding is much more casual (and affordable). So I’ve fallen in love with horses all over again in a new and much more fitting context for me. 2) On a whim, I decided to run a 10k (all uphill!) up Steens Mt., one of the highest peaks in Eastern Oregon. I got lost and got a speeding ticket along the way, but it was well worth it to feel on top of the world, looking down on hundreds of miles of deserts and lakes… and it is now one of my favorite places on Earth now because of the perspective it gave me. 3) Working four 10 hr. days and thus having 3 day weekends really opened our lives up to other places in Oregon, Washington and California. And becoming so accustomed to driving long distances on the beautiful roads out here (where highways are only two lanes and wind along through beautiful and remote places! Unheard of in the East), we got to Seattle, Portland, the Willamette Valley with berries coming out of its ears, Crater Lake National Park multiple times (Because 3 hours away is now equivalent to what 30 minutes used to feel like for me), the California Redwoods, and the Pacific ocean. So peaceful, even the cities are calmer, more relaxed, and much greener. 4) Quiet: After living in New York City where silence doesn’t exist, I am still amazed every night when I step outside my house and can so easily enjoy the stillness of real quiet, and it makes me happy. Conclusion: I never want to leave the Northwest.