It’s day two on the job as a healthcare reporter at a street newspaper in downtown Portland. So far, I like it. There’s a lot more I could say about it, but everything is so new that to offer more than a few of my initial impressions would feel hasty. So I’ll just say this: all of my jitters about screwing up are gone. I have dipped my toes into the underworld of reporting, and so far, the water feels fine.
Last night I was feeling introspective and realized how apt it is to call this program the “Portland Experience.” The whole thing is much more than an internship. In reality, the internship itself is just one part of our journey for the next three months. Everything we confront outside of the job – our homes, new routes and ways of getting from one place to another, the people we encounter – all of these things are equal in their importance.
I’ll wrap up this post with an excerpt from last night’s journal entry. In addition to surviving my first day on the job, I enjoyed a drink with my roommate for the first time since moving here. The connection put me in a slightly poetic mood. I rarely share such personal passages, but vulnerability is at the core of this Portland experience, so I’ll go with it.
I am uprooted, a stranger in a compact city. My dearest surroundings are far away. While I miss what is loved and familiar, I am am also confronted by newness. It strikes me that I must embrace it, and discover the essential truths here, the truths that are to be found in all things. Chaotic traffic swallows any chance of silence. Several blocks up the street a wooded path wraps around an artificial meadow. A hilltop overlook reveals a sea of highways, bridges and sparkling city lights. From across this expanse, dank clouds settle into a cavernous mountain valley the color of mold. I am not home. I am here. Truth lives here and I intend to find it.
– Jasmine Rockow