When we returned from our European adventure, we were excited to call a place home again. Michael and I had been vacationing in Bend a couple of times a year since we were married (nearly six years ago!). So when we imagined a place to settle down, start a private practice, and eventually buy a house and have kids, it seemed like the perfect option. I love how it is nestled so close to the mountains. It’s truly living in the cascades. Growing up in Washington I couldn’t help but to long for sunshine. Bend receives an estimated 300 sunshiny days a year! On top of that, I was feeling pushed out of Washington by the ever-expanding I-5 corridor and watching everything get paved and the trees cleared. I-5 was so large that getting to the mountains and into the woods was beginning to be an enormous feat requiring two hours of driving or more. Gig Harbor was no longer the small, wild, fishing town I loved. I remember the old days crossing the one 4 lane bridge we had into Gig Harbor and the walls of pine trees that seemed to consume the road. It was a mile in before there was an exit for the town. It felt magical as I grew up.
Bend, while it has experienced enormous growth, still feels wild like that. As you cross into the desert, it gives a unique sense of place. We had heard all the reasons not to move here. We chatted with locals and spent time looking at housing options and work options. We felt prepared.
So when we got back from Europe we came down to Bend as soon as we could to look at houses to rent. We knew that the housing market was very competitive and that we needed to be in town to secure a place. I had set up two appointments to look at a couple different houses. However, on our drive down, both were canceled and rented to other people in less than 24 hours. We started to feel worried. As we rolled into town we drove around the street of one of the houses and checked out the neighborhood. Two blocks down from the house rented before we could get here, was an open house with a for rent sign in the yard. We walked in and were greeted by Paula. She was kind and it felt like a great match immediately. We filled out the paperwork and had our house! It came together so quickly and easily.
We moved down about ten days later. Those first few weeks in Bend were so magical. It was sunny for a week then snowed 8 inches the next, it was all we had hoped for. This was also our 5th annual Bend Thanksgiving. It was so awesome to cook it at our own place here.
Our vegan Thanksgiving feast:
The first good snow:
Some early ski season:
As you can see, Abbey has really been enjoying the snow! My favorite part about the holidays here was walking in the snow to Christmas Eve service. Snow and skiing were wonderful Christmas gifts.