In spite of the travel restrictions of the past year, I worked to show Madeline as many of the local PNW attractions as possible. If nothing else, it’s part of our duty as an au pair host family to provide a culture exchange experience. One crucial part of this cultural education is sharing the zeitgeist of our major American towns and cities. I described our slightly quirky twin city to the south Portland, sharing about the phenomenon and show Portlandia (and insisted she watch the chicken episode).
Back in January the kids and I seized the opportunity to travel to Portland for a long weekend with our best friends. Madeline joined us for giggles and after doing her homework submitted to me her itinerary of Portland sightseeing musts: Voodoo Donuts and the Cullen House.
One morning while the kids were all playing harmoniously, Madeline and I set out for downtown Portland amidst reports of infamous New Years rioting. (Because, obviously). We felt like dystopian voyagers, resolutely braving the unknown, willing to risk our lives (or join the cause) for donuts. On this dark gray rainy late morning in the dead of winter, the Downtown Core was essentially deserted save our (and others’) destination: Voodoo Donuts.
We joined the snaking crowd of peaceful donut hopefuls, kept in physically distanced line by the Voodoo Donut bouncer. Once admitted, we shook the rain off and allowed ourselves to be enveloped in the warmth, noise and hot sugar perfume. We were overwhelmed and momentarily paralyzed by our good fortune. The choices were so outlandish and decadent, how were we ever to decide? Feeling pressure to move expeditiously through the shop, we capitulated and threw 20 bucks at the Voodoo Dozen.
The riches of Voodoo goodness did not disappoint.
Next stop was 3333 Quimby—The Cullen House. The Cullen House is home to fictional vampire family in “Forks, Washington” from the famous film trilogy Twilight. We found the culdesac address at the top of a tiny sliver of Queen Anne style neighborhood, parked, and got out to take in the experience. We lurked shyly at the bottom of the long gravel driveway while the apparent homeowner snapped dirt off his running shoes with a proprietary air. We halfheartedly waved and quickly turned to go after not receiving a warm welcome. Our brief glimpse of the Cullen House remains a highlight. It is truly breathtaking the way the Frank Lloyd Wright style home is situated on a ravine and invites your fantasy into the world of the vampire family created by author Stephenie Meyer.
The best part of the Portland getaway is, of course the Lakacisms:
Lake: Lady Kitty is staring at me like she’s hungry for milkies. Lady Kitty, your milkies is driving!!
Mama: you have a hot chocolate mustache. It’s making you look old. [Sad face]
Lake retorts helpfully: Look at my legs. Not long.
Lake regarding Madeline: It’s always nice to have an au pair to help you. They do so much work that you don’t even notice. And sometimes they can even read your mind.
The least we can do in return is to brave riots to get her a Voodoo Donut… or a dozen.