Back from Good Old Maine

I’ve just returned from my once yearly summer trip to Maine. I have family there so it’s no-brainer to go there in the summertime. Next year I swear I’ll go a week or two later though because for the last two summers I’ve been there too early for blueberry picking. Blueberries rule, so next year I’ll plan better.

Maine is a gorgeous state. The land is beautiful and many of the buildings there have lovely architecture. And the culture there, at least among my family and friends there, is very oriented around art and creativity. I think we discussed art or dance or film or music at least once every single day. And more than half the people I know in Maine are artists. It’s refreshing for the soul to hang out with people who can hold up their end of a conversation about the merits of color field painting. I really miss living near a vibrant art scene.

But Maine, at least where my family lives in the mid-coast, is also really WHITE. White as in the color of people’s skin. And that feels really, really weird to me. And it feels wrong. It makes me uncomfortable to go day after day without seeing anyone who is anything but white.

The exception to Maine being white is the city of Portland. Whenever I’m in Portland, Maine for even 2 minutes I’m struck by how diverse the people are there. The city has a large immigrant population and it seems you can’t walk 5 feet there without hearing some language other than English come out of someone’s mouth. It’s refreshing. And a quick glance at the local papers shows that there are vibrant art and music scenes there too. I’m not sure I could do the Portland winter, but every time I visit Portland I ponder whether or not I could live there.

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9 Responses to “Back from Good Old Maine”

  1. Coby
    July 10th, 2009 10:57

    RG, Maine is beautiful…but the winters? I’m not sure how anyone survives there!! My theory: live someplace with great weather year round and vacation to places that have crappy weather when the weather is good 🙂

  2. mindy
    July 11th, 2009 09:49

    Welcome home. I am glad to hear that you had a great trip. I had a similar reaction when I moved out of San Francisco to Beaverton Oregon. Oregon. It was still somewhat diverse but not like I was to in SF. In SF there are people from literally every place in the world in a very small land space. It was amazing.

    I do love living here in Tulum as well due to the variety of people that live here.

    I am glad you had a good time.

    And yes Blueberries RULE

  3. RiverGirl
    July 11th, 2009 10:42

    Coby – Maine really has a cold wet winter…and it’s way too long. I know my family members all get right sick of it each year.

    Mindy – Yes, Beaveron is nice, but I’m sure it is much whiter than SF. Well probably everywhere but NYC is whiter than SF. HAHA.

    I have some frozen blueberries from Costco…am going to make a smoothie with them now.

  4. kathy
    July 18th, 2009 04:22

    I wonder why so many of us make that annual pilgrimage? Ours started as an FMT issue but we’ve continued and look forward to the annual trip back each year. This year 1/2 of us will drive and 1/2 will fly – just can’t take the gypsy out of our blood.

    Glad to see you’re back and, yes, I seem to remember the same reaction one year on our return. I’m guessing it was in Texas as flying into SFO is enough of a weather shock in and of itself.

  5. Kathe K.
    July 23rd, 2009 19:36

    As I read this I am in Portland, Maine. I normally live in QRoo near Chetumal. This year I am spending the entire summer here and I am really enjoying it….except for the traffic…and you are right, there is a lot of diversity here in Portland and I have talked to a couple of African refugees from Sudan and Somalia to find out how they got here and what they think….very interesting. And LOTS of blueberries and lobster have gone down the hatch!!!!

    I am out of here before the snow flies and headed south toward home. Thanks for your blog.

  6. Scott Bulger
    August 3rd, 2009 18:18

    I’m right around the corner from Maine, and have often exhibited in many of the spaces in Portland. With it’s proximity to the water, Portland’s winters are surprisingly mild for the area.

  7. RiverGirl
    August 3rd, 2009 18:29

    Kathy – I really need my pilgrimage each year, in fact I need more than one each year or I feel out of sorts.

    Kathe – When I was in Portland I had to take a cab into the city and then later to the airport. My cabbie both directions was a Somalian refugee with a very interesting life story. I had a great conversation with him.

    Scott – I’m glad to hear that. I’m really tempted to move to the Portland area. I just know I’d like lots and lots of things about living there.

  8. Ethan
    November 12th, 2009 15:27

    I just stumbled on your blog while looking for information about moving to the Yucatan. I don’t know that I want to move there forever, but I’d like to come down for an extended period of time and experience a different culture. In any case, I lived in Portland Maine for quite a few years. It’s a fantastic place. Actually, when I first moved there in the early 90’s to go to college, the immigrant population was not there and Portland was as “white” as anywhere else in Maine. It has indeed become quite diverse since then though. For a small city, the art, food, and cultural diversity are hard to beat. The independent and open minded attitude of Mainers in general is very cool as well. I’m sorry to hear that you feel Cancun is somewhat culturally devoid due to the high tourism rate. I was thinking of Merida as a nice place to go. Have you spent much time there? It looks like a beautiful place full of art and culture. The thing I’m having an issue with is trying to find some sort of work that would help cover my living expenses while there. If anyone know of any animal related jobs (veterinary, zoo, pet store, etc) or anything else really, feel free to contact me at riversidereptiles@yahoo.com

  9. Ethan
    November 12th, 2009 15:28

    PS if it weren’t for the long cold winters, I’d still live in Portland. I still have many friends there and visit often. I currently live on the coast of Virginia not too far south of Washington DC.

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