WHAT ABOUT ALL THE FRIENDS & FAMILY LEFT BEHIND IN PORTLAND?

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HIKING AROUND SLOVENIA (yes hiking)

I promised a Slovenian Bike Tour post, but no.  I want to finish my Portland move to Slovenia.This is the most difficult post to write: What about all the friends and Family left behind in Portland.  I’ve lived in Portland 35 years and had a few friends, not as many for as long as I’ve lived there.  I was married and divorced in Portland, volunteered at several different organizations,  had a political campaign, organized many bike rides and tours,  but that didn’t seem like enough for Portlander’s to invite me to their party.  When I was drinking, I was invited to some gatherings.  But once I quit drinking I found those invitations fell off too. I’m not sure that’s relative but whatever.
I recently unfriended quite a few people on Facebook. Why?  I was disenchanted with what qualifies as a friend on Facebook.  I don’t hate people, I have a super life and love to share it and laugh a lot too.
So why is it so difficult for me to maintain friendships over time?  If I knew that maybe someone would have accepted our invitation to help celebrate our wedding here in Slovenia.  But I sent maybe 20 invitations, yet not one person came.  I rarely got an acknowledgement that they even received the invitation.
I listened to one friend tell me he had to work on his house. He’s been working on his house for almost 40 years and if he died, it would be torn down because it’s still mostly unfinished.  They couldn’t find 2 weeks to visit., I guess people are too busy, I don’t miss that part of America.
Then there’s the person who I was the best man at his wedding.  He was invited to join me on the Mediterranean bike tour, said he was coming several times, but when the plane left, he wasn’t on it..  I extended several invitations for him to visit me in SE Asia and Slovenia.  He said he always wanted to come to Thailand, I told him, get on a plane and we’ll travel together, he made plans to visit Mexico, instead. WTF  After 5 years of reaching out to him and being turned down, I got the message. I guess “No means No.” I finally told him I couldn’t  reach out  to him anymore.   I’ll go to my grave never understanding his reluctance to make some memories together. “Make it a great day.” as his phone message use to say.  Apparently he doesn’t listen to it.
I had one person I unfriended on Facebook, write me and ask if were still friends?  When I was in Portland I had 3 or 4 events, I sent him invitations to all of them.  He was a no show to all of them.  He was doing some work for me, while I was in Slovenia,  but I wasn’t getting an progress reports.  I called him several times, from Slovenia, at a time he specified, but he was unable answer the phone.  I finally had him stop work and I went in another direction.  He had done some work, but never sent me a bill or anything.  So I sent him $200 and told him if it’s not enough tell me how much more I still owe or if it’s too much, buy your new son something.  He never acknowledged the money, with a thanks or “I bought my son a whatever.” I’ve sent him multiple cards, a wedding card and Xmas card.  He asked for my address several times, but I’ve yet to see one card? Are we friends? You tell me. I’m tired.

It’s not all disappointing, I had super friends help me at the Estate Sale, Jim, Kim, Jill, Mike, Mary, Steve, and my new friend Handsel.  I want to get along with everyone and forever. I’m happy and love to laugh.  I actually like being around me, I’m not depressed or using drugs or alcohol to “be happy.”

I’ve written one of these friends 4 times and have never heard back.  He told me he was going to Italy, which is next to Slovenia.  I guess he couldn’t find the time to visit us, I don’t know?   Another said they were buying a plane ticket and were coming to visit, yet never heard another word from them.  Another said they were coming to visit too- they went to Spain instead, have fun.  Another said they’re visiting in September, then I looked closer, 2016.  I was organizing a super (budget) event to tour Slovenia,  They all want to visit at different times (or not at all?).  I had a couple come visit, I drove them around, all day, they never offered to pay the gas, when we stopped for coffee, they didn’t even offer to pay for my $1 coffee..  I took them on hikes, admission was $3, yep.  We visited Lake Bled, they wouldn’t pay the $5 to park, so they asked if I would sit in the car why they went down to the beach, for only a few minutes.  I’ve been to all the places  people want to see, multiple times.  I have some old friends coming to visit in 2 weeks from California.  He was married to my high school sweet heart, who passed away from cancer 10 years ago. I think they’ll cover my coffee.  When I travel and am staying at someone’s place.  I take them to lunch, buy them coffee’s, if their lucky I wash their windows too.  Hosting isn’t easy, people have busy lives and I want to be invited                        back.
The computer helps me not feel so isolated from my friends and America.  I read my local paper daily and check Facebook once a week.  But the longer I’m away, the more our decision to move to Slovenia was the right choice.  The fast paced self-centered American lifestyle isn’t for me.
I have some friends who live several blocks away.  They helped me manage my house during the bike trip.  I paid them very well and did several extra things, like Trail Blazer tickets and gifts sent from overseas for them and their child.   I worked 5 weeks preparing my garage sale, they showed up the day before the sale, to get some things.  Then told us she’s seen what she wanted cheaper somewhere else, then buy it somewhere else, were busy. Were talking about maybe $3.  She never came by during the 5 weeks to help me sort, clean or price stuff.  Then she offered to post the sale to her friends, but wanted to charge me.   I was here for 2 months eating frozen pizza, never once did they invite me to a home cooked meal, nothing.  I’ve tried to maintain a friendship, but it seems so one sided, I’m burned out. Maybe I don’t know what is expected of friends?  I’m willing to see I could be wrong, but I know how I feel.  I’m fairly well off and maybe people feel money can take care of whatever, it can’t.  It still only serves restaurant food, not homemade meals, that mean so much more.
One friend finally realized what I was up against and knowing how trapped I was at home,    she brought me a great vegetarian Falafal, Thanks so much.
I had one friend I’ve know for 35 years, I called him and tried to talk with him, while he continued shoveling dirt at the same time.  Then he dropped the phone in the dirt and it hung up. He called back and I said “can’t you put the shovel down for a minute and talk to me?” In so many words he basically told me , “see you later.” Haven’t talked with him in 10 years.
Maybe it was time to move, ya think?.
Then there’s the fellow bike touring friends(?) Who I traveled with and posted on my blog about their website and business-several times.  I asked them why they never posted about my blog or bike trip? No response.  They did do a story about a touring cyclist who was hit and killed, not very inspiring.  I think my story would inspire more people to hit the road and maybe internationally!
Did I leave anyone out? Yea,
This is someone I’ve known for 57 years.  I was on my way to visit them at Christmas, but not before I stopped to watch The Oregon State Football team play in Las Vegas.  I asked him to come meet me in Las Vegas, watch the game, then we’d drive to his house for Christmas.  His response when I asked him? “Why don’t you go find some friends to do stuff with?”  This is someone who I drove to Ohio from Oregon to help him with his self-induced medical emergency.  I stayed a month, cooking him meals, cleaning his gross house I even brought him a car that I allowed him to make payments on.  I flew home and paid for everything. To his credit,  he finally did meet me in Las Vegas. We kept in contact during my bike trip and he commented several times on the blog.  I had some issue with someone and I posted both correspondences on my blog, I don’t pretend to have a perfect life, I post nearly everything.  When we talked on the phone, he started yelling and screaming at me and telling me how wrong I was, I promptly hung up on him. We tried to “talk” again on the phone, but he was yelling again about some other shit, enough, I hung up again-bye.   Maybe I should stay home like you and grow grass in the desert during commercial breaks..  That way I would never have a conflict and life would be awesome!  I choose to have relationships with people and try having a great time together..  Sometimes it doesn’t go so well, life is an adventure and shit happens. Most of this person’s life choices have not ended well.  I don’t any take advice from them. I suggest he google both our names and see what he gets.
This person is my brother.
My mother passed away several years ago.  After I caught her stealing from my grandmother (her mother), we never really got along. At one point she said she didn’t want to see me.  She got her wish, that happened 20 years before she died.
My father kicked me out of the house 2 weeks after I turned 18.  I went back to try and reconcile the relationship, at his front door, before he let me in the house he said–“You just want my money.”  First, I had no idea he had any money.  He use to tear paper napkins in 1/2, I guess we weren’t worth a whole napkin?  He did everything he could to try and insure my failure.  Instead I’ve succeeded without his financial or the more important, emotional support.  While I was enrolled in college he promised me $75 a month, after 1 payment, he stopped, said he changed his mind.  At the same time he was having tailors come to his house to make him custom suits.I knew then he wasn’t to be trusted and I was going to have to make it on my own. I use to send him Birthday and Christmas cards, but he wrote me and asked me to stop sending them.  That was actually a relief, Thanks for telling me I was wasting my time. In the end, it has worked out well for me,  Now I’m totally free and independent.  I feel sorry that he hasn’t been able to share in my life, but that was our choice.

So do I miss some friends?  Yes of course.  But I feel born again living here with Natasa.  Being around  her parents and daughter, gives me feeling of what a real family should be about- Love and acceptance.  I’ve said this before I feel like I rescued the last part of my life by marrying Natasa.

Thanks for reading, it was nice to get it off my chest and onto this blog for all to see, life isn’t always easy and perfect.  I’m retired. but not from life, the work continues.

NEXT: JEZERSKO BIKE TOUR

Take Care, Jeff

3 thoughts on “WHAT ABOUT ALL THE FRIENDS & FAMILY LEFT BEHIND IN PORTLAND?

  1. Mark Bernards

    My Dear Brother Jeff. I will tell you again on here just how sorry I am for the words that I said to you and if I could take them back I would. You are and have always been an awesome brother to me and I have always looked up to you and tied to imitate many things that you have shown or taught me. From the time Pete and I moved to Portland and started working for you I have always been amazed at your ability to do whatever it is that needs to be done. You are and have always been motivated to keep moving and doing nice things for people and your quest for adventure is an inspiration and downright amazing. Biking all the places you have biked and camping along the way and taking the time to share the adventure with the rest of us has been greatly appreciated and thank you Jeff.

    One of the things that we have never been able to do very well is talk about real issues between us and I believe that is part of what led to the predicament we are in. I wanted to explain by citing the correspondence and how it is similar to how you make me feel sometimes. It was wrong for me to do that and again I apologize Jeff. Your love and friendship mean so much more to me than trying to piece together our family. I know I must have been crazy but I have always held out hope that love would flow between the members of our family instead of the disgust and disappointment that prevails. It is a shame and I wish I could have done something to change it. I now know that it is not important but a good relationship with my brother, as well as my father, and our mother when she was alive was important to me. I had to forgive her for my own sanity. I won’t even comment on our father other than to say I am so sorry you and him butted heads at every encounter and could never seem to get past the past.Knowing and loving you both, neither one of you have been served well by the animosity that exists between the two of you. I still will always pray for a better outcome, period.

    I also pray for our relationship to be healed, that forgiveness is granted and love reigns again. That is all I want from you Jeff. I want to be a good brother and friend to you and if I am ever invited to visit you and Natasa I will jump at the chance. I miss you Jeff and I am truly sorry for my actions and I ask again for forgiveness so we can share some laughs once again. I love you more than words can tell.

    Your Brother Mark.

    Reply
    1. jeffsbiketour Post author

      Thanks for your heartfelt concern for our friendship. As far as you visiting I will have to see if we can make that work sometime, maybe next summer.. I’m in a happy place here, that said I don’t see us or me back to America for 3-5 years. Sorry this hurts you so much.
      Jeff

      Reply
  2. Mary Shea

    Hi Jeff! I felt very sad reading what you wrote. You are a good person and deserve to have the best!! I wish you much happiness in your life. I was planning on extending my trip in Sept. (yes, next year) 2016 to come and visit you two and maybe get you to travel with me a bit while I am there, but if you would rather I not come and visit that is okay too.
    Still waiting to hear from the furniture place to get your chair, but I guess there is no hurry. I’ll keep you posted.
    Happy, Happy times,
    Mary

    Reply

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