Originally from New York, Edwina recently moved to Portland from Paris, France where she lived for 6 years. She loves forming community around singing, dancing, rolling skating and laughing! Edwina has loved adjusting to a new life in Portland and finds it to be the perfect balance of nature, good people, good food and the progressive life values that she's been searching for. Follow her adventures on her website, Edwina Mante Koch.
Q: Where are you originally from?
A: The NYC area.
Q: Where are you currently living?
A: Portland, OR
Q: When did you move here?
A: July 2020
Q: Is this your first expat experience?
A: No, I lived in France for 6 years.
Q: Why did you move; what do you do?
A: I wanted to explore a new city and a new side of American culture. After living in France for so long I was eager to adventure out and see what the West Coast was all about. As someone with a very east coast attitude, I knew there would be some culture shocks to be had in my own country!
Living in Portland
Q: What do you enjoy most about Portland? How would you rate the quality of life compared to home?
A: The quality of life is amazing. Especially after having lived in an expensive city like Paris and NYC, moving here I was like: 'I get to experience all of this great nature and stuff for half the price?!'
Q: Any negative experiences?
A: The rain gets to me sometimes, but honestly, I am glad the weather isn’t 100 percent perfect because (1) it makes me embrace the good days so much more and (2) if it were sunny all of the time, EVERYONE would move here and Portland would get too big!
Q: What are the biggest adjustments you had to make when settling into expat life here? Did you experience any particular elements of culture shock?
A: Finding community. This is always a huge growing pain. I also would say as a woman of colour (WOC), moving to a place that is so white was a huge adjustment for me. All of my previous cities were extremely diverse and so taking on a new role as a WOC, person of colour (POC) and finding communities in this context has been something that has taken priority in my life.
Q: How would you rate the public transport in Portland?
A: Compared to east coast and European public transportation… 6/10
Q: How would you rate the healthcare in Portland?
A: I have OPH and I get free therapy on it, as well as dental and doctor care. I AM SO GRATEFUL that Portland puts such an emphasis on the importance of mental health! Having this be covered by my insurance this year has been life changing for me.
Family and children
Q: What are your favourite family attractions and activities in Portland?
A: Oregon Museum of Science and Industry!
Q: What are the schools like?
A: I love how many language immersion programmes there are in Portland! As someone who finds language important to the human experience and who intends to raise her children bilingual, this is an important and attractive facet to this city!
Q: Is there any advice you would like to offer new expat arrivals to Portland?
A: Embrace the negative as much as the positive. Moving abroad is HARD. Forming community and finding your people takes so much time. Have patience with it.
►Interviewed in May 2021