Sunday marks three months of living in Rockridge. Three months since I sobbed my eyes out at BWI after Janou dropped me off, and I thought I would collapse when I saw David at SFO.
From the get go, I told myself-don’t jump to any conclusions till you’ve been there for three months. Wait to really decide on how you feel. I remind my self this after every natural, caring question of “how’s the new place? Do you love it?” And of course, I answer “yes!” And rattle off the “the weather is great! So happy to be back in California, and oh man…the produce.“. All totally true, except maybe the enthusiastic “yes!” I mean, how could you possibly love a place that you hardly know?
Hence the three month rule. Giving myself this grace period really helped me stay in the present (which for the first six weeks was WEDDING, promptly followed by dazed post-adrenaline collapse) and not be consumed with HOLY SMOKES! I live in Oakland! It’s super different. Just wait three months, then see how you feel, I told myself.
Not to say I haven’t had any holy smokes thoughts. It’s a new city, new metro/BART, different environment, and some of it is an adjustment. These small things aside, I’ve tried hard not to extrapolate annoyances into greater conclusions about Oakland, and life here, and if I love it, etc. But it’s been nearly three months, and so I’m thinking about it more and more.
Do I feel like this is my place? Initial gut-check? No. I don’t walk around my neighborhood, or downtown and feel like, yup, this is me, this feels right. Maybe I’ll feel that way someday-but not now.
When I’m home in my apartment, do I feel like I’m home? Absolutely yes. And this weekend, more than ever. Actually, that’s the whole inspiration for this post in the first place.
Since moving in June, we’ve had a grand total of 1 weekend that didn’t involve traveling somewhere or out-of-town visitors. (Photo above from that weekend in Point Reyes-it was stunning). All of these weekends have been AWESOME and filled with family and friends. It’s been a really fun summer. I’m incredibly grateful for everything these few months-being close to so many special people and seeing so much beauty in California. Seriously, I had forgotten just how jaw dropping the natural beauty of the state is. Anyway, the busy fun also means unpacked boxes, furniture in pieces, and just a general sense that we’re not really home.
And then there was this weekend! With no major plans, all the boxes thrown out, and an apartment that has all the essential furniture, it physically felt like home. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but setting up the TV, and then watching 60 Minutes on Sunday night, with Malbec and a belly full of David’s homemade ragu, just felt heavenly and cozy. After not having a TV since March, I’d hoped wouldn’t really care once we set it up again….but I love it.
Sunday was also gorgeous. Ananth organized brunch in SF with Rachel, Adam and Divya, Walking through the city on the way to Park Tavern, I felt a buzz similar to what I’ve felt walking through DC. Grant Street was packed with families celebrating the Mid-Autumn Chinese Moon Festival, and all the beautiful buildings gleamed in the cloud-free blue-sky morning. Knowing I would be walking into a restaurant with some of my favorite friends put an extra pep in my walk that morning. For the first time in a long time, I just had a feeling of walking around and thinking, yes, this just feels right.
In Oakland’s defense, I’ve made a very poor effort to explore on the weekends. I hope to change that this fall. Now that my grace period is over, it’s time to feel settled and get to know and like (maybe love?) this new city.
Either way, sitting here in my apartment, I definitely feel at home. After about six months of packing, moving, and unpacking, being settled feels pretty great.