California-1 Year

I realized something Saturday morning.  It was exactly one year ago that Janou drove me, sobbing hysterically, to the airport. I flew to SFO and moved to Oakland, to our little apartment.


Quite a year! It’s impossible not to entangle reflections on California – Year 1 with thoughts on our first year of marriage (since, genius plan, the cross-country move preceded our wedding by mere weeks).  Thinking about this year and marriage and all the growing up and growing together and growing stronger–I’ll hold off on that gush and sentiment until July.

For now, just taking a temperature check on living in Oakland and how it feels one year out.

Overall, it feels great.  I was and continue to be so grateful that we get to work and live here.  It was extremely lucky that things worked out the way they did, that I was able to transition working here, and I’m constantly aware of how lucky we are.

I do want to remember that it was a big change, mostly as a note to myself for the future. The transition to life in Oakland took a while.  Those first few months, so much of Oakland drove me bananas.  Everything was so slow, the BART had no logic, no one jaywalked, and MAN I missed that DC life.  Sometimes, walking around downtown, I would panic a bit.  Walking around DC always provided a shot of energy, it is so vibrant.  Downtown Oakland is no DC, and I found myself walking around feeling pretty alone and very uninspired.

Time really softens the harsh edge of change, and after a while, it all began to feel more comfortable.  Part of it was an ever-growing appreciation for northern California (more on that) and part of it was just finding creature comforts.  I just finished Quiet (INCREDIBLE) and Cain’s description of “restorative niches,” basically, moments and places to go recharge, stuck with me.  In Oakland, it took time, but I eventually discovered my comfort niches.

My life in Oakland is undoubtedly smaller than it was in DC.  For a long time, I missed the people and the buzz so much it stung.  I still miss the people (ahem, Janou and Katie) daily, but this quieter life has grown on me.

One year later, I surprise myself when I say, I love it here.  I love:

  • Waking up and knowing that there’s a 90% chance it’s going to be sunny and pleasant. You can make plans and be fairly certain the weather won’t ruin them.
  • Knowing my parents are a day’s drive away. (NOTE-the flip of this is that Janou is across the country.  That’s tough.)
  • When I buy flowers at Trader Joe’s they last forever and keep the apartment cheery and bright.
  • This sweet little apartment.
  • That Trader Joe’s is basically downstairs.
  • In a pinch, Market Hall’s kale Caesar salad and chicken is the BEST can’t-think-of-anything-to-make-for-dinner solution.  Also, Zachary’s pizza,
  • Getting to know different neighborhoods through ClassPass.
  • That we can go to SF for the day.  I love being able to take BART after work to Embarcadero to walk on the water or to just enjoy the buzz the city.  I don’t think I want to live there, but it’s awesome knowing it’s right there.
  • This once foreign to me now amazing place of Northern California. David and I are NOT active or outdoorsy, but somehow just being here, it’s like we’ve become pseudo hikers by osmosis. Mt. Tam, Half Moon Bay, Point Reyes, Angel Island, Tilden Park, Redwood Park, LaFayette Reservoir-there’s just too much to see.  I can’t get over it. And then there’s Napa, Big Sur, and the growing list of new places to see (Sonoma, Mendocino, Oregon?)
  • Weekend trips with friends to Tahoe, Yosemite, Rocklin and soon…the beach!

More thoughts swirling, but it’s too late.  Is tomorrow already Thursday? 

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