Last year at this time the dogs and I rolled into Oakland on a very rainy evening to join The Hubs in our temporary apartment. Today the sun is shining and I’m reflecting on this past year from the comfort of our beautiful home.
That in and of itself is a pretty fitting metaphor for how the past year went.
Today I feel great. I’m comfortable and happy in my new city. The stifling uncertainty I lived under for many months has lifted, and I feel confident that the future holds great things for my family.
Yesterday some friends asked me if it has felt like a whole year or not. I said, in some ways yes (living in the apartment feels like a lifetime ago) and in other ways no (I discover something new every single day). I thought I’d put together a list of things that I currently love and hate about living in Oakland to be able to compare and contrast year over year.
- Our home and our neighborhood is my absolute most favorite thing about living here. It’s intimidating making such a huge lifestyle choice when you move to a city you’ve never been to, but I’m thrilled with the way things have turned out.
- The people in Oakland are so great. We live in a great community oriented neighborhood, and everyone is super friendly and helpful. Also, I’m not missing the heightened image obsession and vanity that goes on in Southern California. One of my first observations of Oakland was “oh, there’s regular people here!”
- The city is small and super easy to navigate. Each unique neighborhood is easily accessible as are San Francisco, mountains, hiking and beaches.
- Oakland is an old city and the architecture around here is stunning. Beautiful victorian and craftsman homes are everywhere. It makes for really beautiful walks with the dogs.
- The food and arts culture of San Francisco is rapidly expanding to the east bay. I watched San Diego “grow up” before my very eyes over the last 15 years, and it’s really exciting to be able to see the same changes happening in Oakland.
- Professionally there is infinite more opportunity for both The Hubs and I here.
- Similar to San Diego, Oakland is extraordinarily dog friendly and bike friendly. As someone who NEEDS to spend time outdoors to feel normal, this was something I wasn’t willing to give up.
- I’m not sure I’m ever going to get over the weather. I’m still freezing every single day, even in the summer. I’m hoping this coming summer will be easier since I’ll have adapted a bit, but man do I miss those hot summer days more than anything.
- Because the bay area is so expensive, people tend to commute insanely long distances. This makes it hard to make friends because anyone you meet will generally live an hour or more away. Even the people I already knew who live here live really, really far away (I won’t even get into the terrible traffic) which isn’t super conducive to getting together on a Friday night for dinner and a quick drink. All socializing takes advance planning.
- For a city that is so strict on trash, recycling and composting, the amount of litter everywhere is appalling. Not a day goes by that I don’t have to wrestle something from the dog’s mouths when we walk.
- Really the only thing that is occasionally unbearable is how much I miss my friends. If Val, Jen and their kids could just move here, my life would be perfect.
I’m actually really looking forward to year #2. No more moving, unpacking, organizing, etc. We can finally just LIVE. I think this will be our best year yet.