Recently we decided to move to Oakland from San Francisco, where we’ve both lived for a good while now. And deciding to move anywhere in the East Bay (that’s where Oakland is) from San Francisco is big.
When I moved to San Francisco from Detroit, that was nothing. I just packed up and went. No one questioned why I would leave a place like Detroit for one like SF.
I just realized that westward moves always seem inherently positive to us ‘Mericans. But what about when you go in the other direction? That’s going back. Backward. Who goes east, my child?
Albeit, Oakland is not very far east from San Francisco. But still, it took a really, really, REALLY long time for me to come to terms with the fact that I wanted to go east.
Which is funny, because I’ve never been in love with San Francisco; I’m much more of an East Bay type of girl. In fact, I probably would have complained about far less over the past six years if I’d just moved to Oakland in the first place (but then, of course, there might be no Temple Family). Some of my trademark SF complaints:
- “This neighborhood is so filthy. It’s like God wiped the bottom of his shoe on it.”
- “Who built the damn highways here? Don’t they know what a CLOVERLEAF is?!”
- “The next f#@$ing apathetic douchebag hipster boy in skinny jeans I see is getting my fist in his neck.”
- “The CTA could eat the entire MUNI system for lunch, digest it, shit it out, and move on to BART for dinner before this bus gets here.”
- “There’s no such thing as a San Francisco sports fan. They’re all posers. Transplant posers. POSERS! POSERS EVERYWHERE! F#@% YOU ALL!”
Yes, I’ve actually said all those in some form or another — repeatedly — over the last six years. And many others, too. I’ve been kind of a complainer. Especially about the poser sports fan thing. Sigh… I admit: it’s not true. There are some genuine sports fans in SF. But also a lot of posers. And I sometimes want to punch them in the neck.
So, I’ve been working in Oakland for over a year now. I’ve met lots of Oaklanders: locals and transplants. I’ve started hanging out more over there… And damn if Oakland doesn’t feel a heck of a lot like my town (literally — it feels a little like Detroit to me). My East Bay job finally provided an excuse for me to make a graceful exit from SF and retrace my steps eastward, hopefully not getting punched in the neck while I go.
These last couple months I’ve literally been counting the days until I can go east. This week, I was especially desperate to get the final word on the short sale we’ve been waiting on, so we can enter escrow. The seller has two lenders; we have approval from one now, and were told by the seller’s agent a couple days ago that she thinks she has approval from the other, but we haven’t seen any paperwork yet. I’m resisting punching her in the neck to get said paperwork and am sitting tight, waiting anxiously for news…
In the meantime, the week unfolded in a celebration of the things I’m loving about the East Bay… I took my dog to work with me and we played in perfect weather in the beautiful mountaintop park around my office, I had happy hour with my cool scientist coworkers on Lake Merritt and planned for the farm I’m going to start in my Oakland backyard, and I went to a perfect dinner party at Marlene’s house in Berkeley. Marlene is the queen of East Bay entertaining, FYI. She also loves dogs as much as we do, and our dog loves her as much as he loves us.
Also, Munga might love her as much as she loves us.
We already spend a lot of time with Marlene, but will soon be spending even more with her. About this, I am pleased.
Overall, my desire to punch things is waning. I may be setting my expectations of East Bay life too high already, but I feel like my 34th year (which starts relatively soon) is going to mark the beginning of a new chapter for me — for us. One in which we moved forward in a lot of ways, even if we moved eastward.