I really wanted to catalogue more of my trip out west here. Talk more about how I am settling in. Share anecdotes and the like.
But SF is a different bear and I’ve been out there doing so much stuff that recapping it doesn’t make much sense. As if somehow it’d cheapen the experience. I’ve been here over a month now and I’m still mindblown on a daily basis. In a good way!
I love this city a whole lot and I’m glad I made this move. I mean, even just that city hall did this after the DOMA decision the other day says it all:
Three weeks in and I still have no regrets. I’m curious about what I’ll be saying in a few months but for the time being I’m just glad I got up and did this.
San Francisco is refreshing even though it has its pitfalls. There are kinks here just like there are everywhere. That aside, people smile more, engage more and are legitimately friendlier – and not just because they are trying to keep up pretenses for careers.
That’s something DC and Northern Virginia had a whole lot of because so many people work for the government, or someone contracting with the government.
The things that appeal to me about San Francisco really run the gamut. But the air smells really fresh here and the sun seems to shine brighter. Or maybe it’s just reflecting off the metric ton of houses painted in pretty, light colors?
It’s odd to describe.
There are more adventures to be had. And walking around the neighborhood just leads to more fun things to do in the neighborhood. I was not one to shy away from activity back east but somehow I very much feel like a country bumpkin bumbling about. Even that experience has been good. Sometimes you just need to do something drastic to learn some new lessons.
Though one thing’s for sure – I need a damn jacket.
I think it’s safe to say that my transition here was smoother than I’d anticipated. In my first week, I’ve been to the beach, a lake and even found an apartment. Plus, I’ve doubled the number of people I know in the city–which was entirely unexpected but a welcome treat.
And actually, it’s interesting to have met so very many non-locals. But what really struck me was living my first week in San Francisco with a group of Virginians (sans one very rad Arizonian). And later in the week, when we went on a boat fun day on Lake Berryessa, there were even more Virginians.
It’s not that it matters entirely that I am acquainted with so many folks from home. This is just the farthest I’ved lived from there in my adult life and it was oddly comforting.
Then somewhere in the middle of the week, I scored a rad, temporary sublet in Inner Richmond that is close to a gazillion things. I lived in DC for the last two years and my neighborhood sucked. We had McDonald’s, a shitty Safeway (it was the location where all food went to die), churches on every block and liquor stores on every other block.
When I finally left my friends’ place and headed over to my new digs, I felt an odd mix of fear and elation. I was so stoked on having my own space but stupidly fearful that suddenly I’d never see my friends again.
Thankfully, that passed quickly. Now I’m just taking things a day at a time and trying to adjust to California time. Because it is a whole lot different from DC time and not because of the three hour time difference. Though, that probably adds to it.
I started out of the DC area at 5:45 am on Wednesday, May 22. My route that day would end in Chicago, but not before I took a pit stop in Toledo, OH. Some buddies of mine live there, one of which is part-owner of Grumpy’s. It’s well known around those parts and let me tell you, the food is damn delicious. If you’re ever in Toledo, make sure you go. If you’re ever anywhere near Toledo, take a detour and hit up Grumpy’s.
Since they’re only open for breakfast and lunch, I had to make sure I got there with ample of time to squeeze in The Babalu. I had it the last time I was in Toledo and despite wanting to order something I hadn’t tried before, I got it again. Because it is delicious.
Meeting up with Jemma while I was there was pretty awesome. I was still super psyched about leaving DC and not a flutter of fear had come my way yet (more on that later). Thereafter, I hightailed it to Chicago where I had every intention of hanging out with a bunch more friends. But then I sat on a couch and suddenly I was one of those grandma’s in an “I can’t get up” commercial.
My hosts that evening were so very gracious and reassuring. It was really something else taking this trip across the country and having so many friends to see on the way. Meg & J opened up their home to me, fed me and were remarkably good company to have that night. I think there were several hours where I tried to make coherent sentences but just failed miserably.
Thankfully, they really didn’t give two fucks.
I had every intention of posting regularly last week. But then the Sunday move-out happened. And the Monday-Tuesday reorganization of everything I’d packed happened. And then Wednesday just showed up and that was the day I had to leave for San Francisco. And then there were endless hours of driving and sheer exhaustion to the point of incoherence.
I could barely form a sentence Wednesday night when I pit stopped in Chicago.
All that aside, the move-out was pretty much everything you’d expect of a move. Too long and with constant reminders of just how much shit I’d accumulated. Here I’d thought I’d done such a good job of decluttering ahead of the move and the joke was entirely on me.
By the time we got everything to my mom’s, I was ready to throw absolutely everything away and just go.
Tuesday night, we had an awesome farewell gathering with some of my closest buddies. The night was filled with so many stories from the last two decades that it almost made the idea of moving completely implausible. I mean, who was I to be leaving all these rad people??
But somewhere along the way I just remembered that those memories will never leave any of us and now it’s time to make some new ones. It’s not like I suddenly started enjoying DC again. I needed to leave. And I am really fucking proud of myself that I did it.
Let me be clear, when I say I have terrible taste in music that doesn’t mean I don’t like the good stuff. I’m generally fascinated by the kind of music my music snob friends are into. What I mean is that I also really like the hyped, crappy pop stuff that comes on the radio.
Yes, I still listen to the radio.
And it started when I still lived in Germany. My other country, as I refer to it, has a history of interesting music tastes. Hasselhoff anyone? I remember that day he was on TV at the Berlin Wall. Oh, man – not to digress but that night was crazy! But anyway, I was never a Hasselhoff fan, though my boyband love started there at the tender age of 12. Which was some time after my love for Michael Jackson lessened just a little.
I don’t love boybands anymore. Thank god. But I will get down to some terrible pop music and love the ever living shit out of it. The best part is I can listen to some Gaga or Bieber or whatever here in the states and then go to remote Bumfuckville, Germany and still here it there.
That excites me! Like, “Hell YES this is my JAM and I am in the middle of the highest mountains of northern Germany and weeeeeee!”
But now I face a conundrum. What the shit do I listen to on the way to San Francisco? I’m about to get my mind blown by a music scene I’ve never before witnessed. I want to be able to name drop some obscure band that all those music snobs are raging about. But I stopped following music blogs, I don’t have any of those fancy invites to closed, music-share communities and I listen to the radio.
I’ll keep this entry short and spare the schmoop. But I can’t say enough how much I appreciate the people in my life and all the support that they are showing. None of this is particularly “easy.” It’s exciting! And scary! (No, seriously.) I’ve had a few impeccable freak outs. But through it all they’ve been nurturing, supportive and a rock when I’ve needed them.
I am going to miss the fuck out of my crew.
Thankfully, there’s this thing called the internet. And also cell phones. And also airplanes.
As you might imagine, executing a cross-country move in two weeks is riddled with stressful to-do’s. I have been on one of the craziest roller coasters of my life and I haven’t even left yet!
Then again, my ability to handle huge change has always been a mixed bag. There’ve been super highs and then total melt downs when all the fears come hang out and play. The number of unknown variables in my foreseeable future are thrilling but unsettling. Despite the worries, I still know this is the right move. Not once has that opinion wavered.
Not to mention, I’ve got some of the most amazing friends I could ask for. I am staying with buddies in both Chicago and Denver. From Denver I’ll likely make a pit stop in Reno and then when I get to San Francisco I’ve got a place to crash too. Which is really comforting because I really, really want to vet potential roommates and living quarters before I sign on anywhere.
Things are coming together little by little and I’m pretty grateful for it.
I seem to have amassed a ridiculous amount of stuff that I have zero use for. I took two CD/DVD players, two receivers, an old tube TV and a bunch of random (mostly dead) electronics to the DPW for recycling today. Then I went through the shit storm that is my CD collection – which as you might imagine is mostly the crap from before MP3′s became a thing. Mostly.
It’s a little cathartic getting rid of all this crud. But every time I look around I just see more shit to get rid of. I’ve got furniture to sell, books to donate, clothes to throw out or give to Goodwill and all sorts of stuff that has just piled up because it could.
I mean, I still have a PCU tower. What the shit?