Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easing into Oakland

I lived in eight different places in Los Angeles 2007-2012, and for each one, I had a self-imposed deadline. Some less defined than others, but I treated them all as temporary. For the first time in my adult life, I've entered a living situation with the intention to stay in it for longer than a few months or a year. I have no plans to leave in the near nor distant future. It's a new feeling. A good one. 

A friend asked me to catalogue my process in transitioning into Oakland life as they are planning to move to the Bay Area this summer.

Here are three things that I've done so far to make this place home:
  1.  Before I even fully made the move to Oakland, I got my Oakland library card. There's something comforting about having a library card. Having fun isn't hard.
  2. I scaled and gutted a fish on the front lawn. It's not that weird to scale or gut a whole fish, but it's not something often seen, and to do it publicly helped me feel more ownership of the space.
    Scaled, gutted, stuffed with kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass, ready for the oven.
  3. Walks and bike rides around the neighborhood. This is particularly relevant for me coming from LA and for people who also come from automobile-centric cities. Get to know the neighborhood streets even if they're not the most scenic. Say hello to people walking their dogs or tending their yards. It makes things feel less unfamiliar. 
I'm maintaining a spirit of openness to what life in my new environment will be like. New and unfamiliar places provide an opportunity to re-evaluate what is really necessary. And what is really necessary also changes sometimes, depending on where we are. If you carry few expectations that life will or has to be anything like it once was, you have more of a chance at seeing what is possible.

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