In less than 20 days I will be leaving Oakland. I don’t know when if ever I will be coming back.
It has been such an important and influential part of my life. I participated in my first reading here. I found a wonderful writing community. I learned how to be a barista. I saw more of my short stories make it through to publication.
And more than anything, I found out what it was like to live in a world vastly different from the one I had grown up in.
Going to college in Minnesota, while certainly a change from Indiana, still maintained a number of structural similarities, common ways of doing things and moving through the world. You say hello to people on the street in Minnesota the same as in Indiana. Not to mention college is its own little sphere largely separated from the rest of the population.
Living in Oakland as an adult was challenging and frightening and infinitely life-affirming. I truly understand what it means to have a “vibrant community.”
As I pack up my books (why do I have so many of them???) and desperately try to sell my furniture on Craigslist (anyone want a bookshelf?), I am trying to focus on what I will be bringing with me. Certainly my friendships.
If there is anything good to be said about the pandemic (and I am not convinced that there is), it has definitely forced me to embrace alternate modes of community and relationship building. So for all the reasons this is a difficult time to move, it also doesn’t change my day-to-day living situation all that much.
Except that I’ll be paying less rent. (Sorry, Bay Area friends…)
I’m going to appreciate the next 19 days as much as I can and hopefully find a way to connect with everyone before I officially move. But I’m starting to say good-bye now, because I know it will take a long, long time to do it justice.
Maybe the rest of my life.