Today marks the first full month in our new neighborhood. Anna moved out in early November, and I was here for Thanksgiving weekend, but I arrived late on the evening of December 21, so I’m observing the 22nd as my official first month in town. So far I’m really loving the process of getting to know my old friend Oakland.
One thing I’m especially happy about is how infrequently I need to get in the car. This past month I’ve spent a decent amount of time on my bike(s) and put quite a few miles on a couple pairs of shoes. Groceries are now easily accessible on foot or by bike, and the weather has been very pleasant and accommodating for the pedestrian lifestyle (for the most part). The little rain we’ve hasn’t really been all that inconvenient, and since it’s generally pretty warm here, even in the dead of winter, I have only had to put on a coat 3 or 4 times. Most days I can get away with a sweatshirt or my fleece vest.
Living in a two bedroom apartment is a bit of a challenge. I didn’t realize how much stuff we had stored in our various and abundant storage locations in Moline, but Anna has done a nice job of thinning out the things we really don’t need. And she’s made our place very livable and pleasant. Our garden now consists of a few potted plants on our front “terrace” — really a small deck. The garden also includes a few of Justin’s older art pieces. We live on a pretty busy street, and it’s kind of fun to watch people walking by — it’s an interesting, eclectic crowd.
I haven’t yet seen many birds on our bird feeder, but it’s fun to watch the seagulls circling in the sky outside. Walking around Lake Merritt has acquainted us with cormorants, egrets, and of course the usual ducks and geese one expects to see around a lake. I’m loving the several coffee houses within easy biking distance. It’s nice to have my folks just a couple of blocks away. And when we get a hankerin’ for nachos, it’s really nice to be able to walk around the corner and have a plateful of the tasty goods at Los Cantaros.
It wouldn’t be fair to say I don’t miss Moline. I still wake up in the morning thinking about our yard full of trees, our good friends, my brother and his family, the interesting species of birds, and of course our old pal, Tucker. I miss snow. I don’t miss the ice, and word has it that it’s been pretty icy back there for the past couple of days. I’ll be back in the midwest for a couple of months in the spring to direct a production of Anton Chekov’s The Seagull at Augustana, so I’m hoping to reconnect with some of those things I’ve missed.
Home is here, now, though, and when I visit Moline later this year, I’m sure I’ll miss the great things I’ve grown so fond of here in Oakland.
Have a great weekend!