I've been sticking closer to home lately, after deciding, on my 817th consecutive BART trip across the bay, that I was worn out and needing to spend a little more time adoring my adopted hometown.
Don't get me wrong---I'm a Chicagoan, to the core, and always will be. But I'm surprised at how much I've come to love Oakland. The two year mark is when I thought I'd be leaving the Bay area, and instead I am just getting my footing, so I am glad to be staying.
Reasons I love Oakland:
--People here are friendly and welcoming. I have all kinds of nice conversations on the bus, in lines, on bikes---people will just chat you up anywhere. Now that I take the bus every day, I know that drivers like to pull up alongside each other to shoot the shit along routes. People just love to talk here.
--It's old fashioned. Old cars are everywhere. Barber shops and burger joints. Hardly a chain restaurant to be found.
--There are palm trees.
--It's a tough place, but it has a big heart. Lots of crime, but people fight it. And say hi to each other on the street in the morning.
--The puny downtown. Aww! It's so cute!
--People are chill. There's a more relaxed feel than in San Francisco (or Chicago, for that matter). Sometimes after a long and active day in SF, I take the train back over, feel the warm sun and the breeze, and just feel pure relief.
--I love biking to the gym, or biking to my studio...
--Warm sunshine from the east in my apartment in the morning.
--Beautiful sunset from my kitchen table at night.