Last week I flew home to San Francisco for my cousin's wedding. I coudln't wait to get back to the west coast. I was so homesick. I wanted to see mountains, the Golden Gate Bridge, and my family. I flew what seemed like all day on Wednesday. When I arrived my sister's girlfriend picked me up at the airport. We went to my old, green house to pick up my red curtains. The house now has a sale pending sign on it. I stroked the wall, thanking the house for taking care of my family, and said my final goodbye. We then walked to Los Cantaros for dinner. I had a chicken fajita salad that was sooo amazingly yummy! I even spoke to the giant, green avacado on the top of my salad. I thanked it for being there and for being so beautiful. I missed you California avacado, I told it. I was deeply in love with that avacado for just that moment. Truly in love with it.
As we walked back to my green house to get Mango's car I noticed a homeless man sleeping on the park bench, that shady guy with the curly hair was selling a car in front of my old house, it was very loud and very dirty. I hadn't noticed before.
Thursday morning I went for an early morning run with my old running partner. There had been days when we would pass half naked homeless men passed out on the sidewalk. Sometimes there were used condoms in the water and a lot of other shocking trash. There were also beautiful white pelicans and egrets. Funny how you notice the pelican and egret because the condom and douche bottle is always there. You just start to ignore the yucky parts. Well, after being in my Mt. Lebanon bubble for six months I started to notice the yucky parts and it made me sad.
I love Oakland. I love the Bay Area. Never before had I felt so at home than in Oakland. I love that the sun shines there most days of the year. I love that Rand McNally named it the best weather in the US. I love that it's the most diverse city in the United States. Long Beach is actually tied with Oakland. I lived in Long Beach oto and I really like that city as well. In fact, the new chief of police for Oakland is from Long Beach.
It was so nice to see my old running partner. I just adore her. She's actually from Erie, PA so we had a lot more to talk about this time. People talk about their soul mates in terms of their husband/wife/lover. Janelle is my friend soul mate. I would do anything for her. She's just the most amazing person. I'm so thankful to have her in my life. We clicked the second that we met and it was a running affair that lasted a long time. I miss her very much.
When I say that I love Oakland and I "fit" there so well it's not just the weather and the diversity. It was the people as well. Like my hair dresser Becca. I was in California for one day. I knew exactly who I needed to see. I needed to see Janelle, Becca, and Jack. I wish I could have seen a lot more people. I wanted to see Janeen, Len, Maggie, Stephen, Kathy, Dao... I had so many people I wanted to see but I couldn't fit it all in. I also needed to spend time with my twin.
After my walk (we needed our visit to last longer than a run would allow) around Lake Merritt with Janelle I took BART to San Francisco. Becca, the hair goddess, gave me purple highlights and a cute haircut. I watched all of the interesting people walking by. Business men and women, skaters, musicians, messengers on bicycles, ... the diversity is mind boggling. The barber next to Becca showed the guy he was working on his tattoos. He had Abraham Lincoln on his stomach. There were a lot of other tattoos but I can't remember any of them. I do remember Lincoln though. I loved that he had old Abe on his stomach. The guy in his barber chair was in a James Dean like outfit and wanted a Johnny Cash haircut. The middle chair contained a grad student from Stanford. His name was Tom. His barber was Tim. I know this because they kept saying each other's names which sounded odd. Tom was telling Tim, who looked a lot like Eric Bibb to me, all about his dissertation. It sounded awfully boring but Tim made it sound like he was very interested. I liked Tim's smile. He wore a Tommy Bahama shirt. He liked to golf. I liked his voice too.
As I walked out of Bay City Barber I thought about that song, "What a Wonderful World." Here I was in San Francisco surrounded by so many interesting people. Everyone was an individual and they weren't worried about what other people thought. It's a cool casual life. Just be yourself.
When I first got back to California I missed my family in Pittsburgh. I thoguht, why did I come. I want to be with my husband and kids. I miss my brick house near the park. I saw the bums asleep on the couch in Starbucks on Lakeshore and thought, "I'm so glad I don't live here anymore." Then I had the opposite feeling... it was an emtional rollercoaster to say the least!
My cousin's wedding was amazing! It was at the Grand Island Mansion in Walnut Grove, CA. My twin sister and her partner drove. Candice told funny stories from her days as an Oakland Fire Fighter. We had so much fun. We met cousins we hadn't met in person. We saw family we hadn't seen in a year. It was such a fun evening. We laughed so hard that we wet our pants. Our faces hurt from smiling. It was an amazing evening. It was full of moments where I felt like I truly belonged. I was the odd shaped puzzle piece and I had found my place in the picture.
I flew out of SFO the next morning. My layover in Dallas was delayed. I made it back to Pittsburgh at 1 a.m. Saturday. It felt so good to be back. It felt so good to be with my family, in my brick home near the park, in my little safe bubble with no bums. I felt like I had been really homesick, went home, realized that everything was ok and I wanted to go back to PA. Home to me is where my husband and children are. That's home.
Then I hung out with some natives. And once again I don't feel like I belong. Once again I long for the feeling that this is my spot. Life is very different here. The politics are totally different. People are serious about their religion. They talk about their bible studies. No one talks about gay marriage or the environment. I don't know what to say when I'm around other adults. ... I'm stuck in a rut right now and I don't know how to get out.