Wednesday, January 30, 2008

To the Great Wet North and Top 10 List for the Bay Area

We are soon on our way to Seattle! They’ve had a snowy winter there (we witnessed some of it over Christmas) and I’m excited! I’m taking this moment to officially declare: My blood has thickened. Moving from Phoenix to Mexico (both dry and hot) to SoCal (mild and more humid) to NoCal (wet and cold, at least this winter) has provided the perfect acclimatization for moving to the Great Wet North. I’m ready, baby! Bring it! (The only things I still need are a hat, and some sort of running shoe dickie to keep my feet dry – anyone know of such a thing? I’ve visited Seattle enough to see that people do not, cannot, wait for nice weather to go running, or they never will.)

Some thoughts on the Bay Area. First, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: This is a hella great place to live. Because it’s so fab, it’s so expensive, which is really the only drawback. Well, that and the fact that it is widely known – not just believed – known – that the next great earthquake is coming. In fact, the ones we enjoyed here were located about a mile from us on the Hayward Fault, which is predicted to be the source of the next biggie, as opposed to the San Andreas.

When we first got here it was a bit of a culture shock, but a good one. Here’s my Top Ten list of things I discovered about life in Northern Cal:

10. If you pay attention when you’re out, you will hear at least three other languages besides English.
9. Gas priced under $3.50/gallon seems like a good deal.
8. The soul food we ate was gourmet.
7. In June, July and August, I had to keep reminding myself it was summer as I donned my jacket.
6. I could count the number of pro-Bush bumper stickers I’ve seen here on one hand.
5. If a house is listed for sale at less than one million dollars, we think it's gotta be a good deal, or a bad house.
4. We can no longer be referred to as "that interracial couple" as a way of distinguishing us from others - there are as many mixed-race couples as not around here.
3. We could literally eat at a different restaurant every night and never repeat and never eat at a chain establishment. And 90% of them would have delicious food.
2. We are used to paying $10 for a cocktail. We aren’t happy about it, but we’re used to it.
1. As part of a regular exam by the veterinarian, our pets had acupuncture done. (I'm not kidding – they liked it, too!)

So we bid the Bay a fond farewell! Could we live here again? Absolutely. But after the quake clean-up.

As we’ve been on this adventure. I’ve shared with some of you my thoughts about clutter and stuff. I still think there’s a book in here somewhere, but it hasn’t quite materialized yet. We went from a relatively uncluttered but well-stocked and furnished 2000 sqaure foot home, to four large suitcases plus a small storage bin. Since we left Arizona, we’ve lived in furnished rentals, and none for more than seven months. We’ve traveled light. Some stuff has accumulated again, but not to the degree it would if we had a home.

So now, for the first time in over two years, we are taking – gasp – a full year’s lease! YES. And we will have our own furniture again. I’m delighted we’ll be so “permanent” and won’t have to move in a few months. And I’m curious to see how this will play out in our new, lighter lifestyle. Will we feel bogged down? Will we be as willing to pick up and move to a foreign country again?

I know my relationship to owning stuff has altered. From being a professional de-clutterer to de-cluttering practically everything, to re-accumulating… we shall see. What are your thoughts?


Patricia said...


As a new owner of that cool convertible that Thandi Newton drove in MI2 I have to say my relationship to things have altered muchly. I used to subscribe to the "experiences, not things" way of life. But I've discovered that things provide experiences as well. Driving with the top down at 80 mph, skillfully changing lanes with the joie de vivre of the fabulous, I can only say, "Life is good, real good."

karen ussery said...

Well said and so noted, Sister!

Eric said...

First, let me just say I smiled reading your post. Your spirit, enthusiasm, and intelligence about moving to the "Great Wet North" is duly noted and fully appreciated!

Now, about the stuff. While I can't argue that a convertible would look splendid in my driveway, the stacks of math papers from grad school look unsightly in my closet. Will I ever look at them again? If I did, would I know what the delta-epsilon they say? Those papers seemed so important - a testament to some great achievement and some sort of promise of math in my future. With the magic of the interweb, those papers are readily available. Plus, I don't think there is a great danger of me forgetting the warm place in my heart that beats equations.

I wish I could say the math papers are the only stacks of such weighty stuff in our home. I do believe a high fiber diet is in order.

JP said...

Way to go Karen. I love your willingness to let spirit guide you to wherever your beautiful energy is needed. I know that, wherever an earth angel like you is, love, light, and joy are soon to follow.

Wishing your life in Seattle to be even better than expected. I'll be eager to read about your adventures.

With admiration and blessings,

Rena said...

loved reading your latest post...
great spirit of adventure continues....I feel like I am on this adventure with you in a small way....try for Seattle friendly items...I found a few things there at a great price as I was getting ready for the hike in Peru in 2006....