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San Francisco 2009, part two!

Seagull near the Embarcadero

Growing up in small-town New Hampshire, California seems to be this mystical, amazing place, where people are diverse and interesting and accepting.  I recall reading a book of someone growing up in Berkeley and thinking “I need to live there.”  I finally got to visit San Francisco in 2005 when a dear friend moved to the Bay area after college.  My best friend and I went and visited him for a week and we got a whirlwind tour of what Northern California has to offer (and that’s a lot!).  I almost applied to grad school at UC Berkeley, but their deadline was early, their funding for MA programs nonexistent, and so in the end, I ended up living my California adventure in San Diego.

Dinner at Samovar Tea Lounge

After a couple of years in San Diego, it was blatantly obvious that San Francisco and the Bay area were more suited to me — my politics, my love of city life and public transportation, my personality and attitude, my vegetarianism and sustainable eating practices.  But I didn’t manage to visit again until the end of May/early June 2009, when I needed a quick and inexpensive vacation and was evaluating it as a potential place to move.  It was my first solo adventure in the US, and I stayed in a hostel, wandered around, ate alone, and I loved it despite the dampness of spring.  But did I want to move there?  Not really.  If I’m honest, I was tired of California (for good reason, I’d been fighting to survive for too long in its terrible economy).

Looking Back at San Francisco

Once my mind was made up to leave California, I wanted to visit again, cheaply, since it’s far more expensive flying across the country (and I hate, hate, hate cross-country flying, since I have ended up sleeping in the airport on several occasions).  I got a $70 ticket for early December and off I went.  When I got out of the BART station and was surrounded by the tall city buildings, I knew for sure: I love city life, it suits me, and I miss it greatly. San Francisco is a lovely city and someday it would be great to live there (with disposable income).  My second visit in 2009 was even better, with sunshine and blue skies (though bone-chilling temperatures due to the dampness in the air), and my own improved familiarity with the neighborhoods and public transportation.  I wandered and ate lots of delicious food (especially ice cream) and just appreciated the city’s character (so different from and similar to NYC at the same time).  I may have never visited Los Angeles during my three years in southern California, but I visited San Francisco twice!

Yerba Buena Gardens

You can check out my photos here, but here you see some of my favorites.

three months later…

I can hardly believe it, but only three months have passed since my last post.  My silence is indicative of all the big changes that have occurred since then: selling, giving away, and packing all of my belongings; saying goodbye to my friends and my students; driving across the country alone (!) and exploring new sites and cities (!!); and arriving home in time to spend the holidays with my family.  The first month of 2010 has been well spent working on finding a job and getting organized, and now that February has already arrived, I’m gearing up to set some goals for myself.

But let’s back up a moment!  After my announcement in November, I went through a whirlwind of preparations, beginning with boxing up my books, shoes, purses, and other extraneous items, selling all of my furniture over Thanksgiving weekend, and trying to figure out how to pack my tiny Corolla with belongings either too heavy, too valuable, or too fragile for UPS or USPS.  (Perhaps I’ll make another post in the future with suggestions.)  It wasn’t as difficult or as frustrating as I’d anticipated, though I did have to give away a number of things I’d hoped to take with me at the last moment, including my beloved plants!

Besides the obvious packing aspect, I also set to visiting some San Diego sights I’d managed not to get to over the three years I lived there, and revisiting others that I loved. Mostly I said goodbye to the Pacific Ocean and the lovely ocean (and sunset) views.

Clouds & Sea at Torrey Pines
This is taken from the beach after a lovely hike through Torrey Pines State Reserve.

Surfers & Sunset @ Swami's Beach
This was the classic sunset shot I always intended to get at Swami’s Beach in Encinitas.

While I do miss the San Diego sunsets, I truly do believe that sometimes you just need to leap and trust your instincts. For me, it was fitting that the sun went down just as I crossed the border into Arizona on my road trip. But the details of the amazing cross-country road trip will be saved for a future post. For now I want to say that every day I am thankful that I took charge of my life and decided to leave a less-than-perfect situation for something new. Or rather, something familiar, revisited after years of independence, growth, and change, which allows me to see through a new perspective.

it's time to go!

October has come and gone, and November is upon us, though you wouldn’t know it from the persistent summer weather that has returned to San Diego.  It’s funny: after three years of living in the city with an endless summer, I am starting to miss having a true fall, with its clean smell, crisp leaves, and gentle breezes ushering in the next season.  I love being able to go to the beach through the end of September and even into October, but by November, I’m ready for it to end.

While I’m not sure I miss winter, I’ll soon have no choice in the matter.  That’s right, after a month of considering my options and facing some uncomfortable effects of California budget cuts, I’ve decided it’s time to leave San Diego.  Many of my friends and acquaintances have asked “why now?”, but what it comes down to is that it’s just time to follow the signs and my intuition.  This is a challenge for me: I like to have things planned and arranged before making big decisions like moving, but part of what I’ve learned over the past few years is that no matter how well I’ve planned things, what actually happens is completely out of my control.  And that’s okay.  I just have to pay attention to what is truly going on.

As of now, I plan to move back east in mid-December.  My semester will end December 1, and I will take a quick trip to San Francisco to savor some delicious foods and sights while it’s still an easy and cheap visit.  Then I plan to drive across the country along the southern region (hopefully avoiding snow), passing through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia and then up through all the small states.  I’d like to do some sight-seeing along the way, but we’ll see how it all plays out.

Already I’m feeling like there are more job opportunities on the east coast than here in San Diego.  It may not be easy right now, but I feel a lot more optimistic about my plan than I do about the idea of staying.  At first I’ll stay with my parents, and then I intend to move to Boston, unless I come across a good opportunity in one of the many cities I’d be happy to live in. 🙂

introducing the blueskylimit blog!

In the past few months, many friends have suggested that I start a blog to write about my experiments in the kitchen and with my container garden. While I’ve appreciated the encouragement, I’ve generally shrugged off the idea; after all, I already post my photos and thoughts on Flickr and, more recently, Twitter.  But then I thought about it again: like many Americans right now, I’m in a state of transition, considering the unthinkable, facing what previously seemed impossible, and surmounting my own fears only to be pleasantly surprised by the results.

So why not start a blog?  It’s a fantastic way to keep in touch with friends around the world, to connect with others in blogging communities, and to share what I’ve been inspired to create recently.  Instead of asking why, I’ll ask why not.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Here’s where I’m at right now: I’m Kim, a 28-year-old east coast transplant currently living in San Diego, California.  I teach ESL to adults at a local community college and love my students and their desire to learn and improve their lives.  Outside the classroom, my life is filled with my many passions: eating and making vegetarian dishes and baked goods from local, seasonal, and organic goods, growing my own garden, running, yoga, knitting, jewelry making, and photography.  Phew!  While I love each of these interests, they each seem to have their season based on my attention span which waxes and wanes.

At the moment, I am in a period of transition.  While I’ve achieved two big goals while living in SD (finishing my Master’s and changing careers), I have realized that I’m ready to move on.  I am fairly certain I’ll be heading to the east coast next, but I’m not sure where, when, or how!  So that’s where that blog comes in–I want to document my journey trying out the “unconventional” paths that many of us are taking in this new economy.  Let’s see how I do!