Trains and Transitions

Golden Gate Recreation Area / 55 degrees in May

Greetings, and it’s good to be back!

I’ve taken some time off to get settled in after the move, and (most importantly) focus all of my efforts on my job search. I am super excited to announce that I’ve accepted a job I am thrilled about, meaning I can go back to doing the fun stuff like decorating the house and blogging! I have a ton of content that I want to cover in the blog, so I’m going to break it up into sections so each post isn’t just a series of ramblings.
Today, I’d like to contrast some differences about what is new in being here and some observations I’ve made over the past 2 weeks. It has been quite a learning curve because there are so many new things, but every day has been an adventure.
The New:
  • Public Transportation // As someone from the southeast, this is weird. Sure, we had busses in Chattanooga, but aside from the free shuttle that ran on campus I never actually rode one. While we did elect to keep one car in the move (more on our adventures later!), commuting and almost any sightseeing is done via public transport. Not only are there busses (Muni), but there is also the subway (Bart), another division of busses not affiliated with Muni, cable cars, trolley cars, and Muni also has a train system that’s sort of like a Bart/bus hybrid. OH and there’s another train called the CalTrain, and I don’t understand where it comes from or where it goes. Also, while Oakland has Bart, it also has it’s own bus system as well. It gets confusing really quickly. Thankfully, there’s one card to pay for any of it instead of having to keep track of different fares and Google Maps has a great public transport integration. I’ll also be getting a bike in the near future which should negate a lot of the bus and trolley travel I’ve had to do to explore!
  • Greenery // There are plants everywhere here. I’m not sure if this is a thing unique to San Francisco or if it’s just California in general, but it is nothing to be walking down the street and suddenly feel like you’re in a botanical garden. Not only are there palm trees and a wide variety of flowers, but also some of the biggest succulents I’ve ever seen.
  • Options // The Paradox of Choice is alive and well, and fully illustrated in a city like this! There’s no simple picking of a restaurant. You have to pick a type of cuisine, a price point, and a neighborhood, all before you can even begin. Having almost anything at my fingertips is amazing, but it can be a little overwhelming when you have to comb through 20 sushi restaurants that are all basically the same!
The Weird:
  • Distance // Because I flew, I don’t think my brain can fully comprehend that I’m literally across the country. I still get homesick pangs and miss my family, but I don’t have the perspective that I’m a 4 day drive away (which is probably for the best!). Harley said that he felt the same way when he flew out here to interview, but driving it gave him a whole different mindset on just how far it is.
  • Weather // I’m not actually sure that my legs will ever be exposed to sunshine again. A lot of people are familiar with Karl the Fog, but there’s actually so many complications that go into planning for the weather here. For one, it’s about 10 degrees warmer in Oakland on average. Getting on the Bart is always hot and sticky, no matter the weather outside. Once you’re in the city, depending on what neighborhood you’re going to there can be 20 degrees of discrepancy in temperature. On top of that, the tall buildings seem to channel the wind from the bay directly down the city streets, which is making hair styling impossible. I’ve been experimenting and it takes about 3 layers to begin to be comfortable, but if you’re going to be near the water or out after dark it should be at least 4. They tell me that September and October are warm here, but I just don’t know if I’m buying it!
The Amazing:
  • Variety // I am amazed at all the variety here, and more importantly the welcoming tone at which the city’s residents accept it. I am seriously in awe every time I discover a new neighborhood, or just see something neat waiting for the subway! So many different types of people happily exist over 7 square miles and have learned to get along. Coming from the American south, where thick lines are often drawn between different types of people, this is probably my favorite thing about being here.
  • Views // As you’ll see on my Instagram, the views here are amazing. I’ve gotten so many great pictures just walking down the street. I’ve been trying to pay attention – aka not always stare at my phone – and there are so many great things to see. Just wandering around the city you’re almost guaranteed to find something neat.



In the upcoming posts, I’ll go over some of the sights we’ve seen and some more things about getting acclimated to the city! I really cannot recommend San Francisco enough and am so excited to be able to share this experience with everyone.

Move, Phase One.

Phase one of the move is fully underway (aka the part where Harley drives across the country and I hang out with my family).

Originally we were planning on leaving Chattanooga on Sunday, but since Harley’s mom offered to help us we bumped up our move date to Saturday to give them more time for their drive. While that did lead to a week of panic-packing, now that it’s all said and done things actually went much smoother than I imagined. With the help from our amazing parents, we got the entire apartment loaded up in about 3 hours to give you an idea!

It’s amazing to me how easy it is to stress out about stuff, and the things I’ve become illogically attached to. Nothing makes you reevaluate what’s important to you (logical or not) then having to determine whether it should make a 37 hour journey. While I had no trouble throwing away plates and glasses I’ve had since college, throwing out our tupperware assortment filled me with a deep sense of sadness. By that same token, Harley needed to keep his tshirt collection in it’s entirety but had no problem leaving the majority of his hockey gear. I insisted on a few weird things too, like books, mugs, and of course the plants!

Currently, baby Bird and I are staying with my parents and Harley has completed the first leg of his journey. On Wednesday afternoon I’ll be flying out from CHA, having a layover in CLT, and meeting Harley in SFO. We’ll probably stay in our company-provided housing for a few days until our bed and furniture arrives, and then (finally!) we’ll have a home again!

For someone with terrible anxiety I’m fairly resilient to change, but not having a home base definitely takes a toll on me. It doesn’t help that I loved the apartment we lived at, and I’m going in nearly blind to our new place. I’m so sure everything will work out just fine, it’s just hard to keep that in sight at times. I’m trying to focus on the exciting parts, like getting to furnish a new place and getting Bird a cat condo.

After the flight, I’ll be sure to do a post about cats on planes, because I’m sure that will be quite an experience as well. Until then, I’m just trying not to panic.