We belong somewhere like this.
Those were the words I wrote in an email to my husband, Brent, inspired by San Francisco on my first business trip to the city. Several years passed and my passion for the city intensified, eventually spreading deep through Brent as well. We were sick with desire to pick up and start over with the cold fog on our bags. But at the time, we were a newly married couple with mortgage payments and careers firmly fixing us in Raleigh, North Carolina. I've learned in life that when you really want something... I mean, really, deep down inside of you want something, things have a way of working out. In some strange twist of fate, San Francisco opened itself up to us when my company offered me a new position and the opportunity to transfer to the Bay Area. In a matter of a few weeks and many boxes, our house was sold, our cars too... our belongings either packed away in the attics of our family or sold to someone off craigslist.
We were minimal. Only the bare essentials were placed on a truck and headed for Baker St., San Francisco. Arriving here was like exhaling. I'd been so fearful for so long that somehow our impossible stroke of luck was going to fall away and leave us short of realizing our dream. The mornng of our move, we flew out on the first flight from RDU, our two small dogs in carriers under our seats. We slept on the floor of an empty apartment for three days until the moving truck made its way to our door.
Our tiny new apartment was a mere fraction of the size of our former home, and yet it felt like a kingdom to us. The Victorian ceilings were high enough to hold all of our expectations. The old uneven hardwoods supported our dancing feet and the old furniture we dragged in off the street. We explored our new neighborhood like wide-eyed children. We absorbed everything. Everyone. In two months time, I went from never having ridden a city bus to navigating from one neighborhood to the next without even looking up.
Our relationship and trust in one another grew exponentially in our new city. We discovered new places, took winding rides to the top of Twin Peaks and to the edge of the Cliff House. I smelled and breathed and viewed everything on the back of my husband's motorcycle, never needing to say a word, feeling his energy and mine and that of the city abounding. In the beginning we were euphoric.
And then as time passed, we began to feel comfortable. We slept through grocery carts clanging past our windows and people laughing loudly at 3am. We learned where to find a killer barbeque sandwich, delicious Pho, and the best hardware store to purchase paint. We began to know people. Shop owners, neighbors, new friends. Our dream was growing into a solid new life. Brent found work as an art assistant for an established San Francisco artist and his music has been welcomed by venues and patrons across the city.
San Francisco has changed both of us. Every day we throw back the covers, open the blinds, and expect to be charmed. We close our eyes each night, with expectations met. We are living in San Francisco deliriously, passionately, feverishly... because it was true all along. We belonged somewhere like this.