November 9, 2010

Spoiled Rotten

As we think of moving next summer, I'm realizing how spoiled I've become. Honestly, when we moved to the Bay area, nestling into our little apartment half-way between San Francisco and San Jose, I resisted falling in love.

Autumn is my favorite time of year and the weather here is always autumn, never summer or winter. Warm days when the sun shines accompanied by cool evenings which mean we never have to put away the down comforter. Locals complain about winter, but it's just a bit of rain with sunny days in-between.

On the east coast, it was EXTREMELY rare to see an Asian / Caucasian couple where the Asian was the male. We'd never seen anyone older than us who fit the pattern until we moved here. In the Bay area, it seems like the default is for a mixed race couple. I'm working with Junior High girls at church. I meet the girls before the parents. As a result, I've had some faux pas where I didn't connect the right kid with the right parent until I saw both parents together. Oops, he's obviously not the parent of the cute, quiet redhead, since he's a tall brunette Caucasian and his wife is a petite Philipina, they must belong to the girl who looks Persian.

With CalTrain running up and down the Peninsula, it's normal for all classes of people to take advantage of public transportation. The bike culture is deeply ingrained here. Sure, it was challenging, but it was totally doable to survive with only one car. I value walkability and having public transport as a viable alternative to driving.

The food culture here has truly corrupted us. Sure it all costs an arm and a leg, but there's a vast array of great food choices. I knew we'd become snobs when we were underwhelmed by Portland's best restaurant (granted, the wait staff seemed flustered to serve a table of 11, so the food may have sat around and dried out). Farmers Markets run year-round, there's a market in each 'town' (aka neighborhood), and most markets take place within sight of the train station.

On a personal level, I LOVE the climbing gym. It's huge, has tons of workout equipment, tall walls laid out by amazing climbers and a great community of other climbers. As a comparison, it's part of a chain of gyms between San Jose and San Francisco. At 40,000 sq. ft., the one I use is the largest of the three. Portland's single climbing gym is 12,500 sq. ft. Dallas has one that is 20,000. Neither are as tall as mine. Having two women to climb alongside is also an amazing joy for me. The fact that we're venturing outside is phenomenal and one of my griefs about leaving.

Of course all of this comes with a price tag. The cost for the weather is the brown hills and the gray-green foliage on the native trees. For housing? "You can't get a $600,ooo fixer upper". Jrex has paid a high price being at Stanf0rd. They are notoriously slow and disorganized unless you're an "It" person. His advisor "Isn't" and Jrex certainly isn't even on their care-about radar.

So, sure, we're ready to move, but as much as I've resisted, I've become accustomed to what we have here. Nothing else will compare. I'm sure there will be compensations, but it's hard to not what THIS with lower housing costs. Surely that's not too much to ask?


Snickollet said...

I must know: which restaurant in PDX?

OTRgirl said...

Paley's Place.

Rachel said...

I remember how reluctant you were to leave Baltimore, so this post made me smile.

I know what you mean. I still miss the Bay Area. But I don't think it's a sustainable place to live unless you're loaded, or resigned to renting forever.

Demographics are very important to me, though. It's nice to see other couples like us around, and it's absolutely essential for my daughter to be around other kids like herself.

Aimee said...

Sounds like a lovely place to live. Wherever you end up, I hope you find other things that spoil you in a similar way. :-)

otr mama said...

Bah, Humbug! You'll grow to LOVE Portland, too! I'll get Mr. Beachy to comisserate with you.

Anonymous said...

At lunch today with OTRsis, I commented that the smart money was betting on Dallas. OTRsis had several replies, but she asked a stumper question: And where will she and Jrex hike?

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