Two weeks into a month in Spain and I’m getting my fill of summer. Drinking in the sun and heat like a cat stretches into a slice of morning sunlight. A long weekend at the beach. Cold drinks and sand between my toes. Warm, heavy breezes that turn to passing rainstorms. Breakfast outside in the crisp morning breeze. Mornings in the air-conditioned library working on my thesis. Lunch with the family on the patio. Dinner outside with friends at tables in the plaza, then ice cream at midnight on the bridge over the river. Sleeping night after night with no covers, hot until the morning breeze sets in. Listening to the rise and fall of cicadas. Smelling jasmine and sunscreen and dry grass. Wearing flip-flops and sundresses every day.
Moving to a place with summer is becoming an obsession. Next year: breakfast or dinner on our own patio in July!
I am determined to move out of this city. At the same time, I am determined to enjoy it now that my mind is made up. And there is little I enjoy more than taking walks with the camera, snapping pictures right and left, getting ice cream with JJ, or coffee, or appetizers at the Ferry Building.
Our first apartment was down by the baseball park, and we often walked along the Embarcadero to the Ferry Building and downtown, taking pictures of the bridge or the old fireboat house, talking about technology and education, or dreaming about the future. “I’ve always wanted to live in San Francisco” I said, “and here we are”. It was so right for that time in our lives.
Now, we’re in our fourth house here, counting a short-term sublet last summer. Six years have gone by, with one away in Barcelona. We’re in a quiet neighborhood, and our house is the bottom floor of a 3-story Victorian, with views of buildings climbing the hills behind, and the brown peaks of the highest point in the city. It’s very quiet for the city, with easy parking, a small back deck, and a garden down below. The neighborhood is clean, and the shops are delightful. There’s a cafe 3 blocks away where I like to go work on my dissertation, or just write.
It’s the nicest place we’ve lived so far. But this summer, I’ve finally realized that as much as I’ve enjoyed living in San Francisco, it’s not home. I am ready to grow roots, but not here. I need to be somewhere that’s warmer, wilder-feeling with more open space. Somewhere where we can own a house, paint the walls any color we want, garden and know it’s ours. I’m not a city girl, it turns out!
So we are talking about moving. And I am trying to make this feel like home in the meantime.
It makes me wonder: When did you feel like you’d really put down roots somewhere? What made you feel that way? Was it children? Buying a house? Getting a job you loved? Something else?