Thursday, October 09, 2008

5 Things I Heart About The Bay Area

Unofficially tagged by Allison. I miss Oregon particularly badly this time of year, so it's a good time to be reminded of what I do genuinely love about the San Francisco Bay Area.

1. The diversity. Nowhere is this more beautifully demonstrated than my very own place of employment. In an office of about 100 people, nearly every ethnicity (generally speaking) seems to be represented -- caucasian people are definitely not in majority. I love that. Besides that, we also have the full range of liberal, conservative, gay (and out!), straight, arts-loving, sports-loving... and that is reflective of the area around me. Oakland is one of the most diverse cities in America and it's completely fantastic. I really, really love this.

2. The choices of activities. There is so much to do here. Everything is available. High culture, low culture, any kind of outdoor activity -- most of it within two hours' drive, with skiing available within 3-1/2 hours' drive. Obscure movies? Absolutely. Opera, complete with galas? Check. Subcultures? In spades. Big-name concerts? All the time. I don't get out and take full advantage as much as I'd like, but it's nice to know it's available anytime.

3. Amazing food. And I'm not just talking about restaurants, although certainly that is true. The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the foodie hot centers of the US, and we have great weather for growing food, so we have tons of amazing produce nearly all year round. In addition, I can get any kind of ingredient for any kind of recipe, easily. If I want to make foo-foo fancy ethnic (or American) chow at home, it's quite do-able. Just expensive. :) But -- it certainly is nice for someone like me, who likes to explore recipes, to be able to just run up to Berkeley to get various Indian spices and then over to Fruitvale for specific Mexican ingredients, and then to downtown Oakland for authentic Chinese noodles. This too, I very much appreciate.

4. Good weather. I say this begrudgingly because "sunny and nice" is not my favorite kind of weather. Still, it does come in handy, because it's never freezing, and it's (almost) never unbearably hot, and you don't come home caked in mud like some other places that I heart. I do miss the green, and the mists, and the cozy rainy weekends, but it is pretty nice to not have to deal with 'weather' when I don't want to.

5. And, okay, yes, the natural beauty. Again, the Bay Area will always come second in my heart for scenery, but you don't have to go far to see amazing terrain of whatever sort you like. Beaches, ocean bluffs, redwood forests, mountains, rock formations, rivers, streams, fields... it's all right here. The desert isn't far, and mountain lakes are easy to get to. I can't imagine living far away from the ocean -- I do really like feeling it close. And I do love redwoods very much.

There's lots of things I wish were different -- I can't stand the traffic, and the overpopulation gets really old. Not to mention the cost of living here. But really, it's pretty fantastic most of the time. I do realize how lucky I am to live in such a great place. And when it rains, and I'm cozy inside and listening to the rain, then all my ducks are in a row. Then I have it all.


Allison said...

I was hoping you would play along. :)

I still have not been to northern CA! It is high time I make that a priority. I really want to do the drive up the coast at some point, too.

Sometimes I miss the obvious changing seasons (spring-summer-fall) they have back east, and the variety of weather. But I definitely do not miss the winters. Talk about dark, depressing, and bone-chillingly cold! Thinking of that makes 110 degree summer days not sound so bad.

Stefanie said...

The Bay Area certainly is beautiful. It's been ages since I've been there. I love the fog. I wish we got more fog in Minneapolis. It is a rarity and when we do get it it doesn't stay around long nor is it very thick.