I will miss my time in the Bay Area of CA. nearly 9 years that were formative and transformative. My landing in San Francisco, over 8 years ago, was a rough, to say the least. In less than 12 months, I lost both of my parents, my god-brother, a brother on my dad's side of the family, and one of my elder brothers of my fraternity chapter. Loss of relationships. Mourning a place that was home, but no longer is.
At the same time, it was really fresh, new and exciting. I finally got a job in the Bay (after 20+ interviews, and 20+ no offers, in less than 3 years). I'd finally be a colleague of Andrew's. I got to build software at scale for one of the much-revered FAANG companies. I made some new friends. I started running again. A lot. I ran 15 half marathons in 2015. I lost weight. I gained weight. I started hiking and walking. I got a license and got my first car (look, I'm a native NYer. We don't drive unless we need to lol).
San Francisco was a lot of fun, despite the amount of loss I endured in my first year. Music festivals, new foods, concerts, venues, the whole 9.
Then I moved to Oakland. And Oakland is where I truly found a second home.
I lived downtown. I lived near the hills. I hiked a lot more. and more often. I found Jamaican food! (shouts to Level 13 and Backayard). I settled in. I switched jobs, first going to Pandora Radio, then starting my bootcamp teaching career. I found organizations with which to serve communities. I joined non-profit advisory boards. I became a Director of Engineering.
It was time for me to come East, though. For many reasons, all personal. I'd been working remote since 2017, so that part was easy-ish. COVID shutdown in 2020 impacted a lot of how I lived bi-coastal, and how I traveled and moved around. I switched jobs (yet again). However, I didn't move around as much. I gained weight. I was more isolated than was healthy for me. My quality of life overall was impacted. So... I came to Florida.
I'm closer to family, friends, and particular loved ones. I no longer need any of my 20 hoodies. I traded in cold water at the beach for warm water and better beaches year-round. I drive more and have to be more deliberate about walking more. All the latin and caribbean food I've missed, I now have in abundance. However, that also means I have a lot less options for tacos, Korean BBQ (though Cote & Drunken Dragon are amazing), Ramen (found some good spots!), hot pot, or Korean Fried Chicken. Eh, it's all a trade-off.
I've made it though. As I start my first year as a Florida resident, I look forward to what lies ahead. And the next trip we book to go visit the Bay and get a taste of my second home again.