So much of fall for me is in the rain--those damp, chilly mornings that are so specific to October and November. It's nostalgic and cozy, like a warm caramel latte in the early morning before homeroom at Roanoke Catholic School; or a soft plaid scarf wrapped around your shoulders at a Hampden-Sydney football tailgate.
The past few days here in the Bay Area have been drizzly and grey and while I think that's a bit unusual for Silicon Valley, it somehow made me feel more at home here than I have felt since we moved almost four weeks ago.
Having our friends visit last week was so fun. We were essentially hosting houseguests, but it was also a vacation because we don't really wake up every morning feeling like we live here. I would tiptoe over boxes and clutter in the dining room to boil water on the stove for coffee in the French press because I still didn't know where the Chemex filters were. I re-wore the same two or three sweaters in the evenings because the rest of my fall wardrobe is still packed away in a box, shoved temporarily into a closet.
We explored Sonoma and Napa, spent a day in San Francisco, visited Sausalito, and hiked among the redwoods and Muir Beach. We drove two hours south to see Monterey and visit Carmel-by-the-Sea by way of 17 Mile Drive, which was like stepping into a different world. Huge waves crashed onto rocks and wild ocean wind whipped around us as we stood on the edge of almost every vista along the way, taking it all in.
A lot of California feels like stepping into a different world.
The time difference, the palm trees, the weather. How out of place you feel when you forget your reusable bags at the grocery store. The way it feels on a Sunday at 8:00 or 9:00PM when you want to call your brother because you played phone tag all weekend, but you aren't sure if it's too late. Trading the Atlantic for the Pacific, and having it so much closer to you than the former ever was. And how odd it is to replace places like NoDa and South End with Palo Alto and Menlo Park.
But then the rain came, and I stood on a sidewalk in San Francisco with one of my best friends in the world. We were soaked through our jackets and the shopping bag we carried started to fall apart, yet we couldn't help but laugh as not one, but two Uber drivers struggled to find us. San Francisco is a city that I have been to often, but it feels new to me every time, and as I raised my hand to hail a taxi I couldn't believe that all of the places we had been in the past week were part of my new life.
We rode to The Mission and found our husbands at the bar of a cozy little taco spot we had decided on for dinner, and after a round of drinks we sat tucked away at a corner table to enjoy one last dinner together before the trip was over.
On the way home we dropped Tina and Michael off at the airport to catch a redeye back to the East Coast, and it was then that I felt less like a vacationer and more like a host. We dragged bags out of the trunk and hugged once more until the holidays; and then it was back to our house, just me and Rob.
I peeled my wet clothes off and got into bed; with the chilly California night drifting in through our open window.
And it rained some more.