I have a very annoying habit of wanting to move into a new place at least 4 months before our current lease is up. I did it once in Charlotte and I just did it again a few weeks ago here in California. I think it has something to do with spring--the days get longer and the weather is nicer and I dream about living in a house with a big open kitchen; a yard that's fenced in for Ender to frolic about; and now that we're in California, a fruit tree of some kind or maybe a rose bush (or maybe even both).
So I get on Craigslist or Zillow and start looking, and suddenly every house I encounter becomes The House, and we have to go look at it immediately and should we get sub-leasers or look into just breaking our current lease? Poor Rob tags along with me to look at one or two places, and my intensity becomes so extreme that we both forget how stupid it would be to break a lease that only has four months left on it.
Luckily this time we decided to take a deep breath and just wait; and I came out of my frenzy a few days later kind of embarrassed about the woman who looked at The Tiniest House in San Jose and was willing to keep her dresser in the garage and take a door off its hinges in order to fit her bed in the bedroom.
That actually happened.
The next day we went to San Mateo to look at one more place before deciding officially to wait until September to do another tour, and the house was perfect except that Caltrain was too far away and there were no shuttle stops for Rob to get to work and the timing was just really off. It had a big backyard with tons of roses and plenty of room for Ender to run around, it was in our budget and had a little dining nook that we could use as an office, and the kitchen was large enough that we could put our dinner table (which we never actually use) in it. The bedrooms were large enough to hold a bed and some furniture. And then there was a Meyer lemon tree right off the front patio, from which I plucked one perfect, juicy lemon on our way back to the car.
When I was younger my family lived in Redwood City and I used to cross the street and go to my best friend Whitney's house. We would splash around in the pool and run around the side of the house, picking the Meyer lemons from the front yard; peeling and eating them like oranges. The smell of those lemons was so distinct, and so different from the regular ones you buy at the supermarket that as I sat there in the passenger seat of our car, I breathed it in again and remembered the sort of surreal detail that I've been here before--this is not my first time living in the Bay Area.
Sometimes on our way somewhere, without meaning to we'll drive by my old house and I'll remember exactly how it felt to stand in that front yard, to cross the street to Whitney's house for lemons and mac n' cheese, the way the lion statues in the park felt as I ran my tiny hands across their stone manes and tails.
I have spent a lot of the past 8 months rebelling against the fact that we're here for the long term, and I still find myself daydreaming about moving back to Charlotte, to a small city that's manageable and friendly and I can run into people I love by accident at the coffee shop. But the fact of the matter is that we don't live in Charlotte anymore, and whether it feels like it or not at times, the Bay Area is our home now.
I have a small group of friends in town and an extended family nearby, a new routine that includes so much Pure Barre (and when it comes to the blog hopefully a lot more writing and cooking), and in four months maybe we'll be in a house with a yard where Ender can splash around in the sprinkler and run around the side of the house on a hot day as I sit in the sun, peeling and eating a Meyer lemon like an orange; the same way I did back then.