Late next week I'm flying to California to visit Rob and look for a place to live, and once again the timing has slapped me in the face with a weird mixture of excitement, sadness, and nostalgia.
A year ago Rob and I were traveling to California for a trip that was half vacation and half work, which I was super excited about because it was the first time I had managed to come up with a project that included sponsored travel. We left Charlotte, still not totally feeling at home (although we had made some friends and I felt uneasy leaving Ender for a full week). It was muggy and hot, just as it is this week, and I drank a glass of prosecco and ate a spicy tuna roll in the airport while we waited to board our flight to San Francisco.
We got off the plane and immediately felt refreshed--it was windy and cool and sprinkling the finest little mist of rain into our faces on the sidewalk as we looked around for our Uber, wrapping our sweaters around us more tightly.
Our first California weekend was spent in San Francisco, slowly exploring for a few days on our own before we headed up to Sonoma to work on a few things with La Crema. I'll always remember that trip, but the part I never, ever want to forget is the weekend afterward, when we returned to San Francisco and spent our last few days with friends from Roanoke. By that point, Rob was completely enamored with the Bay Area and I saw him light up when we visited our friend Jordan at work and got a tour of what seemed to me to be the quintessential example of a Bay Area tech startup.
We tagged along with Jordan at his apartment before meeting more friends for dinner. The next day we sat cross-legged on the living room floor around his coffee table, eating eggs and white rice and drinking coffee from a Chemex. The city felt like it was just waiting for us, and I think that even after a year, it still is. We stopped for more coffee and shopped around in sweet little boutiques here and there before heading to the Ferry Building to meet Logan and Jillian, our friends from the night before.
"What should we do?" someone asked, and without much hesitation Jillian spoke up with an enthusiastic suggestion that we catch a ferry to Sausalito for the afternoon. So that's exactly what we did.
I will remember forever the way it felt to sit on the rocky shore of Bar Bocce with a glass of rosé in my hand and look out at the water, wondering what could be next for us. So much of our move to Charlotte was based on not wanting to move again, on wanting to be done exploring new homes and making new friends, but here I was sitting on the opposite side of the country on a beach with the wind in my hair and sun in my eyes and people I felt like I had known forever by my side, and I didn't feel like I was that far away from "home," whatever that might be.
We spent the afternoon laughing and drinking and ended up back in the city that night with beers and pizza in the park as the sun set. The next day we were flying back to North Carolina, so we hugged everyone again and as we said our goodbyes I remember saying "we'll be back, we'll be back."
And even if I didn't know it at the time, I really did mean it.