1. Kelley and Quinn
When my friend Kelley moved from Boston to the Bay Area last year, she (cruelly) sent me a picture of her and BFF Quinn, with the comment "There's someone missing from this picture."
Looking back, that was probably the first moment I seriously considered moving. It took another three months and a particularly vile New England ice storm to finalize my decision. I can say I moved for a better climate, for the amazing local food scene, for a more relaxed vibe, whatever. In the end, my friends were a huge part of why I moved.
2. There are flowers. In the middle of OCTOBER. And crazy Dr. Seuss-looking shit growing everywhere.
3. You can buy booze everywhere, every day of the week, at any time. I still find this so exciting that I refuse to buy booze at an actual liquor store. This is clearly less exciting to everyone else who lives here, because thus far I'm the only one I've seen at CVS buying beer, vodka, gum and tampons.
4. The Farmer's Markets. Dear god.
5. Vosges Bacon Chocolate bars. This has nothing to do with California, except that my local grocery store sells both the milk and dark chocolate varieties. And they are AWESOME.
Plus, their cheese section looks like this:
Oh yeah, did I mention I'm in California?
Yep, I am now a proud resident of Oakland, California in a neighborhood that rates quite highly on the awesomeness scale. Everything I need to be happy in a four block radius: the public library, used bookstores, video stores, a comic shop, bars (in my two favorite flavors: "filthy dive" and "tiki"), a movie theater, a half dozen coffee shops and - get this - a yarn shop.
There's even a weekly knitting group that meets every Saturday, at the library! Which I heard about from my next-door neighbor, who's also a knitter.
Add in fantastic friends who put me up while I was apartment hunting and who ferried me on countless shopping excursions and moved piles and piles of boxes and offered their husbands up for shelf assembly/electronics hook-up duties, and you've got a pretty painless cross-country move. As these things go.
I've even been doing some knitting. But more on that later.