Goodbye to Berkeley (by Carmen)
I hate goodbyes in any form. I dislike finishing a good book because I have to bid farewell to the characters I met. I dislike ending jobs because I have to leave the co-workers I’ve spent so much time with. The worst goodbyes are when you don’t know if you’ll ever see a person or place again.
Now I must say goodbye to the Bay Area, where I’ve lived for the better part of 9 years. There are many things I will miss. The view from my apartment, for instance. I absolutely love the view. The bright blue sky contrasts with the tree leaves. The branch that curves in such a way to give me privacy from neighbors (at least when there are leaves in spring). The squirrels that scurry along the telephone wires. I’ve been a grad student for the past few years and like to work at home. The beautiful view has kept me company through many hard months and for that I am grateful.
My view, however, is not the thing I will miss most. My wonderful, amazing and irreplaceable friends top that list. You guys rock. I will also long for the fresh and delicious produce available year round, the proximity to wine country in the north and mountains to the east, the great selection of restaurants, the ease of visiting family in Southern California.
I will miss Berkeley itself, to an extent. As an urbanist, I form relationships with cities. I guess you could say I have theoretical conversations with them. For example with San Francisco it’s something like, “I like you, I really do. Great food, lots of parks. You’d be even better if dropped that car habit of yours. Look, I can see why so many people leave their hearts with you. It’s just I don’t feel that spark between us, you know. Let’s just be friends.” My favorite city, London, on the other hand, “It’s never a dull moment with you. You really have it all – history, great culture, and the Underground. Oh how I love the Underground. That 6 month fling we had was magical. Do we really have to stay apart just because your prime minister is anti-immigrant?” Hong Kong, “You’re so intriguing. I love your style – mixing old with new, east with west. Let’s get to know each other better over dim sum.”
I’ve known Berkeley intimately for so many years. I’ve been to most of it’s restaurants, bars, cafes, farmers markets, theaters, stores. I met Nathan here. It has been a good city to me, even if a bit quiet for my tastes. But now this era comes to an end…time to say goodbye…I’ll keep it simple.
“Goodbye, Berkeley. It’s been great but we always knew it wouldn’t be forever. I’ll see you around sometime.”