Oakland…many surprises…

I’ll not lie:  I had some nervousness about the fact that I had accepted a work contract in…shudder….Oakland, CA.  I mean, who hasn’t heard about Oakland?  Unfriendliest city, gang riots, violence, crime galore….I had even promised myself that that was one place I would never work….BUT here I am… and in place of all the aforementioned frightening scenarios, I have found a foodie’s paradise, beautiful neighborhoods, parks and trails too innumerable to mention, organic markets, coffee shops, bookstores, delightful and welcoming people, dogs, and of course, my beloved ocean…

In a nutshell, that describes my first few days here in the East Bay Area.  I arrived from a lovely, but LONG two-day drive down Hwy 101 from Portland.

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Stunning ocean views, Redwood forests, Oregon sand dunes…unfortunately, I was, as usual with a new assignment and agency, attempting to finish last minute paperwork and testing demands on the road and had to race through the last day of my drive to get my blood drawn, only to be called and told that my work start date had been pushed back a week…lovely.

IMG_8996yep, had to climb over this train as my first introduction to Oakland…and then realized I had crossed the street needlessly and had to wait as it rattled endlessly by to RE-cross the street.  My navigational skills at their finest.

Having rented a room here sight unseen, I had little idea of the housing situation I was going to be living in, so had many surprises when I pulled up to the address given me.  First: safe and friendly – most important:).  Three young kids in the house?: yeah, that would have been nice to know…  A dog and cat.(Yay!)  Everyone lives on the same floor and my room is just off the main hallway?…not so cool.

My landlady took me exploring around Berkeley and grocery shopping.  Organic produce heaven…I had a great time (over)buying fresh produce and delighted in other specialty shops featuring international cheeses, flavored vinegars, Spanish almonds, locally raised meats, wines, gourmet coffees, freshly baked breads…I had a lovely little repast of cheese, wine, almonds and olives that night!! Just missing some good company.

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My first week is almost complete here and I’ve packed a lot in:  one of my top goals while here to GET BACK IN SHAPE.  Ironic that about this time last year I completed my first marathon up in this city…I found a gym that I already love.  Super great, fun atmosphere.  All classes so none of that awkward self-conscious walk-in-the-gym&attempt-to-work-out-on-your-own type of thing.  Currently so stiff and sore from the last two days’ workouts that it will be a miracle if I can creak my bones over there again today.  But I. Am. Determined:)

Had a great day with my cousin yesterday driving down the coast and having lunch in Half Moon Bay.  Hiked a bit to work off all the seafood we ate. And best news of all, my good friend, Dr. Cat from LA is coming up to visit this weekend!! SO excited:) Hope you all are happy and healthy.  Miss my family and friends.  Come visit anytime.  Hugs.

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