On Thanksgiving, I went to an annual party (I think its in its twentieth or so year) thrown by one of my dad’s college friends and had a great time hanging out at the top of the TransAmerica pyramid. Anyway, since I hadn’t been in the area for awhile, I got a number of questions about what I was doing nowadays. And I had a number of people asking why I was living in Berkeley instead of in San Francisco, and I always answered that it was cheaper in Berkeley. And that’s sort of true, but it’s obviously not the whole truth. Because if this was just about cost, then it’d be even cheaper ten miles to the north in Richmond or El Cerrito.
Really, the truth is that four years ago, in 2010, I visited the Bay Area on a weekend trip and ended up spending the night at the apartment of a college friend who lived in West Oakland. And his living situation looked so cool and his roommates looked so interesting that I just got a really good sense of the kind of life that a person could live out here. I mean, the dream of a person in their 20s is to live in a sunny apartment with your best friends and not have to work very hard, and that’s exactly what this guy had. I’m sure that plenty of people have that in San Francisco, too, but when I was 24 years old and thinking about quitting my World Bank job, I didn’t have their examples in front of me. All I had was the example of my friend in Oakland.
So I moved to Oakland and found a room and ended up hanging out five nights a week with that friend, and many of his friends–some of them were people I’d originally met on that original weekend trip–eventually became my very good friends, and that’s why I live in the East Bay.