Sunday, October 27, 2013


(Nesting in my reading chair on our Sunday afternoon at home.)

We had a getaway this weekend to San Francisco.

Though we live only four hours away, neither of us has spent much time just being in that city.  So we took some time off of work to drive over the hill and spent two and a half days there, mostly walking (and driving.  oh, the DRIVING.) and a bit of eating and coffee drinking and a healthy dose of "travelling is stressful so let's take it out on each other!"-ing.

Can I just say this?  I am so, so happy to be back in our home.  Not just our physical house (though I appreciate it all the more after the reminder of what the rental market is like in SF), but back in Reno as well.

For many years, I hated this city.  My family moved here from Fairbanks, Alaska, where I was born and had lived until just before I turned 15, to Reno the summer between my Freshman and Sophomore years of high school.  All I dreamed of for the first several years was escaping, and I tried.  I studied in Eugene, Oregon and then Madrid, Spain and partially filled out applications to other schools in the interim, always stopped by the fear of the crushing debt that would accompany such a transfer.  I complained about the layout of the city, of the arid landscape and...I complained about it all.  I wanted out.

But somewhere during those years, I started noticing how the mountains look like they've been draped with velvet when the high desert sun hits just right.  I started realizing what a blessing it is to be able to drive 40 minutes from my front door and find myself in some of the most beautiful wilderness areas in the world.  I went out for hikes and bike rides under endless blue skies all months of the year, only rarely encountering inclement weather.  People who refused to simply up and relocate to already established friendlier communities instead dug their roots even deeper into this one, having bike lanes installed all over the city, developing art collectives, building community food co-ops to rival the best of them, dedicating themselves to making and selling a perfect espresso, building urban farms and community bicycle cooperatives, opening restaurants and breweries rooted in local agriculture, injecting design into forgotten spaces, starting businesses and groups and all manner of join-togethers to make this community one people want to stay in, to thrive in.

It all worked.

And it still costs less than $800 to rent a house in a central neighborhood here.

And nobody cares if I don't put on mascara or wash my hair or put on a real-person outfit before going to the coffee shop for the Sunday morning crossword.

Also, the people.  They are kind.  Running into friends while engaging in the otherwise mundane is one of the greatest gifts of this community.

I dislike the tendency to try to prove one's city to be the best city; it's all so subjective, hopefully tainted heavily with one's sense of belonging to that city, which is a quality built over time rather than something inherent to any place.  So much of what I love about my home is that it is my home--the ease and pleasure of living in this city are important but secondary.

A few years ago, still intellectually convinced Reno wasn't the place for me, H and I were returning from a road trip and I remember driving back over the mountains to our eastern side and feeling my body and mind suddenly at peace.  I realized somewhere, amid all of that busy thinking I wanted to be elsewhere, thinking other cities would be better than ours or somehow more conducive to the kind of life I thought I wanted to live, my body and mind decided to root down right here.  It's a feeling I'm reminded of every time we drive or fly over our mountains, and every time I again feel grateful for a life tied to a home.

I hope you feel exactly the same about your place in this world.