Moving from London in 2005 to San Francisco was not that much of a big deal to me. I was hardened traveler with no worries or ties.
Seven years later with my husband and our 19-month-old baby girl, a massive move is eminent; we are relocating to the East Bay.
Not just the East Bay but Pleasanton. After toying with parts of Oakland, Castro Valley and Danville, we have decided to forgo any cosmopolitan components and are making the biggest move of our lives.
My husband Jim is an Orange County transplant and I am originally from the North of England. After an initial panic over not being able to get real tacos from a truck any time of the day, Jim decided that Pleasanton is not dissimilar from the OC and since he just scored a fab new corporate job, his life in a cube isn’t going to change too much.
However there will be no tamale lady flouncing her bath tub-made fare here, my love.
Since we are not in any position to buy nor would we want to in an unfamiliar place, we have rented a new home pretty close to the old part of Pleasanton, the bit where they still have a Western clothing shop selling horse feed and Wranglers and there’s a (I wonder if they have real tea in there?).
Searching for over three months in this vicinity was not an easy task. Unless we wanted a condo with a shared pool (to a British implant the thought of kids near water all day long was far too frightening), plus we really needed a yard and not a slither of moldy grass and somewhere to throw the stroller.
Being a huge fan of Craigslist, we used this as our main avenue to search for rentals.
Realizing quickly that the homes advertised on here were gone pretty quickly and all the agents we’d used kept saying we could not afford anything but a condo, we made a bold move. Jim posted a wanted ad with the price we wanted to pay and our specifications — one of them was that we wanted to rent from the owner, not third party.
That’s when we realized that there was an angel looking on us because we got a call, looked at the place the next day and signed the dotted line a day or so after. Lesson learned; in the States, if you ask, you get. Or maybe people in Pleasanton are, well, lovely. We even got the owner to drop the rent.
Don’t get me wrong, I am from a very small village and get the small-town lifestyle. However, I just don’t want to become a housewife of Anywhere Ville stuck in the burbs having to acclimate to everything; I’m coming from the Mission.
My new life is going to take some adjusting to; I’m already having palpitations at the thought of pot lucking with the neighbors and small talk over the garden fence. Mind you, at least I won’t have to scrub graffiti off my porch and rinse pee off my doorstep, leaving me oodles of time to make cake pops and vacuum my lawn.
Welcome to the real America. The America I emigrated to, with white picket fences and baseball-capped kids skate boarding to school. Where the pavements are pristine, all dogs are on a leash and themed flags adorn porch fronts.
I am sure if I had moved to the East Bay before I ever set eyes on San Francisco, I would have no qualms; however, I moved to San Francisco as I was looking for adventure, quick kicks and somewhere to blow the cash I’d earned selling my London home due to an engagement break up! I was coming to America with a kid in a candy store attitude and now finally my Bazooka bubble has burst. I have officially entered adulthood, motherhood and a new neighborhood.
Let’s hope this place lives up to its name, because it certainly has been a mission getting here.