the first year (looking back)

I left my heart in SF, so I hoped to end up here or at least somewhere close. Somewhere close turned out to be just right.

Tomorrow, it would have been a year since we first moved here. There were some struggles, but I felt comfortable almost instantly. I only missed family, friends and the food back home, and maybe some really good old haunts that I used to frequent with either family or friends.

Since the company I work for is based in Alameda, we decided to live there as well. It is known to the Bay Area as “The Island”, home to an old US Navy air station (NAS Alameda), a decorated warship of the Pacific war (USS Hornet CV-12) and home as well to some of the most interesting food establishments in the East Bay. The suburban vibe is prevalent, the pace of life is quite relaxed. The first time I visited here, I somewhat wished for settling down and starting my family here. God is good for blessing us with that opportunity.

Everyone who knows me well knows I am a sports guy, and the Bay Area has one of the most diverse sports sceneries in America – San Francisco has its storied teams – the 49ers in the NFL, the Giants in the major leagues; Oakland has its Raiders and the Athletics, and the Golden State Warriors in the NBA, with the teams representing both cities having had history in their respective point of both winning and in some cases, recent futility. Either way, we are lucky to have so much teams to root for and watch.

It was a challenge to miss family gatherings – birthdays, reunions, holidays – things we took for granted back home, but it was also exciting to start our own traditions and celebrations. I never felt like being treated second class here. I guess it helps much more if one projects an aura of being open. People, I think, will only disrespect you once they see such in your actions. That means being careful with how you say or do things, but I guess that’s more of how it is in ANY culture.

So that’s it. First year, as the ones who have come before me have said, is the toughest, but it’s been a great challenge.

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