One year ago today, Eric and I watched a van full of all our worldly possessions hit the road, and then we had one last lunch at Bakesale Betty before heading for the highway ourselves. It was so weird getting on the ramp and merging into our lane, knowing that we were not coming back. We were excited for a new adventure and grateful to have a place waiting for us on the other side, but it certainly was bittersweet saying goodbye to the Bay area, where we lived for so many years, where we met and fell in love, and where our dearest friends lived. I drove the first leg and Eric took the second. For almost the entirety of his three hours of driving, we were behind this SUV with a bike on the back, one of the wheels spinning like crazy. It made Eric smile, and so it made me smile too.
It’s so strange moving to a new place as an adult. When you head to college, everyone is just as disoriented as you are, and the same can also be said, to some extent, about grad school. You’re a bunch of people with common interests sharing your lives and lunches for a nice chunk of years. I lived in Berkeley for seven years, longer than I have anywhere except Memphis, where I grew up. And still, I wasn’t necessarily frightened by the change, but was just trying to take it all in, with Eric’s hand in mine.
It took us a long time to get unpacked and settled and make this place our own, but it does feel that way now (even if we still have more plans for things we want to do). I do miss our old apartments in Oakland–mine, where I first cooked Eric dinner, where he asked me an esoteric question about Dostoevsky and was rewarded with a kiss, where I first sobbed in the comfort of his arms. I miss all three of the places he lived while we were dating: the first one, where we watched a torrential January downpour over mugs of hot chocolate; the second one, where we made our first batch of jam and watched the winter Olympics together; and the third one, where we had so many happy dinners, and, after one of them, he got down on one knee, told me how much he loved me, and asked me to marry him. No distance in time or space can take away the treasures that those places hold. It makes me smile to think that wherever the future takes us, I will always look back on this apartment as our first home after we got married. Here’s to the memories it already holds, and all the ones yet to come.