In June of 2013 I was just getting released from the hospital after a week long stay. I was admitted for a severe asthma attack and it look nearly the entire 7 days for the swelling in my lungs to recede enough for the medicine to actually be effective. I left feeling weak, afraid, and like my dreams would have to be on stand by while I focused on my health.
However, right before my hospital stay I had been interviewing for a permanent position with Invisible Children, a non-profit located in San Diego for which I had interned before, and while I didn’t end up getting the job, I had made it through the entire interview process and was already looking at apartments and neighborhoods in my favorite city. My heart was set on moving, but more than that, the interview opportunity and the process of looking at apartments in case I did get the job seemed to prove to myself that I could move to San Diego. Apartments were more expensive than Albuquerque, sure, but surely reasonable. I was good at my job in retail and was confident I could find another one, and Justin (my now husband but we had only been dating around 8 months at this time) was also in on the idea and had been wanting to move to southern California as long as I had. So we made it happen.
Justin’s dad just so happened to be driving to Orange County to help Justin’s brother move, so I hopped in the car for a free ride, and a few days later took the Amtrak down to San Diego and lived on my friend’s couch for like 4 weeks while I worked on finding a job and an apartment. (Side note- find friends in this world who will let you live on their couch for a month. This generosity is the ONLY reason I was able to move and have the life I live now.)
After a few weeks of interviews and of walking through malls shamelessly asking if the hiring manager was at whatever store I could find, I found a temporary part time job, which got me (barely) qualified for an apartment near downtown, and Justin came out to meet me after a long month by myself. We have called San Diego home since that day, until this month, when we moved up here to Garden Grove for a few reasons. But because of the way our move fell literally 2 days after we got home from our trip to France, I feel like I haven’t gotten the chance to share just how much I loved living in San Diego, and while this is definitely the right move for us, how much I’ll miss it.
San Diego is the perfect city in a lot of ways. Smaller than the other Californian metropolitan areas, close to the beach, ample outdoor space and beautiful public parks. San Diegans define themselves in a lot of ways by their neighborhoods, like little boroughs throughout town each of which have their own distinct feeling. PB, North Park, Banker’s Hill, Hillcrest, every San Diegan knows the vibe you get from each one and a million more.
San Diego is where I fell in love with running, and I’ve spent hundreds of hours running on its bays and beaches, through its parks and neighborhoods, damning its hills and crowds and hot afternoons. I’ve spent good days and bad days laying on its beaches and have spent years as the beneficiary of its relatively mild traffic if you worked in central SD like I did.
I love grabbing a beer with Justin while we explored new tastes or visited our old favorites for the millionth time in San Diego’s one of a kind beer culture. I loved making the San Diego zoo our happy hour spot because that’s just how cool the city is.
I love the people we met most of all. The people who married us, who I have traveled with, been through really good and really bad times with. I made nearly all of my adult friendships in San Diego, and they are so special to me.
I came into my own as a professional in San Diego. I learned what I was and wasn’t good at, focused in on what I wanted to spend my time doing, and eventually completed Grad School fully supported by San Diego’s cute coffee shops.
I loved spending Comic Con weekend wandering through the city that fully embraces its nerdy travelers, and sitting next to someone dressed as Wonder Woman and Pikachu at a bar or on the trolley. I’ll surely miss San Diego more than usual this weekend while Comic Con is on.
I had the opportunity to call my sister my roommate for 3 of those years, and living together with her (and Justin!) as adults was a time in my life that I won’t forget.
I love the community and culture of the city more than anywhere else I’ve lived, I love the extremely casual and laid back mood of virtually the entire city, I love the close beaches, the coffee and restaurant scene, the beer culture, the expansive public spaces and running paths, and just literally all the small details about San Diego. For the last nearly 10 years, since my first internship there, it’s been a place where my heart just feels at home. A place of refuge and comfort and joy and it will forever be the most special place to me.