My boyfriend unpacks a strange little contraption from one of the kitchen boxes and examines it closely to unveil its mysteries. “It’s a stove-top espresso maker/dispenser,” I say.
My accumulations of exotic objects, from many years of traveling, were mostly stacked away in forgotten corners of my apartment in San Francisco. Moving to a house in Santa Rosa is unpacking many of the memories along with the collections.
I will not be unpacking everything. For example, I have decided to stack many of my boxes of books in the garage instead of restoring them to the bookshelves in my office. Considering that I do most of my reading on the iPad now, the books are going to slowly find their way to libraries, book-exchanges, and used-book stores. This choice already makes my current office feel expansive with space for objets d’art.
The unpacking experience is similar yet different for each room. As I hang my clothes into the closets, I notice that I can see them all in one glance because the dresses and pants and shirts are not compressed together into a small space. It’s not that my apartment in San Francisco was small but rather our house in Santa Rosa is bigger.
I can’t predict the shape that my emotions will take as I transition from an urban life in San Francisco to a suburban one in Santa Rosa. For the moment, however, I’m luxuriating in the pleasure of decompressing into a larger space.
While packing my 32nd box of books, I discover “Fierce Food” which has a cover photo of a grasshopper being speared by a fork and an armadillo being served in a spoon. I don’t recall where I picked up the book but it was probably in San Francisco, where I first tried chocolate-covered grasshoppers, fried larvae, and various other insect delicacies. The thought of ingesting insects might be repulsive to many people, but they are quite delicious (and a good source of protein).
When I tell people that I am leaving, some of the responses I get are:
1. But you are such a San Francisco woman!
2. I never thought you’d leave the city!
3. You are going to miss it and come back.
4. I wish I could leave this urban jungle too.
Am I a San Francisco woman? Yes, I have lived here longer than anywhere else and felt most at home here. I don’t think I really “fit-in” anywhere, however, and don’t really want to! San Francisco has been an adventure and I’ve made some wonderful friends. I have connections here that I want to maintain so I’ll be back to visit. Often.
I’m moving to Santa Rosa and look forward to exploring this lush and sunny paradise with soil and climate that allows for even the growth of tropical fruits like guava. I’ll miss the urban stories I often find in San Fransisco but I also need change to keep feeding my imagination and to force me to grow as a person.
I’m taking 32+ boxes of books with me. I’ll finally have time to read some of them, now that I’m removing myself from the endless distractions available in this city. I love San Francisco but I am taking my heart with me because I’m leaving to be with my boyfriend whose career change is leading him to Santa Rosa.