My Dear Oakland,
When we first met, I wasn’t sure about you, and even felt a bit intimidated by you. But I promised myself I would keep an open mind. You welcomed me so warmly, and your community shone so brightly, that before I knew it, I had fallen head-over-heels in love with you. Just like any sweet love affair, ours has been an eventful journey with ups and downs, twists and turns, so many wonderful experiences, and a few difficulties and disappointments. I became a better, deeper ME living in “the Town,” learning more about myself and the world through countless runs and walks around your gorgeous Lake Merritt, where exercise was only a secondary byproduct to the fascinating sights and sounds -- Salsa By the Lake, slack-liners, street musicians, local artisans, drum circles, frisbee games, to name only a few. Your "Art and Soul" fed my heart and soul, while your vast and eclectic variety of restaurants fed my belly. We shared adventures at your farmer’s markets, movie theaters, BART trains, local shops, boutiques, bars and coffee shops. Most special of all, Oakland, are your people. You are home to what is truly a bright and colorful parade of culture and humanity - a strong community of people who are proud to live in the 510, and who embrace diversity, solidarity, and respect for others.
One of the most difficult parts of a relationship is recognizing when it’s time to go. There is always a part of me that wants to stay, and this time is no exception. It has been an honor to live with you and grow with you, Oaktown, and what a wonderful ride it has been! I will cherish it forever. But now it's time to start a new chapter. It is with heavy heart and tearful eyes that I end this chapter, and turn the page to the next adventure in a nearby city, just across the bridge.… Although my zip code is changing, my deep love and respect for you, Oakland, never will. You have my allegiance forever, and I will always be your biggest fan. …and don’t you worry, I will cross that beautiful new bridge and visit you often!!
I hella love you, Oakland!