I was excited to move back to California last year. I knew I would miss our life and our friends in DC, but California was home and I was glad to be going back. But as much as I thought of California as home, it has taken some time for Mountain View to become home. The home in California in my mind, my heart, was our little house in Santa Cruz, our friends' home in Berkeley, my dad's house in Martinez. It was all the places I used to go to and the things I used to do. Mountain View was...Mountain View. It was nicer than I expected it to be, but it wasn't what I knew. It's been nearly a year now, but at last it is happening, at last I feel at home. It's not that I'm any more settled into our apartment or that I've finally found a routine--those things happened ages ago. It was just one simple thing: at last month's Thursday Night Live, I ran into someone I knew.
It's funny how that has made such a difference to me, and how happy I have been since then to wave to people I know at the farmer's market or have a friend suddenly sit down beside me while I'm watching Adriana play somewhere. When we moved here, I knew exactly one person in the area. I joined a playgroup and La Leche League and attended yoga classes. All of those things were hard for me. I'm an introvert. I joke with Brian that the reason I keep friends so long is that I'm terrified (and too socially inept) to make new ones. And while that may not be the reason that I keep my old friends around, the fear is certainly real. But being lonely is worse. It's not as though I've forged a lot of close, personal friendships here. Those will come with time (would they come sooner if it weren't so easy to maintain older friendships in this world of cell phones and email?), but seeing a friendly face and stopping to chat at the grocery store or the mall or the farmer's market or the playground has made an important enough difference for now.