Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Being in Oakland

Lake Merritt
After the Symposium, I got three whole days to try and see the people who are important to me, eat amazing food, walk my old neighborhood haunts, and be immersed in Bay Area culture, which is profoundly different than Columbus culture.

Friday was my first completely at-leisure day. I was dropped off in Temescal, one of my old neighborhoods (pre-gentrification- there was no tapas bar when I lived there, I'll tell you that!) and went to Peet's to get some Russian Caravan tea to take home and then to Sagrada.

How to describe this store? It is an interfaith store selling books, music, statuary, and other things for so many different faiths and beliefs. I almost bought a gorgeous stained glass mezuzah for our doorway* but instead opted for a reclaimed wood redwood shrine for a statue (to hang on the wall), a recycled glass lightcatcher with a black crescent moon and star from El Salvador, and a book for Rowan (Starhawk's The Last Wild Witch).

At Dia de los Muertos in Fruitvale.
I then BARTed to Fruitvale and had breakfast with a long-time friend. We have known one another for at least a decade, and knew each other before we are who we are today. We have both changed in such amazing and positive ways and a lot of the ways that we have changed have surprise people, even ourselves. We laughed and caught up and shared lives for almost three hours at an amazing taqueria that makes their own tortillas and salsa, and is awesometastically delicious.

After that, I walked around the Bay. Fruitvale, which hosts the best Dia de los Muertos celebration in the Bay. Piedmont, which is super tony now- even more than it was when I lived here. I ended up going to a  favorite patisserie (I have yet to find one in Columbus that is even close in quality) and then a Himalayan import outlet and getting a few things there for myself and as gifts for folks back home.

I was picked up by my Witch mama and we went to Pacific East mall in El Cerrito. I wanted to get Rowan My Neighbor Totoro schwag, since it is his favorite movie. I love it too- and we borrowed it form the libary and now he talks about it constantly. Sadly, it is almost always checked out and he hasn't seen it again (Netflix streaming, you fail me here!). So this mall was the perfect place to go. I got a copy of the movie, plus a Totoro backpack and my Witch mama got Rowan a stuffed Catbus with a tiny Totoro inside. We then had a delicious hot pot meal with lamb, fish balls, veggies, and beef in our spicy delicious broth.

Saturday, I headed into San Francisco to breakfast with yet another beloved friend at a Mexican seafood place. I had glorious raw oysters to begin, then garlic prawns and fried tilapia in an amazing garlic sauce. I had glorious company and I am excited that this beautiful person is moving to Pittsburgh in a couple years and will only be three hours away! Whee!

I then travelled to the Richmond, to spend the rest of the day and evening with beloved friends that my partner and I met in our midwifery birth class. This class changed our lives in so many ways- we have these fantastic friends (who almost moved to Columbus with us, but because of the horrible oppressive laws in Ohio regarding same-sex second parent adoptions, they are moving to Pittsburgh instead.), one of our friends decided to become a midwife, and my son has a best friend (their daughter, born a week after Rowan).

We went to Ocean Beach together (A delight! I was not expecting to see the ocean this trip but I miss it so much so I am glad we did), dined together, and played together. I had not seen their daughter in 7 months (they visited Ohio over Hannukah last year and we went to see them) and she is a hoot!

I spent the night at their place and in the morning hoofed it to transit so that I could attend First Unitarian Church of Oakland's services. After seeing some folks there that I love and participating in worship, I went to Chaos Cabaret, a Radical Faerie sanctuary in north Oakland.

They had agreed to let me host a tea there and it was delightful to once again be immersed in Faedom. Queens singing at the top of their lungs while cooking lunch and making jokes. The smell of sage mixed with marijuana. The delight in everything sacred and shiny. We had tea and chatted, and then it was time for me to meet my ex-wife for sushi.

My ex and I were together for 10 years and are still friends. We Skype regularly and when I lived in the Bay we would have dinners together. She has agreed to teach Rowan math and science (she's a biologist) and sends him presents. It was fantastic to see her- but after all this socializing and "being on" for days at a time, I was sleepy. After twoish hours of catching up, I was ready for bed.

I am now getting ready to head for the airport to fly back home, to Columbus. Columbus is now home, and Oakland is only my hometown. That seems weird but right. I am so exited to see my partner and our son.

*I have a car mezuzah which has the traditional Jewish prayer on it, as well as some conjure (done by me) on that slip of paper as well. It is a charm of protection that packs a double wallop!

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like you had a wonderful trip! It sounds like such a wonderful atmosphere that I find myself wanting to use your post as a map and go visit myself!


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