01 June 2012

Oakland, CA, USA

West Oakland
I arrived in California two days ago and have my first dy of training for my summer camp job this evening.  I'm staying at my friend Celia's house in West Oakland, and the place is magical.  There are chickens and 2 cats.  We made a temporary room for me downstairs in the Garage, where her hair salon is eventually going to be.  Right now, I'm sitting and writing in the bright kitchen, yellow chairs, white table, turquoise cupboard and drinking coffee from Trader Joe's.
My first trip back to an American grocery store was shocking.  I spent $70, and I didn't even buy anything extravagant or fun!  I have grown too accustomed to Berlin prices.  In Berlin, I go to the Lidl or the PennyMarkt or sometime the Kaiser's, and if I buy 4 bags of stuff, it might come out to 25 or 30 €.  Food in America is expensive, people.
Walking down the street in West Oakland, I saw this on someone's garage.  The plant underneath the flag is called Nasturtium and is edible!

Also, folks are big on the small talk here, which I kind of forgot about.  You're expected to smile and say "Hi, how are you?" a lot, even if you don't have time to actively listen.  Everything here is so different to what I've gotten so used to.  The architecture, the culture, how everyone speaks English and I don't have to strain at all to understand the language around me.  Honestly, it's weird.  I am homesick for Berlin.  Coming back has made it painfully clear to me that the bay area is no longer my home.
Still, it is great to see Celia and Ra and Audrey.  I am so very excited about starting work on at summer camp on Monday! Yay for playing with kids!  Woo!  Also, there's the matter of all of my stuff.  I'm currently selling all my music, kitchen stuff and Sumsung Replenish Smartphone.  My records are quickly disappearing.  On Saturday, I'm going to my aunt and uncle's house in Berkeley to get some work clothes and see if there's anything that immediately jumps out and says, "Sell me!"
I think that books and clothes will be the most difficult to part with, though I already sold one record that was a large part of my identity for a very long time.  Strange and sort of cleansing.
I have most of the things I need in Berlin, materially, mentally and spiritually.  Still, when Celia said, "I met this girl who makes vegetable dresses and we're going to make a skirt out of plums!" It really made me miss the totally whimsical creativity that is so much the Bay Area.
I had never spent a lot of time in Oakland when I lived in San Francisco.  I went walking in West Oakland with my friend Audrey yesterday and we took a bunch of pictures.  I would like to share Oakland and San Francisco with my European friends in the same way I shared London, Berlin and Prague with my American readers.
From the other side of the pond,
-Harvey Rabbit
West Oakland
West Oakland
Celia's Backyard

Celia's Backyard
Celia's Backyard-Garden and Chicken Coop
Celia's Backyard

Celia's Backyard- The Deck
Celia's Backyard

Celia's Backyard- CHICKENS!
Celia's backyard- Fresh eggs!
Kitchen table

Celia's Kitchen

Things I'm not quite ready to deal with!

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