"Are you moving to Berkeley to be closer to Ikea?"

 The ONE BIG MAN  joked as he struggled to get our overstuffed Ektorp sofa down the narrow stairway of our soon to be ex-apartment complex and out on to the street where his ONE BIG TRUCK was double parked.   

"Ha ha Ha, everybody is a comedian!" I answered pretending to be a good natured woman who doesn't mind a little joking around.  But the truth is I was annoyed.  I had been putting up with  barely disguised insults, pointed questions, and sometimes angry accusations from my so called friends since the moment my husband Simon and I closed escrow on what we hoped would be our dream 1940's era bungalow on Berkeley's Northside.  And now I was getting grief from the movers too?  I didn't feel like justifying anything to movers or to anyone else for that matter. 

But still.... why WERE we moving to Berkeley? We didn't have kids, (or any plans to ever make them) so the legendary Berkeley Schools aren't a factor. And neither Simon or I had jobs that were moving to the East Bay, so cutting down on commutes wasn't a factor either.  The truth is, we were moving to Berkeley because it's where we could afford an actual house, with an actual garden. We were ready to own our own little piece of earth and doing that in San Francisco was financially impossible. 


all these silly photos are from my instagram, /stylewylde. You should probably follow me there.

Of course, no one seemed to care that Berkeley was where we could afford, because everyone seemed to think that the "honor" of living inside the 7x7 square miles that make up San Francisco was the ONLY thing that mattered. And our willful rejection of that honor was seen as a betrayal. Ok, maybe betrayal is a bit strong, but it was definitely seen as a rebellion, and an unimaginable one at that.  I mean why wouldn't we continue living in a 600 square foot apartment that had only 1 closet and a serious mold problem instead of moving  to the sort-of-suburb/hippie hood that had tons of character and a direct B.A.R.T. line into the city when we needed it? Clearly, we were the crazy ones for moving to Berkeley, or so we were told nearly everyday.

Now five years later we are older, wiser, (I'm blonder!) and have had a lot of ups and downs with owning our own house, and with Berkeley in general.  Some aspects of living here we love and some aspects drive us to drink.   

AuthorCynthia Anderson
CategoriesText, Images