There’s No Place Like Home

By Ailish

There’s this perfect view of the bay that you can really only see on a clear summer afternoon. It’s when you’re driving on the 980 overpass just as you’ve merged from either the 24 or the 580. You’re sitting right above the West Oakland and Downtown Oakland border. The best part about this view is how temporary it is, especially if you’re the one driving. On a good day, you can see the San Francisco Skyline, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Sausalito. I love this view. I live for this view. It’s everything I love about Oakland. The idea that you’re right here in the greatest city in the world, with an unmatched view of the second greatest city in the world.


As I’m writing this, I’m currently on a plane, with no discernible view, flying back to Los Angeles from Oakland. I never really imagined myself living in LA, but my school and career choice brought me here. I’m not mad about it, but having grown up in Oakland it’s really hard for me to like any other city. However, the longer I live in LA, the more it starts to feel like home and that’s what’s most scary.


Now, I visit Oakland with my boyfriend David who, before dating me, had only visited San Francisco as a boy. Inevitably I’ll take him around these places with rich memories for me.


“That’s the liquor store where I got my fake ID taken away. It’s still on their wall of shame.”


“That’s the parking spot where I broke my headlight because I was so distracted after seeing Fruitvale Station.”


“That’s the donut shop where we would hang out late at night deciding what to do because we were too young to go to bars.”


The city is FULL of these memories, but is that all they are now? Memories?


I’m not there long enough to make the kind of memories you make when you live in a place long term. I’ve only lived in LA for two years, but slowly LA is becoming more of my home than Oakland and I think I need to start embracing that instead of living in this middle space where no place feels like my actual home.


It really hit me when I was navigating myself and David back to my parent’s house on BART. Usually, I’ll take the Fremont train to get back to the Fruitvale Station from San Francisco, but we had had a few drinks and it wasn’t on its way so I decided we would take a different train and transfer. But that train went too far and when we got off I still didn’t know where to catch the Fremont Train. It turns out, the Fremont train is now called Warm Springs and I had no idea this change had been made. I had been in town a month ago. But that solidified it for me.


The Bay and Oakland will always be my home, be the place I grew up and have my heart. And why shouldn’t it? My family and best friends still live there, I have memories and history there that can’t be taken away. But I live in LA and will for the foreseeable future. LA certainly has it’s benefits like the beach, old Hollywood history, incredible theaters and beautiful people to look at. I also can’t deny the fact that I’ve slowly and slightly become somewhat of an LA person. I dress a little better, I always consider my plans with the flow of traffic, I’m way more health conscious, I’m much flakier on plans. That SNL bit about The Californians, I finally understand it now. After two years of living here, I’m also kind of okay with becoming more of an LA person. If anything, LA is just shaping me into a more interesting and well-rounded person that began with Oakland.