San Jose || South Haven

As promised, I'm going to stray away from the usual week synopsis I give and concentrate more on random thoughts that float around my head. I do want to thank everyone for the bday wishes, gifts and adventures to SF, the As game, Inglorious Bastards in Livermore, and Muir Woods and Sausalito. I had a great time!

Now that I've been in my apartment for a month (it's felt a lot longer), I've started to notice a very strange parallel to my cottage in South Haven and my place in San Jose. Of course, SJ doesn't have the clean air, Lake Michigan, blueberry trees, or thunderstorms, but I do seem to be continually reminded of our place on 77th street back in MI.

Anytime you explore a new place, you're never sure what you'll find. South Haven (SH) and SJ both brought new experiences. New places to see, things to do, stuff to brings with it a mix of emotions: excitement, worry, curiosity, frustration, suspense, pride...and I'm amazed at how it can be found in two very different corners of the US.

On the one hand you have South Haven, a sleepy little town on the eastern shoreline of Lake Michigan. We bought our cottage in 2002, uncertain of what we'd gotten ourselves into. I'd never moved anywhere new in my life; I grew up in our home in GP. Even though it was a vacation home, the temporary move from city suburb to rural township every few weeks was quite an experience. We learned how a septic tank worked, how to turn on the water pump, how to soften water...all things us townfolk never dealt with before. For me, it taught me the need to branch out a little and try new things outside the "bubble" of GP.

The house itself was a blank slate for us to etch in our own fashion. Wallpaper came down, paint was brushed and rolled on. Carpet torn up, gardens replanted, new and old furniture trucked in, assembled, shoved through the doors. It became the true "home away from home", a little escape from the GP. We settled into our routine, showing up every few weeks, shoveling ourselves out (and getting snowed in) in the winter, battling the woodpeckers and grass in the spring, gathering blueberries and laying on the beach in summer, and burning leaves and watching the rain in the fall.

We explored every little place and scene around South Haven. Festivals happen year round, selling everything from arts/crafts to blueberries. The Kal-Haven trail, stretching 33 miles between SH and Kalamazoo, offers a great bike ride (aside from passing the pig farm). You can head up to Saugatuck and feel cultured by all the art galleries, or you can stuff your face with a great burger down at Redamaks close to the (Indiana) border in New Buffalo. We have checked out every little shop on the three block main street in downtown, some two three times as businesses come and go. I can tell you where the best ice cream is, how to get to the dump, or what's inside the old abandoned camp down the street...

It's what I've always thought of as a cottage, a little place frozen in time that you can go to and always have a good time. Of course, not all is good. We've had our share of somber moments as well, especially when the sump pump failed, flooding the basement twice and leaving the new carpet and painted walls in shambles. But we picked up, cleaned the mess, and moved on.

So what's with San Jose then? I've moved to three different places in California since freshman year, so what's the big difference? The move alone reminded me of our cottage: nothing in the apartment and a van outside with my life in it. Now that I'm working, I can actually afford the things that make my place a home. My apartment is a yet another blank slate to fill with furniture, paintings, electronic gadgets, and all the trinkets that make a place yours.

I'm still in the exploration phase, just like we went through with SH. I'm searching out the best restaurants, the coolest bike rides, the strangest festivals, you name it. As the days go on, I branch out farther into this city, trying to find things to do and meet some new people. This can be the most exciting time in your new home, and I intend to push that to the limit.

Like SH, I'm sure I'll have my fair share of obsticles too, but seeing our place back in MI gives me confidence that I can survive on my own and make a great place to live out here in the Bay Area. Of course I'm uncertain what will come next half the time, but that's half the fun right? For all of you moving on from college or just moving somewhere new, I say go out, find the most random things to do, go to places and events you never would of thought to go to. You might just find something or someone really cool. Look at me, I've gone to more art shows in the past month or two than I'm been in the past ten years! Am I a true connoisseur? Nah, I'm just checking out what there is to do. You will probably come across a few things that aren't your style (I haven't really crossed one of those yet), but you just move on to the next thing on the list.

To me, a routine sucks the energy and fun right out of a new place. What?! Matt doesn't like routine? Of course I do, but you gotta keep mixing it up and trying out everything when you're new, otherwise you'll just get stuck in a rut. My "To Do" lists get longer everyday, but I'm having a good time adding more to the lists while crossing off a few items at a time.

With time, I'm sure the routine will come, as it always does...everyone likes routine, no matter how much you deny it. But by then, I hope that I can call SJ my "new home", just like SH became my "home away from home".

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS


Nicole said...

When I moved from the Bay Area to Placerville, I became a mountain girl! Septic tanks, water pumps, woodpeckers and all. Despite the fact that my mom thinks I'm afraid of dirt.

Fredne said...

Action Tank Industries Pty Ltd

Septic Wastewater System (AES). Presby Environmental has developed the world’s most practical and effective wastewater system (AES), combining superior treatment with ease of installation and fantastic cost advantages. The next generation of wastewater technology has arrived.

Post a Comment