Two Years in San Francisco: How I found myself engaged

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On Feb. 4, 2008, a slightly nervous Southern belle-turned-New Yorker, who was about as jittery as a coffee addict on his second week of withdrawal, boarded a JetBlue flight taking her away from all things she knew and which comforted her to a vast, unfamiliar landscape called California. She had no jobs lined up, no friends of which to speak in her new ‘hood, and no clue if the decision—packing up her life and completing changing course, all for a boy—was the right one.

She almost didn’t do it. In fact, over Christmas just a month prior, they discussed if it truly was the smart choice. She was leaving her in-house gigs of magazine editing in the global mecca for publishing, and had never once tried to make it as a freelancer. Sure, she had perseverance and drive, but would that be enough to make it—or a recipe to break it? She had cold feet, and up until the last minute, she didn’t know if she’d actually make it onto that plane. After all, while they’d known each other two-and-a-half years, they had only spent one of those in the same zip code, and that was living in a fairytale world far away from reality.

It worked out, of course—the job, the boy; but you all know that—and now she’s engaged to him, set to be married on May 22, 2010, after a 367-day engagement. She has more work than she could even imagine: Though it’s not always what she wants to be doing and she spends more time hustling for gigs than actual writing, she realizes in such a crappy job market, a steady income stream is a blessing, no matter how it materializes (edited to add: OK, it does slightly matter how it materializes; stripping and selling one’s organs on the black market are not jobs that she necessarily endorses).

She has friends who would bend over backward to help her in a pinch, close gal pals who were introduced to her via this space on the Internet, and others who are just a car ride (or flight) away, littered along the West Coast.

It’s ironic, yes, that on her two-year anniversary she will finally spend her first night in her new city home, after all the long drives and nights of dreaming of the day she’d finally be a city dweller again. You see, in an effort to save money, pay off some debt and eventually be able to afford a house to call their own, they worked their way down the Bay Area Peninsula, from his hometown of South San Francisco to San Mateo.

Little bits of their collective soul died here and there, living in such places where “the sidewalk rolls up at 8pm,” as her friend John might say, but they knew the end result would be that much sweeter. (Plus, she being a social creature made it a point to line up activities in the city at least every other day, so she didn’t fall prey to the curse of suburbia.)

Two years ago, she was trapped in an oscillating cycle—in both a professional and personal sense—from which she didn’t know if she’d ever find her way out. New York tends to do that to a girl, especially the wandering, lost twentysomethings it so often attracts, only to pick them up, beat them down repetitively like an abused puppy who doesn’t know any better but to keep coming back for more, and then scrape them off the sidewalk—wash, rinse, repeat.

Then, he came along; he gave her hope, he gave her an escape route, he gave her love. He gave her a second family far from her own, a home in a place more beautiful than she could ever imagine. And for all of that, she will be eternally grateful. Of course she is, it’s why she agreed to marry the boy after all.

  • February 4, 2010

    Awwwww. Congrats, you two!

  • February 4, 2010


  • February 4, 2010

    So excited for you both and I love to hear the “back story.” It’s hard to make decisions like you did and I’m so happy that it ended up being the best one for you both.

  • February 4, 2010

    So sweet. It’s amazing how many great things can come from following your heart. Congrats on your second (AKA cotton) anniversary.

  • February 4, 2010

    Very sweet & heartfelt! You are an amazing writer!

  • February 4, 2010

    Courage is one of those muscles that’s really tough to strengthen. Looks like you’re pretty buff there 😉

  • February 4, 2010


  • February 4, 2010

    Sometimes you just have to take the leap, and love is certainly worth it.

  • February 4, 2010

    This is beautifully written (as usual)! Welcome to the city, dear! We’re all glad that you migrated west two years ago!

  • February 4, 2010

    Congrats on your new home! I’ve always wanted to live in the city, and maybe one of these days I will.

    I’m sorry to hear that you were only in Mammoth for 48 hours, a grueling 48 at that. Maybe next time you come you have more free time to enjoy the slopes. I’m still not sure if I will make it to Tahoe in March but I will try. We keep missing each other!

  • February 4, 2010

    Just a few more months!!! Hooray!!!

  • February 4, 2010

    I can’t believe it’s only/already been two years! You’ve made this city your own, that’s for sure. We’re glad you’re here. 🙂

  • February 4, 2010

    Such a lovely entry! Congrats on the new place and on finding such joy!

  • February 4, 2010

    happy anniversary!

  • February 4, 2010
    Briel K.

    That’s funny. Today is my 4 year anniversary of living in LA! 🙂

    Congrats on the new home!

  • February 4, 2010

    I love this. Here’s to your next great adventure as Mr. & Mrs.!

  • February 4, 2010

    Ahhh, California. I’m a California girl who left because of the husband’s job and now can’t get back. CA is wonderful…hope you are enjoying it!

  • February 4, 2010
    Locusts and Wild Honey

    This has to be my favorite post ever. Awesome writing and really touching. I’m so glad California has been kind to you and you’ve decided to stick around.

  • February 4, 2010

    Well, you know what they say: “What doesn’t kill you will probably end up getting you married.”

    Congratulations on your promotion to super-happy super-badass!

  • February 4, 2010

    Congratulations! Shows that sometimes the scariest things turn out to be the best things.

  • February 5, 2010

    Ah, come on. How could you resist a monkey that wears sunglasses? My voodoo doll of seduction ensured you’d board that plane. Mwaaa!

  • February 5, 2010

    Sooo happy life turned out the way it did for you girl! XOXOX

  • February 5, 2010
    Caitlin @ Roaming Tales

    So now that you’re in the city, you’ll have to come over for dinner SOON!

  • February 6, 2010

    Yay – just goes to show that courage leads to great things. I remember having dinner and later, coffee at Port Authority in January 2008 and talking about your plans to move out west.

    Really glad things worked out and you love it out there. And I’m so happy for you and SVV and so bummed that our weddings are overlapping each other in an inconvenient way!

  • February 10, 2010
    Sensibly sassy

    how beautiful.
    Congratulations you two!

  • February 11, 2010

    I love you guys, I’ve never met you in person, but I do. Congrats!

  • February 11, 2010


    It was two years ago, that my boy and I decided to tie the knot, and that too, on the third of feb- for this and more, ur post is special.

    Happier times ahead- enjoy!

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