© 2019 by JERRY GIVENS

Moving On

October 24, 2015

From June 30, 2014

 

About a year and a half ago, during one of those long winters we experience here in Michigan, I got my first real itch to move to a big city. Maybe it was caused by wanderlust, maybe I was bored and wished I was traveling, or maybe it was my intuition saying "Yup, it's time." Whatever the cause of this itch, it never went away, and it's only gotten stronger since.

 

Talking with friends, teachers, and mentors, I decided to do a little traveling to see what I liked from various cities around the states. That Spring, in early May, I flew down to the first city on my list, Miami, to visit for five days and to get a feel of the town. Miami is great. Great food, fun people, and no lack of things to do. Did I mention the food? I had some of the best pizza of my life (yes, in Miami) at little spot near Lincoln street with my friend Abdul (pictured right). I also spent way too much money, for which I feel no shame. 

 

I returned home to Kalamazoo with the "itch" that much stronger.
 

In July on 2013, I flew to the second city on my list, New York City. I stayed for almost a week, and spent a great chunk of that week trekking around Manhattan seeing literally everything. I climbed to the top of the Rock, saw Mama Mia on Broadway, explored the different neighborhoods, took a yoga workshop, biked Central Park... you get it. I did a lot. The one day I didn't explore the city, I explored Fire Island and got some sun. My good friend Joe was the best tour guide, racing across Manhattan with me for an entire week. I, too, had amazing food in New York. As you can tell, food is a big thing for me. I kind of love it.

 

I returned home to Kalamazoo once again and considered my first two option carefully, but couldn't make a decision. Time passed, I released a novel, then explored another option.

 

In November, I took a road trip from Kalamazoo to Nashville, TN. To be honest, I wasn't really considering Nashville as a place I'd want to move to. I was just visiting friends and I like to keep an open mind about these things. Nashville is a great town, and if I thought the food in New York and Miami was great...shoot. One word: Biscuits. The south does food right. I almost moved in on that account alone. During this visit, I saw Mary J. Blidge perform live, went to an old speakeasy (where I had my favorite drink ever), and had the best time with my friends. This was a reminder to me, more than anything else, that I did need to move on from Kalamazoo and experience what the rest of the world had to offer.

I returned to Nashville again in February, but my next and final city of consideration didn't come until May of this year. Of course, after the worst winter in human history.

Early in May of this year, I traveled to San Francisco, CA with my friend Mel to visit our friends Sandy and Suzanne (pictured left). I knew going in that this city would be a contender for my ultimate choice (because this is now a competition, right?). The visit was amazing, and we explored the East Bay, San Francisco's Mission and Fisherman's Warf neighborhoods, and spent a day north of the city at Muir Woods and Point Reyes. I also had a Crepe, which was the most important part (not really...but really). We packed so much into the several days we had there and I left feeling alive and excited for my next step.


When I got back to Kalamazoo, I knew that it was time to finally make a decision. I could easily stay here and just continue visiting random cities until I too many options to make a real decision, but my gut told me otherwise. It was finally time to decide, and finally time to go. I love Miami and will always go there to visit, but I don't know if I could really live there. The weather is great though. New York was close to being my choice, but something early on told me that it wasn't right, which is probably why I couldn't make a decision last summer. Again, Nashville wasn't ever really on the table, but no, it didn't win either. Great town, just can't see myself living there.

So I've chosen the San Francisco Bay area as my new location in which to live. On August 29th, I will pack up my little car and drive across the U.S. to the West Coast to set up my home. I know that's soon, for all of my Kalamazoo'ans, but as you've read this choice has been a long time coming and I'm ready for it. For those of you in Kalamazoo, I look forward to seeing you as often as I can before I leave, whether it be in yoga classes, out and about, or you can also call. Kalamazoo will always be a home for me, but for now I must go and experience the world.

San Francisco here I come...

GMG

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