First, I must apologize for my disappearance and lack of blogging. It’s been a busy, challenging, but fun couple of months. And since today is probably the first cloudy day since I’ve been here, and I’m sick and in bed, I thought today would be a good day to look back at my time here in San Diego.
I first arrived in mid-August, jobless, homeless, and friendless, except for one my of best friends from Philly. You see, Michaeleena decided to move out here around the same time I decided to move to the “Finest City in America.” She just happened to get here a week before I did, with an apartment, a job, and, luckily for me, a couch. I spent about 3 weeks sleeping on that couch, while spending every day on Craigslist looking for a job and an apartment. Though I was just coming off a high from the best summer of my life, it was a rough first couple of weeks in San Diego. The stresses of not having an income for over three months, struggling to find an apartment and a sane roommate, waiting to hear from potential employers, and a heat wave, were all taking it’s toll on me. A heat wave might not sound like a big deal, but when no one in San Diego has air conditioning (because it’s usually never needed) and you are sleeping on a couch, it’s bad. What I thought would be an easy transition was a lot more challenging than expected. And after I finally found an affordable apartment in Hillcrest, my desired neighborhood, I faced a week-long nightmare. You see, I freely gave over my large deposit to my new roommate I found on Craigslist without signing a lease… I just assumed it was the California way of life. I spent the following week before move-in freaking out, finding red-flag after red-flag, and accepting the fact that I’d just been played. Three months later, it’s worked out and my roommate is a cool guy, but I highly recommend being a bit more careful than I was.
Also, in the same week, I got two job offers, both of which I accepted. One, I loved, and the other, I hated. But I spent about a month at both, juggling a busy schedule of working 7 days a week, and many hours. With the help of the west coast’s hourly wage of $9.25/hour for tipped employees (On the east coast, it’s a tiny $2.83/hour, which pays only some of our taxes; we usually still owe taxes at the end of the year), I was able to get back on my feet and pay off a bunch of bills that had amassed from the past 3 months. And with a little financial stability, I quit the job I hated.
So it took a lot more time than I thought to get settled down, but with some sort of routine, I was able to enjoy everything San Diego has to offer…
The beaches here are beautiful. And easy to get to. It’s about a 5 minute drive from where I live. But since I don’t have a car (which you do kind of need out here), it’s a 30 minute bike ride, through some beautiful neighborhoods and a nice but also sketchy-at-times bike path. I usually end up at Ocean Beach (OB) since it’s the closest. It’s got a fun dog beach, volleyball courts, a long pier, and a ton of hippies. North of OB is Mission Beach and Pacific Beach. PB is definitely fun, with a ton of beach bars lining the shore. And just a bit farther north is La Jolla, one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen. It’s a nicer, wealthier town, with cliffs and beaches on the Pacific Ocean. There the famous seal cove where tons of these friendly sea animals lay out, take in the sun, and comically argue with each other.
The nightlife is great. There are a ton of different neighborhoods, all with their own scene. Hillcrest has a ton of gay bars and clubs. Some girlfriends and I found a home in Baja Betty’s where the bartenders welcomed us to San Diego via free shots and drinks. Warning: It’s a dangerous place for us. North Park has some cool bars too, including arcade-bar “Coin-Op Game Room” and a whiskey bar “Seven Grand.” And of course, there’s the Gaslamp. It’s basically the downtown bar and club scene lined with fun places all along 5th Street and in the surrounding areas. I work pretty close to the Gaslamp, so I venture out here pretty occasionally.
And the weather. Though today is cloudy, every day is just about always sunny and 80 degrees. I just spent Thanksgiving on the beach with 86 degree weather. I must admit I miss the Northeast seasons, the chilly air, and fall fashion. But then I just go to the beach and everything’s fine.
So three months into my new life here in San Diego, I’m settled in but still adjusting. I’m missing Philly quite a bit: my friends, my favorite bars, and how compact and small it is. But I’m learning about myself and a new part of the US.
Have you been to San Diego? What advice do you have for me?