My first hour and a half in Oakland was spent creeping along the freeway in rush hour traffic in an attempt to reach my second cousin’s (my mom’s cousin) house. Jason, his wife, Heather, and their children, Jessmine and Jeremy, kindly hosted my mother and I while we were in the area. Within a few days, Jason offered me to stay until I drove to Santa Barbara for yoga teacher training. The house was empty most of the week from everyone being at work or school and he figured I could save some money practicing at the same yoga studio. So with that said, I crashed on my cousin’s futon for awhile.
It was great. A yoga studio downtown, Flying Studios, with an open schedule and wide variety of classes was only a few minutes away. Two weeks of unlimited classes for twenty five bucks, sold. I had been practicing yoga for over two years at my home base, Prana Yoga Center, but have only ventured outside the studio sparingly. Frequently practicing at Flying Studios for more than just a few drop-in classes granted me a broader view of yoga. I was getting the vibe of another environment and how it compares to where I am from. Finding the similarities and differences, some subtle and some not, I was able to discover new perspectives that made me feel grateful of my roots.
Sticking around Oakland made me feel like the Lambert’s random cousin Cody from the 90s television sitcom Step by Step, living out of my car and spontaneously making cameos in my relative’s lives. I became the long, lost relative from Chicago, hanging out and doing yoga all day. I was honored to get to know each one of my cousins and greatly appreciated their family dynamic. Respect and care was shown amongst them all, but camaraderie existed as well. I loved being submerged in it and I am fortunate to have had the opportunity.
Thanks to Couchsurfing I made a friend in the area, who is quite inspirational. Greg is a talented musician with plenty of experience and past travels to entertain many evenings. I felt special the first night I met him because of the private concert he put on in his living room. Little did I know I would be sitting in that living room a month later writing this exact sentence. I subleased Greg’s room while he was out of town to ground myself for a week or two. I have experienced so much the last few months that I wanted a moment to stabilize and process it all. The wonderful people, amazing places, and abundant knowledge deserve plenty of time to be absorbed.
Oakland is one of the only places that I have created a home away from home. Here I have created new roots, appreciated my old ones, and continued growth toward my future. I was able to stop and reflect if I really want the dream I am so badly chasing. After six days of vigorously writing, yes I do. I know it will be worth whatever struggles I face and the support I have found here in Oakland alone only supports that it will all work out. With family, friends, a great community and BART to conveniently take me to downtown San Francisco, all is well on my end.