It's been five years since I moved to Oakland from Portland. When I handed in my driver's license, the woman at the DMV joked, "You're going the wrong way!" I smiled, but my heart wasn't in it - I had by no means come to terms with my geographical change.
These five years have taught me a lot: primarily, the truth to the saying "wherever you go, there you are" - I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to adapt to my new life. I've also learned that of all the places I could have settled in the Bay Area, Oakland is definitely the best fit for me. It's walkable, has friendly residents, and is full of interesting shops, great food, and wonderful old buildings. My neighborhood is probably the best I'll ever live in, and I appreciate my short commute daily.
But that's not the message the world hears about Oakland. Instead, we're famous for our crime, our riots, and now our activist movement.
I won't be at tomorrow's general strike, partly because I've got a ticket to an event, and partly because I'm a coward - I almost expect things to go poorly after dark. Yet if people like me don't go stand up for Oakland, who will?
I've lived in three cities and Oakland occupies its share of my heart. I hope the demonstrators can keep the peace tomorrow and in the days going forward. Perhaps I'll even make it out to the next demonstration!