Oakland, My Love.

I am a born-and-raised San Jose native. My parents have been in the Bay Area since the early 1980s and have been avid fans of traveling and the San Francisco 49ers. Therefore, day trips to San Francisco were quite commonplace since early childhood.

Do not jump to conclusions. I absolutely love San Francisco (even though this piece has Oakland in its title).

Oakland, on the other hand, has always been a sort of sleepy, silent maritime neighbor to San Francisco for my family. It has always been there; it has always existed. We’ve known about it. Yes, that’s for sure.

It was only about five or six years ago that I truly visited Oakland — and for the first time, really. Driving through cities does not and will not count.

My introduction to this city was not in the most common of circumstances. The trip consisted of some business at the County of Alameda Clerk-Recorder’s Office, dinner at Rockin’ Crawfish on Foothill Blvd., and a quick stroll over to Lake Merritt.

I simply fell in love.

I had to come back — and I did just that, over and over again. Last year, I drove to Oak with some friends for my birthday and just enjoyed the intimacy with the city. This city gives me a nostalgia and feelings of a home.

What exactly is it about Oakland?

(The video above is from one of my trips up the 880 @ the city skyline)

Oakland is relatively quiet but speaks volumes. Continuously overshadowed by San Francisco and the Silicon Valley chaos, the city lovingly known as “ The Town” is like a diamond in the rough. Rich in culture and history, it has been at the epicenter of revolutionary movements. It has a sick coffee scene — and ask me about that; I love coffee. The food is amazing and packs punches with meals that smell like mum’s kitchen to those of a celebrity chef.

But these seem like very “image” type scenes that I am presenting to you; very surface. The true appeal of Oakland is the underlying vibe of the city. The people and their stories. The timelines you don’t hear and those I haven’t heard either. But that doesn’t deny their existence. Oakland is a mysterious gem. The only thing to truly discover is the feeling you have when you finally arrive.

If San Francisco is my childhood friend whom I have an undying loyalty for, Oakland is that friend who I met not too long ago, in a fiery spark, but feel I’ve known for years.

And let’s be honest — if I had Lake Merritt in my city, I’m not sure in how many other places I would choose to end up; it’s so special to me.

Oakland relaxes me.

Thank you — Oakland.

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