10 Things I'll Miss About the Bay Area

10 Things I'll Miss About the Bay Area

Just a few things I'll miss while away at school

Leaving for college in Seattle means I have to leave my home in San Jose. I never truly realized how much I love and appreciate growing up in the Bay Area - living only 30 miles away from Santa Cruz beaches, amazing coffee in every city, and spending the day in San Francisco but still make it home in time for my favorite show's new episode.

Here are some of the things I will miss about moving away along with photos I've taken over the years:

1. Fresh Produce

One of the joys of living in San Jose is the food is sourced locally and the quality is amazing. We've got artichokes from Castroville, farlic from Gilroy, strawberries from Watsonville, grapes from Napa Valley, etc.

2. Everything is within two hours of each other.

San Jose is in the South Bay which means I am 30 miles from Santa Cruz, 50 miles to San Francisco, and 60 miles from Monterey Bay. There are so many fun things to do for all ages. You could take the kids to the Monterey Bay Aquarium one day and take the adults wine tasting in Napa the next.

3. Good Italian Home Cooking

Besides New York or Chicago, the Bay Area has some of the best original Italian cuisine. Whether it's at home or in restaurants, all the old family recipes brought over from Italy are still being made today. No one can make Cioppino like an Italian from the Bay Area.

4. In-n-Out Burger

The closest In-n-Out to Seattle is in Medford, OR which happens to be about 445 miles away. It used to only be 2.4 miles away from me.

5. The coffee scene is very, very good.

There are so many coffee shops that I can't get in Seattle. I know Seattle is known for coffee, but the Bay has got some good shops too. For example, Barefoot, Verve, Four Barrel, all good roasting companies.

6. Great pride in our sports teams

We're home to some of the greatest sports team: The San Francisco Giants, Golden State Warriors, San Jose Sharks, etc. I'm going to become that one Non-Seahawk or Anti-Mariner fan seen at the games.

7. Did I mention In-n-Out?

I'm going to dearly miss the animal fries.

8. The Bay Area Language

Everyone knows that using the words "hella" or "rad" or "dude" are excessively used in the Bay and that is true. I'm going to miss not being asked if I say those words because yes, I do. I can already hear the judgement I'll be hearing in Seattle about being from "Cali." No one calls it "Cali"; It's California guys. And yes, we call a large group of people "guys." Get over it.

9. Amazing variety of people

I don't know of another area where there can be such great cohesion between the techies, tree-huggers, and suburban parents. There's also a great diversity of cultures. Being in Silicon Valley and Bay Area, there's a mix of Asian, Mexican, Italian, and many other cultures.

10. In-n-Out

It's that good.

Cover Image Credit: Samantha Ledbetter

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.


When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

SEE ALSO: They're Not Junkies, You're Just Uneducated

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

Cover Image Credit: http://crashingintolove.tumblr.com/post/62246881826/pieffysessanta-tumblr-com

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Friends Don’t Let Friends Be White Feminists

I am white. I am a feminist. But I try very hard to avoid being a "white feminist."


Preamble 1: I'm not sure if you're aware, but it's a humid, grey April afternoon and being a woman comes with extra challenges, to which I definitely did not agree but they were probably in some fine print that I skimmed. Bummer. Anyway, feminism! Feminism's place in 2019 is contested but I am coming from a place of having heard many of the sides; given that, it would be lovely if you would hear my side.

Preamble 2: Before I get into this topic, I want to acknowledge the place of privilege from which I come. Look at my fully Irish name, I am white. Believing in social, economic, and political gender equality, I am a feminist. But I try very hard to avoid being a "white feminist". As a student at Texas A&M;, a university that sometimes strays into homogeneity in both thought and demographic, I've been noticing a pattern in many conversations concerning gender equality. The pattern is that of white feminism.

White feminism is a Western-styled picking and choosing of feminism that entails a set of beliefs tolerating the ignorance of issues that mostly impact women of color.

Contrast this philosophy with intersectional feminism, which recognizes multiple identities and experiences within us, while promoting more united gender equality. Without intersectionality, our essence cannot stand against oppression and stand for equality without acknowledgment of the nuances of different historical struggles. As women, we face difficulties, but not all women face the same oppressions and marginalizations – and that cannot be overlooked in narratives.

As far as gendered-based violence goes, the Justice Department estimates that one in five women and one in seventy-one men will experience rape in the US. However, here's where the necessary nuances come in.

Women and men of color are more likely to experience this form of violence than white women or men. Women and men who are LGBTQ+are more likely to experience this form of violence than straight women or men. Lower income women and men are more likely to experience this form of violence than women or men in the highest income brackets.

So, yes, one in five women and one in seventy-one men are rape victims. But quoting that statistic without disambiguating the data can mislead readers or listeners of the ways that different identities amalgamate into this final number. Essentially, disproportional oppressions exist. All people are at risk for gendered violence, specifically rape, in America, but some people are more at risk.

If you need more of an explanation, think of the following analogy. White feminism is to intersectional feminism what #AllLivesMatter is to #BlackLivesMatter. Everyday Feminism contends, "the former's attempt at inclusiveness can actually erase the latter's acknowledgment of a unique issue that disproportionately affects a specific group of people".

If you ever find yourself guilty of white feminism, (I've been there!) know that we are all evolving. As long as you are open to education, we are all on the same side.

Here are three vital steps you can take to make your feminism intersectional!

1. Reflect on yourself. 

Reflect on your long-held beliefs based on your perspective alone could not apply to someone else. Reflect on your privileged experiences and acknowledge them for what they are.

2. Think about others. 

Once you've figured your internal state out from step one, you ought to look at the experiences of others with the same level of validity as your own. Ethically, feminism focuses on equality. Yes, that means stopping sexism, but it also expands to mean stopping complicated systemic oppressions that affect more than just white women. That said, white feminists are not the enemy in the fight for equality, rather, they are underinformed.

3. Don’t be afraid to grow. 

Say you were wrong. There's less shame in it than you think. In fact, I genuinely wish our culture was more forgiving of people who made an honest mistake in their past, but their hearts were/are in the right place.

Allow yourself to move onwards and upwards. We are all works-in-progress. We are all striving for better versions of ourselves. Intention is everything and your intention should be to always learn.

Intersectional feminism is challenging, like all educations. If you're doing it right, it should force you to think and even make you feel a little bit uncomfortable. After all, while feminism is here to help, it is not here for your (or my) comfort.

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