Until Next Time…
By Laura Braden
If you haven’t read Ashley’s article on change, take a minute and do so. Per usual, she made me laugh (“Working in politics is no different than working in a carnival; we’re all just carnies looking for the next trick to bark”) and cry (“I hate moving, in general, for each space is so filled with memories that to leave them is akin to abandonment, as if those walls meant nothing at all.”).
And, Ashley’s piece inspired me to write the following…Because I’m one of her friends that is leaving Sacramento.
Announcing you’re moving cross-country brings out very mixed emotions – in yourself and the loved ones around you. To the ones I’m joining – joy and excitement. To the ones I’m leaving – sadness, dread and doubt. The pure definition of bittersweet.
And for the last week, I’ve been trying to write my final article for GOTG (well, not exactly true – but at least the last article written from California). I wanted it to be a real tribute to the city…I wanted to wax poetic about the mixed feelings I have about leaving my friends…But my comprehension of the English language is failing me. Everything sounds cliché and abstract…so please bear with me as I attempt to channel my inner Ashley Robinson…
I moved to Sacramento nearly five years ago to work for Governor Schwarzenegger. Having never stepped foot in the River City, I secured an apartment online (sight unseen), packed a few suitcases of clothes/knick knacks, said good-bye to DC, and embarked for the wild, wild West.
My first day at work was a lot like the first day at a new school… I simultaneously worried…Would they like me? Was I cut out for the job? As a defense mechanism I kept telling myself, you’re not here to make friends or have a good time – just keep your head down, do your job, learn as much as you can, and eventually move on to the next job on the bucket list.
But what emerged was deliciously surprising. On the very first day, two girls in the Governor’s office – Liz Beisler and Devon Carey (now Berrier) – took pity on me and made me their pet project. Did I need a hair salon recommendation? Definitely don’t eat lunch at such and such restaurant. What was I doing on Friday night? This isn’t DC – don’t take the bus to the mall. Did I want to join them for a shopping trip to San Francisco?
Day after day, they showed me the ropes and introduced me to others – Tiffany Moffatt, Elizabeth Ashford, Amelia Neufeld, Tracy Arnold, Manal Yamout to name a few – until slowly but surely, Sacramento started to feel like home.
Fast forward to today, and I am blessed to have some of the best friends a girl could ask for. Even though they haven’t known me for very long, they’ve supported me through divorce, break-ups, job/campaign stress, and all of life’s little moments in between. To say that I’m eternally grateful and forever loyal to them is the understatement of the century. I know everyone says it, but I really mean it when I say that I’m going to stay in touch and visit at least a few times a year.
But even more surprising is that what they did isn’t all that unique – they were just being true Sacramentans.
I believe that Sacramento is a rare gem of a city where (by and large) the people are friendly, laidback, non-judgmental and thoughtful to strangers and newcomers. If Bravo were to tape the “Real Housewives of Sacramento,” it would be the most boring series ever because people here simply aren’t all that catty or conniving. To quote an earlier GOTG article:
“There are so many things to love about Sacramento – friendly people, plethora of outdoor dining options, farmers markets to name a few. We may not be Los Angeles or San Francisco, but that’s just fine with us. Sacramento is filled with bright and ambitious people who are loyal and dedicated to improving the city. It truly is a diamond in the rough – a city where initiative and passion can reap serious rewards for young professionals.”
So for me, Sacramento was the perfect mix – political because it was the capital (but not overly political like DC) and charming (but with proximity to even more amazing places like Big Sur, Sonoma, Yosemite and San Francisco). If you’re young and passionate about making further improvements, the city will welcome you with open arms and treat you like a hometown regular.
Bottom line, life is always what you make of it – if you don’t put in any effort, how can you expect or feel entitled to get anything back? I fell in love with Sacramento and decided to plant as many roots as possible for as long as possible. And Sacramento rewarded me with amazing experiences and lifelong friendships.
So with a heavy heart, I thank everyone for being a part of my life – and for allowing me to be a part of yours. Like Lisa Page reminded me, “You’ll be back – even if for just a visit. So I’m not saying good-bye, I’m saying ‘until the next time I see you.’”
My Local Loves
Those who hate on Sacramento clearly haven’t spent enough time here. Regardless of your taste in food, libations, hobbies and entertainment, Sacramento has something for everyone. Here’s what I’ll miss most about SacTown…
- Butch & Nellie’s coffee shop (esp the Bombay Latte)
- Tania Voochen at Byuti Salon
- Ahi tartare at 58 Degrees
- ALL of the vintage stores
- Crest and Tower Theatre
- K Street combo at Mikuni’s
- Horse’s Neck at Shady Lady
- Riding my beach cruiser around town
- Chicken tikka masala at Kathmandu Kitchen
- The Dailey Method in Roseville
- ALL of the farmers markets
- Day drinking and giant sandwiches at BeachHut Deli
- ALL of the brunch options (but especially Capitol Garage)
- The gang at Mike’s Bikes
- The dirty martini at Back Door Lounge
- Sacramento’s amazing blogging community
- ….And of course GOTG!