Fancy Cat

The Raleigh World: The Beginning

The most Frequently Asked Question I get since I moved here is, “Why Raleigh?” The answer has many facets internally but is really rather simple. I knew I needed to get out of the Bay Area and I knew that I was entering a point in my life where I needed to really push the boundaries of my comfort zone. There was no growth staying on the west coast, where I lived my entire life. I needed a very different environment that was going to challenge me in many different ways.

As I was pondering the map of the United States, Raleigh kept coming up for me. So a year ago this week I flew from Oakland to Raleigh to check out the area (and also see if I could exist in southern summer weather without dropping dead).

From Oaktown to Oak City
From Oaktown to Oak City

I know I look pissed off in this photo but I hadn’t slept and the sun/cloud combination was glaring. I actually was pretty damn happy that I found a parking garage that charged me only $7 for ALL-FRIKKIN-DAY PARKING. It’s next to impossible to find parking in San Francisco that doesn’t charge $7 an hour.

I had a couple of ideas of where I wanted to go on my visit but otherwise left my itinerary wide open. Raleigh was completely new to me and I wanted to dip back and forth into touristy stuff and places locals frequent.

map
Getting my bearings in downtown Raleigh.

Raleigh was incredibly friendly and welcoming: I never felt like a stranger. Now that I’ve lived here for nearly six months, I still find kindness and friendliness abound (well, maybe not so much on the freeways…holy crap people, save the tailgating for the sporting events!).

Be Kind
Concrete Wisdom

On my last evening at my AirBnB I was talking with my host and I think we both knew that I would be back. I think I was looking for reasons to NOT move here and if anything the heat and humidity would have been the dealbreaker. I fared a lot better than I thought I would, once I learned that carrying a bottle of water around with me was mandatory, if I didn’t want to pass out on the sidewalk.

In Raleigh, I found a comfortable place, yet it pulls me out of my comfort zone. A place that is friendly to me, but at the same time I am learning to navigate the ways that the south remains inhospitable to people of color and the LGBTQ community. I’m in a place where making a living won’t drain my energy to make a life. A place with tremendous creative energy and a community that challenges me to NOT fall back into old habits and limiting thought patterns.

I’m glad I made the choice to make Raleigh a home for me and Dos Gatos Locos.

Leaving Raleigh
I knew I’d be back.

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