greetings from oakland

By Gabrielle.

It was fun to see the guesses come in last Friday and over the weekend. At last count, 55% of people who voted guessed San Francisco. And they guessed right. We’re moving to the Bay Area!!

The home we’re moving to is actually in Oakland, not San Francisco. But when I’ve mentioned Oakland to people, some give me a blank stare (apparently most of our French friends have not heard of it), so I’ve mostly been telling people we’re moving to San Francisco. : ) We actually don’t know much about Oakland at all, so we’re trying to get caught up! We’ve heard it referred to as East Bay, Berkeley, and Oaktown, and several friends have described it as the Brooklyn of the Bay Area. If you are an Oakland lover, I hope you’ll chime in with some of your favorite things about the city — and I’ve been scouring SFGirlbyBay’s Oakland guide, too!

Here are a few FAQs we’ve been getting about the move:

Q: Why are you moving?
A: We first made plans to move because the family that owns La Cressonnière was going to move back in. They’ve since decided to stay in Australia for another year or more, so yes, we could have stayed around. But we feel like it’s time to head back. Ralph and Maude are ready to try American high school. And sometimes, living here affects how easily we can run our businesses. But we hope we stay tied to Normandy for the rest of our lives! In fact, we hope our cottage purchase ensures that we do. But the whole family agrees that it’s time for us to head back to the U.S..

Q: What brings you to Oakland/The Bay Area?
A: Good question. We can live and work virtually anywhere, so we opened our search pretty wide when we thought about where to move back. Ultimately, the Bay Area tempted us for 3 basic reasons: 1) because we have family there (my brother Jared — he’s married to Liz of Say Yes to Hoboken, and my sister Jordan of Oh Happy Day), 2) because there are particular opportunities for our children there, and 3) something Ben Silberman, the founder of Pinterest, said in his Alt Summit keynote speech a couple of years ago about being where your field of work is centered, stayed with me. As non-techy as I often feel, our fields of work (blogging, Olive Us and Alt Summit) are all online. And the world behind the online world is based in Silicon Valley. There’s actually a longer story about why we’re headed to Oakland, but I’ll save it for another post. : )

Q: How often will you return to France?
A: Alas, we don’t know the answer to that yet. I’m sure some of it will depend on how the cottage renovation goes. (Speaking of which, we meet with an architect tomorrow! We are very excited.) We like to imagine spending our summers here in France, and maybe the Christmas holiday. Who knows! We’re also open to moving back here if for some reason our family isn’t thriving in California.

Q: Are the kids excited about the move?
A: For sure! I think everyone is feeling ready to start the next chapter of our lives. And they’ve already started thinking about their future bedrooms and what their school life will be like in Oakland. But the kids are feeling reflective too — talking about what they’ve seen and learned over the past 2 1/2 years. Making note of what they’ll miss.


I’d love to hear your thoughts! Have you ever spent time in the Bay Area? (I’ve spent many a vacation in San Francisco, but Oakland is fairly new to me!) If you could live and work anywhere in the world, where would you pick?

P.S. — Hah! As soon as we announced the move to our families, I received this video from 2 of my siblings: