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Of Place and Space: urbanMamas & California

 For my family, it is a tale of four cities... so far.

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Almost exactly one year ago, I received a call while I was away for a work trip (I was in Memphis.  With our toddler.)  My husband had bittersweet news.  He was accepted into a doctoral program at UC Berkeley.  They were offering him a complete scholarship.

My heart skipped many beats in that phone conversation.  I might have cried.  Whether they were tears of joy for my partner's accomplishments or whether they were tears of sadness knowing I had to leave, I am still not sure.

What ensued (what still ensues) were (are) weeks of intense planning for the transition: changing schools, selling our home, finding a new one, preparing ourselves financially, setting up a new home, starting at new schools (for the 4 of 5 of us in our family), making new friends.  The most difficult part: hugging our community goodbye.

The urbanMamas family has been amazing to me.  What used to be just me, Hau, Shetha and Sarah just pondering over email, has now become a real resource for mamas & papas in Portland.  Despite our sometimes efforts to pass it on, to focus on our day-jobs (or our kids), we have never been able to say "goodbye" to our commitment to maintaining urbanMamas.

My move to California is no different.

It has taken me six months to take this public step and share with you all, my life of transition, since August 1, 2011.  I have wondered whether I should just somehow try to re-create the uM community here (in Alameda, CA), but I know that I cannot.  I also know that I cannot sever my connection with you all.

So.  In coming weeks, months, years, join me as we continue in this journey, expanding the urbanMamas community to continue to provide me (and hopefully other mamas & papas) the support and encouragement I need now more than ever, as I re-learn how to make new lifelong friends, as I support my children (now in 6th grade, 2nd grade, and preschool) in foraging new relationships and making a new home, as I dip my toes in a new school district, learn how to get involved in the schools (I've already started), and how to expand family biking in this sunny, flat place.

I welcome your feedback (what?  "urbanMamas.com/eastbay"?  will that work?), thoughts, comments.  (Bear with us as we work out kinks and try new things.)  Most of all, I welcome your virtual hugs because I miss pedaling through P-town and seeing you all wave as I bike by with my brood on the back of my bike.  Our new neighbors here are still getting used to seeing our contraption on the road, but - hopefully, in due time - they'll be waving at us, too.


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It is wonderful that you are settling into your new community. We would be happy to hear dispatches from you as you navigate the change in place and, potentially, parenting culture.

But the bottom line is that we miss you & your family, Olivia. Be well.


The Fuentes Family
Milagros Boutique

Know that no matter where you are - you are you.

Urban Mamas should be everywhere. It is great. Although that Berkeley Parents Network does seem quite righteous. http://parents.berkeley.edu/ But you probably already knew that!

I miss you and love that you are keeping on what you know and do best-creating a super community. Great things will come. I know it. XOXOO

Those are my top four, at least! But I have only done portland with children, so my perspective on the others is a bit skewed.

Erin Shirey who used to own Baby Bootcamp Portland is now in Alameda,CA also. She would be a great person to hook up with.

So glad you are broading the Urbanmamas territory! I too am relocating to the Bay Area and sadden to leave the awesome Mamahood community of P-town. Please keep us posted on your transition. We can take all that we have learned here and hopefully make the same impact there. I was just telling a girlfriend in the Bay that they needed an Urbanmamas, especially in the East Bay. Contact me if you like, as I would love to help with this.

I need urbanMamas/Tucson!! I still follow uM despite having been gone for 3 years, it's such a great resource--every community should have something like it. And Olivia, I feel for you--We miss PDX terribly. But change is good, your family will surely thrive and grow because of this and many other new adventures...

My stomach churned a bit as I read your post, Olivia. I miss you dearly and the amazing community you created here. But as so many mentioned already, there are so many more exciting things ahead for your family and the lucky people around you and your new home. Plus...we have more people to visit in the Bay!

urbanMamas/eastbay is going to rock if you want it to. Can't wait to see what's to come.

Thanks everyone. I love hearing from you. I cannot believe this is our 4th city as a family. PDX was our longest run, so it was so hard to leave. But, onward and upward.

Yes, we uMs love Berkeley Parents Network. I have since joined as an official member, but I did let them know that they were inspiration to us urbanMamas when we started uM in 2004! We wanted to build a resource like THAT!

Also: of COURSE I have already connected with Erin. Our girls are in the same class. And, we are both active in the classroom. And, we are both runners & have gone on some nice trail runs together. I love how the world is small.

You should fbf Tracy Corbally. She is an awesome Alameda Mama with a beautiful 8yo daughter and 5yo son. Tell her Lea sent you!

We are moving south, too. Are there any UrbanMamas in/from the San Diego area? We love PDX, but won't mind leaving the rain behind. Looking for advice as we'll have to start the neighborhood and school search all over again...

Hi Olivia - I knew you very briefly at Holy Redeemer (your boy and my girl were about the same age) - I just wanted to chime in and say I'm glad to hear your family is doing well in a new adventure! My family is also facing the possibility of a relocation to Los Angeles and we're in the discernment process - trying to figure out if leaving the community we've built up in Portland is worth the potential opportunities that wait for us in LA. It's tough stuff to decide - especially when it feels like the move would primarily be to the benefit of the parent(s), not the kid(s). Starting over is tough. Starting over with kids is really daunting.

Hi there, I am actually new to UM and found you all during my search for information on Portland. I am planning move to Portland with my 5 yr old son in August. I'm nervous and excited all at the same time. There are so many decisions to be made. I just want to say that I am thankful for this site and the work you ladies have put in to it. I have found a wealth of information on where the good schools are. Thanks!!

it’s not below my management...

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