Letter to a New Colleague

Dear Randa,

I've been thinking today about your upcoming move to Fresno. I love that you are so excited about this--and I hope that Fresno lives up to your expectations. As someone who has lived here for 11 years and now counts Fresno as home, I thought I'd give you some tips on adapting to Fresno. I hope that all my fellow Fresnans will feel free to chime in and add their suggestions in the comments section of this blog entry.

1. Live in the Tower, the Fresno High area, or Fig Garden. Sorry to all of you who live and love other parts of Fresno, but I ADORE these neighborhoods with their older homes and mature trees. Living in the Tower means you can walk to nearby restaurants and just about the coolest scene Fresno has. In the Fresno High and Fig Garden areas, life is quieter, but you get more yard/garden area and lovely streets to walk.

2. Explore Fresno and its environs. There are great, out-of-the-way places to be found both in the city and close by. Take the train to Hanford and eat at Superior Dairy. Go to Kings Canyon/Sequoia National Parks and hike or gaze at the enormous sequoias. Go downtown and visit the public library or some of the restaurants with their limited hours. There are lots of interesting things about the Fresno area . . . (A few years ago, I wrote a list of things I loved about Fresno. Click here if you'd like more specifics. You can also read our "recent" grad, Jefferson Beavers's blog, Fresno Stories to get a feel for the Valley.)

3. Find ways of staying informed about what's going on in Fresno. Visit such websites as The Fresno Beehive and Dumb Drum to keep up on all things Fresno (and then go do stuff!). There are actually three things I wish I could do tonight. There's a concert by a North Carolina folk group who cover contemporary pop and rock. Another concert at a place in the Tower called Audie's Olympic. But I'm going to one of the Summer Arts performances: Urban Bush Women (a dance troupe from Brooklyn). I wish I could do it all. Anyway, my point is that there are some nights when there's a lot going on in Fresno.

4. Enjoy the people here. You're entering into a department that can be a little quirky and absolutely affirming and supportive. I love my colleagues--and count many of them as my close friends. I know you've already met people from other departments as well. There are a lot of us who are really happy that you decided to move to Fresno. We hope that you love it here as much as we do.

5. And my last suggestion, leave Fresno occasionally and explore the rest of California. I love going to the coast or to San Francisco every so often. These places are easy drives from Fresno; they can even be day trips. And I've decided that I need to go north of San Francisco and see the rest of the state over the next couple of months. I love this dysfunctional, cash-strapped state.

I'm tired of apologizing for Fresno--it's a great place to live and I love it here. I hope you will, too.

P.S. I blogged about a weekend in Fresno last fall, and people added comments on why they love Fresno. Click here for that blog entry.

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