ALEX ROCKEY • BE ENTHUSIASTIC IN BAKERSFIELD
Read how this Bakersfield transplant is finding community and making a life here.
Alex Rockey • Ph.D. Candidate
My husband and I moved here with our four-year-old daughter from Esparto, CA for my husband’s job as a biology professor at Bakersfield College. I’m currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Education at UC Davis — expected graduation date June 2020.
I love living in Westchester because we can hop on the bike path and bike to Kern County Museum. My husband can bike five miles to work, and I like that he bikes on a bike path, so it’s safe.
I love the community here. The first day that we moved in, I met every single one of our neighbors. Many of them have given our daughter Halloween presents and Advent calendars and things. The sense of community has been instant for us. Our neighbors have been especially important because we don’t have family here.
I love that people hang out in their front yards. There is really a neighborly spirit where everyone knows each other’s names and helps each other out. One neighbor even helped us clean up the ten bags of leaves accumulated in our yard when we first moved in — and we didn’t even ask!
The houses are cute and unique and old. We have an old house that we’re fixing up, and, like the rest of the neighborhood, it has a lot of possibility.
Our family’s biggest challenge in moving here happened before we even arrived. When we would tell people we were moving to Bakersfield, they would make a face that wasn’t good. It took me some time to realize that it’s okay to want to live here. Since arriving, I’ve seen the walkability, the vibrant downtown, the awesome bike path — all the things we were looking for. I had to give myself permission to love Bakersfield the way that I do.
One way I intentionally get involved is by showing up. There is such a spirit of excitement about the future of Bakersfield and a genuine interest in building community. I have made great friends by finding repeating events — like yoga classes or open gyms my daughter and I can go to — and showing up for them.
In Bakersfield’s future, I hope we see continued growth downtown, and I hope we continue to pay attention to biking and using environmentally friendly transportation. I’d love to see more bike lanes, and more bike racks would be really exciting too. We have some, but we could get a lot more.
I’ve already seen so much growth. When I talk to people who moved here even two years ago, they say that the city is completely different just within the last six months. It’s an exciting time to move to Bakersfield.