David and Daniel Dobson-Smith arrived in the U.S. from London seven years ago. David is Canadian and Daniel is British, and the two met in London in 2004 at a gym while David was on a European trip, with a planned 4-month stay in London.
They have been married twice – first in the UK when same-sex partnerships first became lawful, and then in the U.S. they married again in order to meet all the requirements of immigration. “My favorite wedding was the one in the U.S.,” says Daniel, “because it was under the rotunda at San Francisco’s City Hall, which is such an iconic venue steeped in history about the Civil Rights Movement.”
The family also includes two very large Maine Coon cats named Harper and Hemmingway. Until a year ago David was most definitely not a “cat person” and Daniel says this change of heart is the best thing to come out of last year’s lockdown.
David attended university in Canada at the University of Alberta and received a B.S. in Special Education. He has spent his career in education, teaching in six different countries. When they came to san Francisco,, David started at AltSchool, a technology based private school David has focus his career on supporting learners with additional needs and neuro-diverse learners and helping schools build processes to support diverse learners. He is currently Director of Lower School at Children’s Day School in San Francisco. In his extra time he is studying Interior Design through the New York Institute of Art and Design.
Daniel’s education and career have also focused on helping others. He received his Master’s degree in Integral Counseling Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies and post graduate certificates in Neuro Linguistic Psychotherapy, Education and Executive Coaching and Mentoring. He is a marriage and family therapist and also the co-founder of two consultancy practices: Soul Trained, an executive coaching and leadership consultancy, and Soul Full, a life coaching a personal development firm. Daniel also finds time to serve as an adjunct professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies where he teaches counseling to graduate students. Daniel is proud to have trained with Louise Hay, author of You Can Heal Your Life, and is certified as a coach for her methodology.
Daniel and David moved to the neighborhood in 2018, coming here from San Francisco and looking for some warmer weather. Since 2004 they have moved 12 times. “I thought we moved so much because we were good at moving,” jokes David. “But it turns out I just like decorating! Luckily now, we have found a home that we both love and have made it exactly how we want it.” David adds, “We spent the last year renovating and making the house our home. It was an opportunity to work with local businesses and trades people, and we are very happy with the results.” They are happy they made the move, but still enjoy their proximity to San Francisco. “It really is the best of both worlds…city and suburb living.”
Pre-COVID, they were avid travelers with their favorite destinations being Japan and Australia. In 2020 they had to cancel several trips and look forward to traveling again soon.
David and Daniel have a motto: “We are each other’s 100% in our 200% life.” David explains, “we say this to recognize that we are first and foremost individuals with our own hopes, dreams and quirky ways…we are not each other’s “other half.” We are full and complete as we are. This has helped us navigate important life decision together.”
“We have been so happy living here [in Northgate].” says David. They love being close to Mt. Diablo and they love he calming nature of the neighborhood. “And the city offers so many things that appealed to us and our family.” Welcome to Northgate David and Daniel!
By Kara Navolio, Resident since 1991
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