“San Francisco has only one drawback- ’tis hard to leave.” Rudyard Kipling
How do I begin to say Adios to SF? I knew this day was coming, time to pack our stuff and leave. I’ve been preparing for this goodbye. There’s just no other city like it in the world. It’s a one of the kind original. Every hill has a story. Every peak has a view. Even through the fog it was enough to make me feel like I was transported to another land, another time. Lombard St. North Beach. Fisherman’s Wharf. The majestic Golden Gate Bridge. The Embarcadero. The Ferry Building. Pier 39. The fog horns in the middle of the night. The sound of trolleys passing by. I can go on and on. You’d think I’ve lived here my whole life. It’s been the sweetest 2.5yrs spent in The city by the Bay.
Many writers, artist, athletes, musicians, and politicians have tried to describe what makes this 7×7 city so special. What makes it so special to me? It’s where my husband and I started our lives together. It’s where we reconnected and fell in love. It’s where we spent football Sunday’s at The Red Jack Saloon, after leaving mass at St Peter and Paul’s. Football in California starts at 10a.m. We could spend all day Sunday with our friends at the pub. It’s where my husband got on one knee, and proposed, after brunch at The Cliff House, during a hike overlooking the ocean. It’s where we said our first “I Do’s”, when we married in San Francisco City Hall. It’s where we’ve laughed and cried together. It’s where we’ve spent countless lazy Saturdays on the couch. It’s where we could wake up, and drive to Sonoma or Napa for a day of wine tasting. We could take weekend trips and drive down the coast of California on Highway 1, which is absolutely breathtaking, and land up in Monterey. We could drive to L.A. and sit in traffic for hours all to get to Disneyland.
We’re both Midwesterners, born and raised. I never in my life dreamt of living in California. The 1st week, I arrived, I was walking through our neighborhood, North Beach. I was at a stoplight. To my left was a very tall, thin, skinny jean with black leather jacket and a true Mohawk wearing man. To my right was a total hipster girl with disheveled hair. Next to the hipster woman, was an old Chinese lady with her little cart. Then, there was me, in the middle of all of them. I remember thinking to myself, this place has something for everyone. Everyone fits in here. There are very few cities with such diversity as part of its culture. Not only is it part of its culture, it’s embraced here, it’s celebrated here. No wonder it was all about free love in the 60’s and the first city to openly accept gays. Everyone is accepted in this city, regardless of ethnicity or sexuality. I’ve found people here are way less judgmental of other people’s lifestyles. Everyone really has a live and let live mentality. You smoke pot? So what? No one cares and no one judges here. It’s very common to walk down the street and see people smoking pot. You can always tell the tourist because they are quick to say, “Do you smell that?” Those who live here, it’s quite normal, it smells like S.F.
Although, if you ask my mom, she’ll say it smells like Chinese food. That’s because we lived near a Chinese retirement community center. Everyday, she walked by it, she would smell all the different flavors and aromas coming from the Chinese center. I’ve never lived amongst so many Chinese people. I think outside of China, San Francisco, has the largest Chinese population. I hadn’t noticed how accustomed I became to seeing and living besides Chinese people, until I went back home to the Midwest, and I didn’t see any Asians. No-one was in the park doing tai chi, like I would always see in Washington Square Park by our house.
I think, I’ll miss San Francisco most because, it opened my eyes and heart to the great unknown. It’s been quite an adventure for my husband and I. When all we’ve had was one another to rely on and love. There’s something magical in that, being in a far away city, only with the one I love, far from our family and closest friends. All we have is each other to share everything good and not so good with. For 2.5 yrs, it’s been all about us, no outside influences, building our foundation for a strong future. As we start to dream about what adventures living in Houston will bring, I know we’ll continue to grow together in a new city. I’ll forever be grateful to this beautiful city for all the memories and lessons it’s taught me. Onto the next great adventure for Team JP!