Celebrating One Year in SF
It's crazy to think that a little over a year ago I was on a one-way flight to San Francisco. I had two huge suitcases (keep in mind I still had a moving truck..) and tears in my eyes as I didn't know the next time I would see my family. There were so many emotions as it hit me that I was moving somewhat permanently across the country - not just a summer at camp, or a 3-month study abroad program, but a full-time job and a one-year lease.
As I look back on the girl I was a year ago, I laugh at how clueless I was of San Francisco and life in the city. Thankfully God provided me with an angel on my flight - she lived in my same neighborhood and taught me how to find parking, what restaurants to go to and how you can pay people to "wait in line for you at restaurants," among other eye-opening things. This Texas girl was taking notes and trying not to laugh nor get overwhelmed. Line holders? You couldn't just show up somewhere for dinner? The kind woman paid for the $75 shared cab to our neighborhood and wished me luck with my new adventure. I haven't seen her since, but still revert back to those notes a year later.
When the cab pulled up to my address, I thought the driver was lost. As my dad says, it looked more like "an Alcatraz cell" than an apartment. I was even more surprised when I walked inside to find my room was the size of a queen-sized bed… Where was my desk going to go? And more importantly where were my clothes going to go?! Even though my apartment is actually gorgeous and I love it so much, I’m still bringing suitcases of clothes and knickknacks back to Texas every time I fly home.
While yes it took some time to adjust to this new city life, I’ve grown to love San Francisco and everything it has to offer. Here are a few of my favorite memories from the past 365+ days as a Californian:
“Can you tell I’m not from here?” moments –
- My first week here, Garner and I went to a beach that was supposed to have the most incredible view of the Golden Gate Bridge (see above photo). As we hiked down to the beach, Garner looks over and says “Paige, I think that guy is naked.” I laughed and said “no way, I think he’s just wearing khaki shorts.” Boy was I wrong… turns out we were actually at a nude beach. I didn’t even know those were legal in the U.S… apparently they are in San Francisco.
- Once Garner and I found an empty purse on the sidewalk that appeared stolen. We called the police to report the item who then told us to “hide it in the bushes," they would come get it later because they were "busy.” When they asked where we were, Garner said on “Valley-Jo street,” and the operator actually LOLed and asked where we were from… That’s when we learned you pronounce Vallejo “Val-ay-ho.”
- One of my good friends is originally from the Bay Area and is one of the sweetest humans of all time. I was telling her how much I loved “San Fran” when she looked at me very seriously and said “it is not ‘San Fran,’ it is ‘SF.’ You also should never say ‘Cali’.” Soo looks like I still need to change my Facebook album that’s currently titled “Life as a Cali Girl”…
- One of my first nights we went out to dinner/bars, I wore a bright blue sleeveless dress. Mistake x2 because I stuck out like a sore thumb and it's always 50 degrees and windy. Later that week I went and invested in some all-black clothing and can also proudly say I now own a North Face down jacket… apparently this is an essential item if you are to live in San Francisco (and for good reason because it’s always SO cold).
- I was buying wine at Trader Joes when the guy looked at my ID and said “I don’t believe you’re from Texas, you don’t have an accent.” I just looked at him like “uhhh well it’s real.” Then Molly my roommate walked up and said “hey y’all, I’m ready when y’all are.” And he goes “ok I believe you now” and rang up the wine.
“California is so weird” moments –
- When I saw a guy walking around with a LIVE cat on his head
- When I saw a guy walking around with nothing but a sock on his you know what
- When I saw nine (counted them) naked men running (all individually… not a group) at Bay-to-Breakers
- When I saw a man pooping in a flower pot (still scarred from this one)
- When my roommate offered a homeless guy some food and he said “But is this gluten-free?”
“Is everyone here a billionaire?” moments –
- When I found out a parking spot in the city is $350 a month (rent in Waco)
- When I bought a bag of grapes for a picnic and saw on my receipt they were $20... I returned them.
Even though San Francisco has some strange people and crazy expensive, it's a city like no place I've ever been. No matter what day it is, you can walk around and find something amazing - a music festival, a farmer's market, a concert, a comedy show, a jazz club, a wine tasting, a party at a museum. And if you want to spend some time in warmer weather or take a day/weekend trip, you can be in Napa for the best wines in the world, Lake Tahoe for skiing/boating, Yosemite for gorgeous hikes, or Santa Cruz for surfing/sailing, all within a few hours.
SF is also a city that has no limits (rent prices included) - you can own a startup and be a millionaire at age 20, you can live in someone's living room and it's normal, you can dress like a homeless person and be considered trendy, you can go to church (and be accepted) covered in tattoos and piercings. To quote Cady Heron, "the limit does not exist."
I love being in a place that's so adventurous and where I'm constantly looking around and thinking "wow, I live here!" So sorry to break the news to so many Texans, but I love San Francisco and am here to stay.. at least for now :)