There are times, many times, that I feel so incredibly lucky to live in this city. Or rather, I know I'm lucky to live here. I know my life so far has been blessed in innumerable ways and one of them is allowing me to "come home" after college and still live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I used to despise San Francisco. I know, I know...I KNOW! I can't even imagine that now. Back then, in middle school and high school, going to "the city" was such a hassle; any foray into SF inevitably required dressing up in some "nice" outfit that made me feel completely prissy and out of place, while my parents dragged my brother & me around to museums and plays which only exist in areas of the city that lack the type of charm I have come to love about SF. Going to Union Square, directly adjacent to the Tenderloin, for theater shows was not my 15 year old idea of a good time. Going to the De Young Museum, in the middle of the park, for obscure art exhibits was not my 17 year old idea of a good time. The only times I remember actually enjoying from that SF-era (sorry Mom!) were the events that involved meeting up with our extended family for lunch or dinner. The fact that seeing them involved a trek to SF struck me as a necessary evil at the time so I bore that hardship accordingly for those singular evenings out. The rest of the time, I wanted to stay on the Peninsula - going to the movies with friends, IMing about school, drinking frosted mochas at Café Borrone (still one of my favorite drinks anywhere ever.) I led a pretty basic teenaged existence and it revolved around my friends and my actual home at that time.
Flash forward ten years, and I cannot believe how drastically my view of the city has changed. I could live here for years and still find something new every week. The neighborhoods continue to grow and evolve at rapid-fire pace, and I can barely keep up with my ten-block radius, much less the rest of the city I have yet to see. Sometimes I forget that entire neighborhoods exist (Cole Valley? c'mon) until I take the MUNI through them and make a mental note to do more exploration in that direction. There are times I think I want to live in other cities, in other countries even, and I know I have a lot more life in front of me, but I still can't imagine leaving San Francisco anytime soon. This is my home now!
One of the easiest ways to do some short-form exploration is by changing up my running route. A couple of weeks ago I ran all the way to the Alta Plaza Stairs: four sets of steep, steep, steep stairs. Reaching the top, huffing and puffing, made me feel incredibly out of shape. And that was after running two miles to get there and feeling fine!I would have climbed eight sets of stairs to see the view that I found at the top:(Looking to the right, from the top.)(Looking straight ahead, from the top.)
How can anyone hate this city? Shame on you, teenaged self. I can't imagine being anywhere else at this time in my life. You have no idea how excited I am for this spring - I've been daydreaming my spring/summer plans for weeks now. Envision me, sitting in Dolores Park with friends, drinking refreshing homemade smoothies, picnicking with baguettes and cheeses and fresh fruit from Bi-Rite (ok from Safeway, but let me live my dream for one minute!), reading on a blanket in the grass for hours, watching other peoples' adorable dogs frolic (and, hopefully, pee far away from our interim camp.)
You're all welcome to join in this day dream! Hey, maybe if you're nice, I'll even let you have some lemonade. But no promises - I'm going to be out there a while. I'll need to stay hydrated.