Aside from my multi-thousand word essays on my trip to South Africa, I’ve been struggling to write here. Lots of things are happening, a lot of time has been spent adjusting to my new life, and most importantly, I’ve been swamped with work — a mind less idle has less time to formulate profound ideas worthy of writing. However, I refuse to let this place stagnate for longer than a few weeks, so here I am, jotting down a stream of consciousness for posterity. So, what’s going on in my new life?
As of this weekend, I’ve lived in San Francisco for
six seven weeks. Evidenced by my title, it’s been longer than it feels. I moved in on February 14th and spent that entire weekend constructing my place out of the boxes. I had more or less completely settled by that Sunday night, aside from my unusable kitchen.
A week of amazingly shorter commutes to work and a constant smile on my face driven by the fact that I look over the Pacific Ocean every morning and evening was juxtaposed with what I can only describe as post-move depression. I could barely sleep and felt completely lost in my surroundings. Over the course of the following weekends, that fog began to clear once I found new grocery stores, restaurants, finally bought and tested kitchen equipment, and cemented a new routine.
It helps that the weather has been nearly perfect for these seven weeks. The Sunset District is infamous for its, well, lack of sunsets during the summer as it’s socked in by fog from morning until night. This spring it’s been clear skies, beautiful sunsets, warm sun, and cool breezes almost every day.
I’ve been pushing myself to get out of the house more. When I lived in the East Bay, I rarely went out just to go outside. My neighborhood was barely walkable, and then there was nowhere to go. Here my neighborhood is, while entirely residential for two to three blocks on all sides, adjacent to cheap transit options to more lively areas, as well as the beach and Golden Gate Park if I feel like a comparatively long thirty-minute walk.
I still don’t know many people around here. That makes social occasions trickier, however I’ve been out around town every weekend without fail scouting and surveying the areas. I can’t overstate how much better it is not to be constrained by the last BART train to get home. Since I’ve lived here, I’ve had more late nights out in SF than I’d had before I moved entirely. I can only see that number increasing once I start to really feel at home here. I feel like Uber and Lyft might play a more prominent role in my future.
I played a ninety-minute soccer game this past weekend with twenty total strangers. I enjoyed myself for the most part, lack of fitness aside. I met a good deal of my non-work related California friends playing soccer in the East Bay — continuing to play soccer in Golden Gate Park can only be a good thing.
Before that I spent an entire sunny day walking the extent of Golden Gate Park, from 32nd Street, to Stow Lake, over by Kezar Stadium via the Academy of Sciences, all the way around JFK Drive to Ocean Beach and back home. Last weekend, I went for a hike in the nearby Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve, a little jungle in the center of the city. That hike turned into a trek over to Twin Peaks past the looming fog-fighting robot Sutro Tower, after which I rolled on down the hill to Duboce Triangle and hopped a Muni Metro to downtown and the bay waterfront. As much as my legs start to burn after ten miles of hiking, the city just pulls me onward. I walked six miles in the Presidio the following day. It’s stupidly easy to do.
One of my new favorite spots nearby is the Sunset Reservoir, a pair of concrete-encased water tanks covering a two-by-four block area in the center of the Sunset District. The northern reservoir is covered by solar panels, and on its northwestern side is a park built into a steep hill. On a clear day, you can seen for miles to the north and west, from the Golden Gate Bridge across the Marin Headlands, to Point Reyes on an exceptionally clear day, to the Farallons and the horizon beyond. Granted, there are better views of these places in San Francisco, it’s just that none of them are a six-minute walk from my place. I can go there on a whim, spend a while in peace among the fresh Pacific air, and return home all within an hour. I’ve already seen a handful of fantastic sunsets from its heights.
A sightseeing helicopter flew over Golden Gate Park during my soccer game this weekend and I had a thought that had never occurred to me anywhere previously: it’s strange to live in a place that tourists come from all around the world to visit. I don’t mind, after all, for almost four years, I was one of them too. Hell, I still feel like one. I would argue it beats being a jaded yuppie. Hopefully I never turn into one of those.
Hopefully the sense of wonder my city of residence instills me with continues to linger in perpetuity. I want to love this place forever.