The Place in My Heart for San Francisco

Half-written blog posts litter my “drafts” folder. It’s not like I don’t write, I just never write enough on one subject to feel it deserves to be posted on my blog, so it ends up being a post on Facebook or a comment. This habit needs to stop, this blog is a place for my collected thoughts, but it’s not collecting anything but dust lately. Virtual dust.

I just spent the Thanksgiving holiday in Boston and New Hampshire with my family and friends back East. After eight days, I flew from the East coast back to the West, but instead of my residence of Las Vegas or my home-of-the-heart, Los Angeles, I came to San Francisco for a little vacation from my vacation. I’m being hosted by a sweet-hearted lover and am enjoying the city by way of Vespa and BART.

It’s funny – I’ve been to this city a number of times over the past several years, and also visited as a child, and I’ve always liked it, but I’ve never loved it.

Being part of a fairly progressive-minded community in Boston as well as a friend to many Burners, everyone told me San Francisco should be my home on the West coast. When I first began my plans to move West, this city was in my sights, for sure. I visited in November of 2009 with a friend, and we explored the East Bay and the city proper for a long weekend.

I found that San Francisco reminded me of Boston. It was a strange thing to discover, but truly, there was something oddly familiar about the landscape. It was also colder than I expected, and foggier, and though the weather is certainly preferable to Boston, it had that same gloominess on occasion that I found unpleasant.

So I chose Los Angeles. I still stand by that choice, and that’s still the home-of-my-heart. I love the West side of LA and I could imagine settling there and spending the rest of my life there. I’ve visited San Francisco many times since 2009 and I always stay in the East Bay and visit the rest of the city via car or public transportation. Don’t get me wrong, Oakland and Berkeley are great areas, but I don’t love them. For the record, I always stay with locals who give me fantastic tours and show me amazing locals spots, as well as satisfying my occasionally tourist urges, so it’s not like I haven’t had the right company for the trip.

This visit, however, my host lives on the third floor of a cute little row house in the Mission. The home itself is beautiful and the company is fantastic and charming, but the neighborhood is absolutely lovely. As I write this I’m sitting by his living room window, Twin Peaks is within my sight and the last of the light of sunset has just left the sky. It’s raining lightly, and every time a car drives by I hear the light splashing of their passing. I’m listening to a fantastic album on the stereo – The Cinematic Orchestra‘s Ma Fleur. I have time to explore the city and also time while he’s at work to be alone with this incredible space and think and write.

There’s a part of myself that is introverted, though I tend to reject any labeling of myself as such – I’m a classic extravert most of the time, and am happy to live that image, which is generally accurate. But there’s a part of me that enjoys nothing more than this quiet space alone to really get to know the atmosphere I’m in, and am finding my creative urges stirred by it. Today I took the BART downtown to Union Square, walked around Market Street and the surrounding area, took my laptop to a little coffee shop, drank a Chai Latte and really finally felt at home in a city I’ve never had this feeling in.

I don’t really believe I could live here (but I’ve gotten out of the habit of saying “never”), but I finally really love this city. These row houses on this hill, the cable cars nearby, even this stupid weather isn’t so bad. The neighborhood is sweet, all the little cafes and shops, it’s just totally grown on me in these three days I’ve been here.

It’s not home for me, but I finally get why so many people I know and love call it home.

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