Over the last two weeks, I have been fortunate to have Jon and Elaine come visit me back to back. It was so wonderful to share this great city with them, and even better to spend time with old friends. Reflecting on how hectic things were the last two weeks, I am amazed at how I was able to play Tour Guide. Who knew that in such a short time living here, that I would be able to give neighborhood tours and eating excursions! It is true that I have made a concerted effort to try to get the most out of the Bay Area during this little stopover before the big move to MN.
It has been a rough time adjusting to such a different lifestyle here in SF, but I am now quite sad to leave it. There's really no city like it, and it is unfair to compare it to NYC. Living out here has helped me to discover parts of myself that I would have never explored otherwise. I've become attuned to how much I treasure being in nature, serene and unfettered from the trifles of my ego (see pic a Right of Muir Woods). I never thought I would be someone to like hiking and trail-making! I realized how much I enjoy creative outlets like photography, crafts, and writing. Perhaps it is coincidental that these realizations have all occurred in my first(and possibly last!) year out of school, but I also think that there is something about San Francisco that has brought out the best in me. There's an energy to this place that makes me want to explore these different sides of myself. Being in NYC, I felt like the environment was one that was bordering soul-crushing. In SF, on the otherhand, I feel like my soul is being liberated.
Anyway, back to the Tour Guide business...I made it a point to show my guests around SF as a local, exploring neighborhoods and hidden gems rather than hitting up the usual touristy spots. We spents lots of time in the Mission, the Inner Richmond (my neighborhood), North Beach, Russian Hill. We even drove out to wine country (see pic at Left) for a whole day. I had so much fun taking J and E around the city, showing them my favorite places to eat, browse around for tsochkes, and just plain wander around. While I think that J was a little less convinced (he must have been going through the adjustment of the quiet of SF as opposed to living on Columbus Ave), Elaine said at one point, "This is Utopia!" I felt so proud.
Well, I have just less than three months left (much less than that with the hustle and bustle of Conference season, etc) here in the Bay Area, but I am doing my best to not become despondent. I've had a blast meeting people out here and experiencing the SF scene for all its worth...and I don't plan on slowing down in the coming months! Perhaps one day, I will return to SF and know it like the back of my hand.