I’ll Leave My Heart in San Francisco

DSC08492The saying goes, All good things must come to an end. That’s what I keep telling myself. The boxes are being packed. The arrangements are coming together. Yet I cannot wrap my head around leaving The City as its called around here. Not SF. Not San Francisco. Definitely not Frisco. Just The City. As if none other exists in the world.

My husband got a job back in LA. The city we both moved to as children. The city we ran from as soon as we were old enough to do so. Not that LA sucks. It’s just not where we wanted to become adults. And now that we have kids, we are returning to create a life, build a community, and possibly plant roots.

To say I am sad is an understatement.

I’ve been wondering what I’ll miss most about San Francisco, the city I’ve lived in for over a decade. The city that embraced me as I became a grown up, had children, carved out a community of my own of friends who became family, because none of us have blood relatives here, so we grow connections and become each others’ emergency contacts, holiday party attendees, and airport drivers.

Leaving my community creates the biggest void, one that hurts so much, I cannot even bear to write about it in detail. So instead I will honor the parts of The City that I will miss because I take it for granted, minute details that I don’t want to forget, like the sound of the voice of a departed loved one.

Here are my favorite things about San Francisco…

1. The parrots that fly overhead in random parts of the city, suddenly making this foggy space feel tropical.

2. The 12:00 Tuesday alarm test that rings through the city reminding us all what day and time it is. And how the kids at Kai’s preschool would all yell out: Twelve o’clock Tuesday.

3. Osha Thai food. The pad see ew, peanut sauce, and tofu pumpkin curry. If anyone can get me the recipe, I’ll be your best friend…

4. The pigeons that roost on the ledge of the house next to mine, each year laying eggs, and each year my sons and I holler at the crows to leave the eggs alone. Some years we lose our battle with the crows.

5. Cortland Avenue. The back garden at Progressive Grounds where I met my mommy friends. Avedano’s Meat Market that opened the weekend that Kai was born. Good Life Grocery. Sandbox Bakery’s cheese croissant. Bernal Yoga, even though I have no time to take yoga class. Chloe’s Closet–oh, how I will miss that place. Bernal Library and the slightly stern librarian. I’ll even strangely miss the Bernal Library Playground, which we call the Catbox, and which is so depressing that it makes me want to be a bad mom and drink bloody marys while I am watching my kids and have no one to drink with. I’ll miss walking down the street and seeing so many friends. I’ll miss the dudes that hang out near the playground and get stray baseballs for the kids when they hit the ball over the fence.

6. ODC’s Rhythm and Motion Class. Most importantly, I will miss Amara’s class so intensely. It is the most joyous dance experience I have ever had.

7. Bernal Hill and the sweet hidden nooks you find–a random swing, a hawk, a coyote, owls, friends. views.

8. The Ferry Building. Miette’s gingerbread cupcake. Slanted Door’s steamed buns. Acme. Cowgirl Creamery. The farmers’ market. Blue Bottle Coffee. Frog Hollow Farms peaches. Pressed Juicery. The views of the bay. And the list goes on.

9. Little Nepal’s kukhurako ledo.

10. Dolores Park on a sunny day. And most especially Dolores Park on Easter.

11. California Academy of Sciences.

12. Yerba Buena Gardens music festival and how it seems the whole city dances in the middle of downtown.

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13. The random homeless dude walking down the street with a scruffy beard, a jean skirt, pink tights and red pumas.

14. Greenhearts Farm box.

15. How San Francisco is a small town and you run into people everywhere. And how everyone you like seems to know each other.

16. Those surprising sunny takes that take your breath away by how gorgeous this city looks bathed in sunlight.

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17. Golden Gate Park. The bison. The Botanical Gardens. Stow Lake. The DeYoung. Festivals. Then capping off a visit with dinner at Pacific Catch, or Hotei.

18. That you can wear jeans anywhere.

19. Union Square at Christmas time.

20. Watching the tourists line up for the cable car and seeing their glee as they take off up Powell Street.

21. The Tonga Room.

22. How it’s cooler to be well read than pretty. How chefs get more press than celebrities.

23. OK, this is in Berkeley, but I have to give a shout out to Adventure Playground, Bangkok Thai and Berkeley’s gourmet ghetto.

24. Papalote. Their salsa, their veggie burrito, and their horrible bathroom.

25. Bi-Rite Grocery. How lovely their produce is; how delicious the mint chip ice cream is; and how much their employees love their jobs, or seem to.

26. Rainbow Grocery’s thunder storm. And the bulk section.

27. Canyon Market’s olive bread.

28. Glen Park Canyon’s owls. Hiking through the canyon on a rainy day. Glenridge Co-op. Mame. Jessie. Kerry. The whole community.

29. Crissy Field on a sunny day.

30. Coming through the rainbow tunnel in Marin and seeing the Golden Gate Bridge and SF framed before me.

31. Ocean Beach and how someone will wear a bathing suit, or swim, even though it is freezing outside.

32. Seeing the fog blanket the city, like a hand reaching to grab her lover.

33. Linda Mar Beach in Pacifica.

34. Pumpkin bread in Half Moon Bay.

35. Riding Muni, watching Muni, knowing Muni exists. Hell, I’ll even miss BART.

36. My friends, and those of you who would have been my friends, because in SF it seems most people are quite interesting. And even though I don’t have room in my life to see everyone I already love, I meet new folks and carve out room for them.

37. Japantown Mall

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38. North Beach, by day and by night

39. Green Apple Books

40. Kabuki Hot Springs

41. The pink triangle that appears on Twin Peaks during Pride Week.

42. The smell of Eucalyptus

43. Hiking in Tennessee Valley and spotting bobcats

44. Burma Superstar

45. Knowing the Fillmore exists but that I am just not cool enough to populate it much these days…

46.Being of a city that is at the forefront of politics, art, technology, and being human. Where there is much to lament in America, it always makes me proud to say I am a San Franciscan.

47. People watching on Haight Street

48. The old Pinay woman in Bernal Heights who wants all the kids to call her Lola.

49. Being a short drive from Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Big Sur, Tahoe, Yosemite, Point Reyes, Mendocino, and the list goes on…

50. Complaining about the cold, the real estate prices, the school lottery, because this city doesn’t make it easy for families, or residents, for that matter, to live in these 49 square miles, but it sure feels like a worthy battle to be fighting to stay.

And so, my friends, with great sadness I prepare to leave San Francisco as I embark on a new journey. I’ll be back often, that’s for sure. But for now I’ll leave my heart here, for this place sure has won its right to own a decent chunk of it.

And reader, I ask you to share your favorite places, things, people in The City here…so we can collaborate on a winning list of places that keeps so many of us enamored with San Francisco.

8 responses to “I’ll Leave My Heart in San Francisco

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