Leaving My Heart In San Francisco, Time & Time Again

To my surprise, readjusting back into my San Francisco life was quick and easy.

san francisco
UNSPLASH Amogh Manjunath

I head instinctively towards the tap. Ah… San Francisco tap water: refreshing, cold, and potable. I can drink this stuff!

Just 12 hours before reuniting with drinkable faucet water, I was saying goodbye to my beloved friends in Barcelona, where I lived for the past six months. It has been said that the worst thing about being abroad is leaving, and I couldn’t agree more; the thought of going from the crazy nights and constant stimulation of new places and faces back to normal life is daunting. But of course, that’s life.

To my surprise, readjusting back into my San Francisco life was quick and easy. Coming back is like resuming a paused movie, and almost everything is the way you left it. On my second day back, I took a familiar stroll with my mom around our neighborhood lake, where I observed SF Giants cap after cap on adults and children alike. Ah, home. Come night, my good friends and I were off to one of our favorite spots, Valley Tavern. A few Blue Moons and some pool playing later, we headed outside to enjoy the warm night, when a passerbyer stopped before us. The stranger pointed out my friend’s socks, laughing because she had thought they were tattoos. She went on to share a story about how she had once met someone with the words “ephemeral” tattooed on her calves in enormous letters and with that, she said goodnight and continued walking. So completely random. ‘Twas a true San Francisco moment, if I ever knew one.

Day three of being home was no less interesting, as people flooded the streets of Castro, celebrating the repeal of The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and subsequently California’s Prop. 8 banning same-sex marriage. The mix of rainbow flags waving proudly, the sun shining high, and residents showing their support throughout the city made for an unplanned and most welcomed spectacle. Progress. Oh happy day! The fun didn’t stop there, and my next stop was to my best friend’s for some catching up.  As I updated her on my life abroad, our conversation transitioned into our life-after-college plans and our usual “what we’re going to do when we’re millionaires” discussion. “Even when I have the money,” she began, “I’ll still want my Prius.” Oh so San Francisco.

Today is my fourth day back, and it’s 81 degrees outside (aka really hot in San Francisco). As I waited for my smoothie this morning, the customer behind me complemented my shirt, and somehow, we got to talking about Spain, my time abroad, our thoughts about Jamba Juice, and the great weather. Friendly, genuine, strangers, how I missed you! And speaking of weather, does anyone else love the misty fog?

The past four days have been both familiar and new, and I’m happy to be back to the city by the bay, where the unpredictable, spontaneous, and outrageous harmoniously intersect. Yes, leaving a place like Barcelona is hard, but then again, how can I complain? I’m back in San Francisco. Whether you’ve lived here forever or are visiting for the first time, the city will welcome you with open arms and never cease to amaze and entertain you–mercurial weather, impromptu parades, one-of-a-kind tattoos, Prii (plural of Prius), and all. It’s like Herb Cain once put it: “one day if I do go to heaven… I’ll look around and say, ‘It ain’t bad, but it ain’t San Francisco.”

Desiree Constance Choy

Desiree is from San Francisco, California. She is an actress, known for 13 Reasons Why (2017), I Won't Give Up (2014) and Dreality (2016).

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