In my almost-30 years of existence, I have only lived in three areas: Daegu, South Korea; the New York metropolitan area, and Baltimore. Although I love to travel, the thought of moving to a brand-new city terrifies me. So when Michelle offered to do a guest post on her big move from a suburban town to San Francisco, I knew it would be a fun and illuminating read. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
First of all, thanks so much to Jenny for letting me guest post for her while she is getting some rest and enjoying the amazing new addition to the family. I’m lucky to know Jenny through blogging for Weddingbee. Geek in Heels is hands down one of my favorite blogs. I know that every day I will find something that makes me smile, think or immediately copy-paste the link and send to my husband or a friend. On a regular day I’m blogging for my own blog, Blissful Musings that is basically a random collection of whatever happens to come to mind that day. I’m a little intimidated to post for one of my favorite blogs, but here goes nothing…
We’ve experienced some life-changing events the last few years. The most recent happened a few months ago. We moved to The City.
I sound like I experienced “The Tale of Two Cities” or something right? Not really. We both were born and raised in Southern California and I spent most of my life growing up in San Diego. We went to college in LA, stayed in the area for our first jobs, and got our first apartment after being married in Orange County not far from where Mark grew up. Basically we have never moved outside a 2 hour driving radius and most of that time has been spent in the suburbs. Yes, LA is a big city, but our college was in Malibu which is kind of like an unrealistic but lovely bubble.
We were at a comfortable place in life. We lived in a brand-new 1 bedroom apartment in Irvine, everything we wanted/needed was at our finger-tips, had comfortable jobs while I plucked away at earning 3000 hours to be a licensed MFT, enjoyed a community of family and friends that we had grown up with and created in college and settled into life as a married couple. We were content.
Then suddenly came the opportunity for change. I won’t go into the long story because that is not the point of this post, but basically Mark was offered a job in San Francisco out of the blue. Looking at the situation we are young, don’t own a house, kids are years down the road and most of all we could. With all possible obstacles being cleared, we decided to just go for it. Life in the city? Why not? And so we moved.
We now live in the wonderful city of San Francisco. And life has changed.
I knew my daily life was changed the day after we arrived in San Francisco. My mother-in-law called from the hotel she was staying in up the street to help us move in. Describing the scene she was observing out the window, she exclaimed to me, “I just saw a giant carrot run by! I think I either see naked people or they are wearing nude body suits. Oh, I just saw a butt crack. Yep, they are naked.” I walked out our condo building to see spandex, sequins, nudity and alcohol being consumed way too early in the morning. We had just so happened to move during San Francisco’s annual Bay to Breakers. Awesome? Welcome to San Francisco.
Here are a few highlights of city life:
I have a 7 minute walk to work. Yep, best commute ever! I get some fresh air, a little exercise and before I know it I’m at work. Good-bye traffic, unless you count men in business suits flying by you on scooters. We used to have 2 cars, but sold one since we only have one parking spot where we live. We rarely drive the car unless it’s the weekend and have filled up on gas maybe once a month since we moved. We walk to the grocery store, nearby restaurants and coffee shops. We have our clipper cards and use public transportation to get to different parts of the city. You never know what you are going to see on the muni (bus). It’s been liberating to not rely solely on my car to get me from A to B.
Diversity & Culture
Diversity and culture are encountered daily in San Francisco. I love the Chinatown is a quick bus ride away, but go a little further and you are in little Italy. Incredible museums like the de Young and SF MOMA are always there to explore and hosting numerous exhibits in addition to the permanent collections. The city is accepting of who you are and where you are at in life and it’s fascinating the range of people that call this place home (read this blog for a taste: http://iliveheresf.com/). I’m constantly challenged to learn whether it’s a conversation with someone I am standing in line next to, trying to understand a new modern art exhibit or being immersed in a culture that I have never been a part of before.
Can we just talk about the amazing restaurants that are in the city are within an hour drive? Seriously my restaurant wish list is a mile long and enough to break the budget. Just watch the Travel channel and Food channel and San Francisco will be on some top restaurant/must have this/best food ever show. Or try checking things off 7×7’s 100 Things to Try Before You Die. I have a whole blog post coming up on restaurants in the city as it deserves some attention of its own. It’s a great excuse for a date night to try a new cuisine of food. Even my cooking has changed as we have access to numerous farmer’s markets all over the city. Who knew there more than 7 varieties of plums and they all taste different? Our favorite Saturday morning are spent wandering the Ferry Building and exploring the seasonal produce that fills the aisles.
There is always something to do in the city. Not that we were couch potatoes before, but being in the city we are encouraged to get out of the house and go do something different. We have gone to Giants games (hello World Series), sampled sweets at the Chocolate Festival, admired the Blue Angels during Fleet Week and stood in line for moon-cakes in Chinatown during the Moon Festival. It brings excitement into our relationship as we experience new fun things and build new memories.
Meeting New People
I add this as a highlight, but it’s also been challenging. It’s hard to move somewhere new where you don’t know many people. I was lucky to know my coworkers and have extended family in the area. I’ve also discovered real life friends in some of my blog friends and Weddingbees. I never would have guess how thankful I’d be for my blog friends, but they were the ones who gave me advice for the best neighborhoods, where to eat and have been willing to meet in person for coffee and dinner. We joined an alumni chapter from college and have been having fun meeting people and connecting over the simple common ground of coming from the same university.
Moral of the story besides San Francisco is awesome and you should visit? Being content in your life is a wonderful and amazing thing, but don’t let it keep you from experiencing new and finding a challenge that leads to something beyond your expectations. Has it been hard as well? Of course and we don’t ignore that part. We miss family and friends and it’s hard to start over building a community. But, we have gained so much individually and grown in our relationship together.
It’s a season of life that will not last forever, but we are embracing every minute we can. Because I know we’ll always look back and say, “Remember when we lived in the city and…”
What have you done in your life that is like a leap of faith, but was totally worth it?
Michelle is a sorta newlywed (just over a year) living in San Francisco. She is in the field of psychology working to become a licensed MFT. She and Mark (aka M&M) spend their spare time discovering the new city and just generally laughing and having fun. Her blog Blissful Musings focuses on her random thoughts and hobbies that include crafting, trying to be a cook, decorating on a budget and learning to sew.
My husband and I just returned home from a week long vacation in San Fran and we absolutely loved it. We didn't want to come home. We were there for the Giants winning the World Series so it was a great week. There is so much to love about the area and such a great variety. We even love the landscape, we live in New England so it's nice to break away from the trees every now and then. We talked to a local one night who highly recommended a trip to mid-state to spend more time at the wineries. We could squeeze in a day trip. We visited San Diego two years ago and loved that trip as well. Can't wait to come back to explore more of the great area you call home!!
@Becky How crazy was for the Giants World Series win?? It was literal madness on the streets below our apartment. I've never seen anything like it. I have never been to New England but would love to go one day.
@michelle – It wasn't too bad, we were staying down by the wharf..mainly just people screaming/yelling or honking their horns. This happened the night they won and the night after the parade. We had so many things we wanted to do that we chose not to attend the parade. In fact we left town for wine country on parade day. Our tour bus was a little late arriving because they started blocking off streets earlier than they said they would. On the way home the tour bus driver went through the city to drop off people…the streets were such a mess it but seemed like it was a somewhat peaceful event. We watched the game the night they won from our hotel room and then headed out the door the minute they won for dinner. It was fun to experience everyone's excitement. We got to see some of the parade on tv while we had lunch in Sonoma. I would have liked to tour the stadium and it was on my list of things to do prior to leaving for our trip but as soon as we found out the Giants were in the series I knew it probably wasn't going to happen