(T-Minus 10) A Thankful Ten Days Until Christmas: Home Away from Home, San Francisco

Chinatown, San Francisco, CA

2014 passed by in a blur.

(Over the next ten days leading up to Christmas, I am going to post each day about something I’m thankful for.)

I recently had a discussion about dreams and goals and the potential need to make sacrifices to attain said goals. The reason for this conversation stemmed from the fact that we had just come back from a holiday party at the home of a friend of mine. My friend is a lawyer with his own law firm in San Francisco. Let’s just say that he’s doing quite well for himself.

(Sidebar: Actually, we were completely floored by my friend’s house.  He lives in San Rafael, California, across the bay from San Francisco, and is located in a beautiful gated community on the edge of the city, near the water. The house is beautifully done with an old world elegance with classic decor. Each floor (three floors in total) has a large balcony that overlooks a sloping backyard and the twinkling lights of San Francisco in the distance. They have a gorgeous library downstairs that is paneled with hardwood all along its bookshelves, walls, coffered ceiling . . . Alas, I only have crap photos from my phone to show for the event. But I promise, it was beautiful!)

When we left his house, I declared that I wanted to be the proud owner of a similar house one day! This statement set off a discussion of what would be necessary to attain said house—as well as the other homes that I previously declared I would own in San Francisco, Taiwan, Washington, DC, and Spain. What sacrifices would I need to make? Did I even need to make these sacrifices?

I will be the first to admit that I try to do everything. I write a lot. I blog. I try to take lots of photographs. I want to travel as much as possible. I want to focus and succeed at my career. I have too many inane hobbies. And I would agreed that this bodes poorly for my future, because if I try to do everything, it will be impossible to do everything I want to do—and do it well. Right now, though, I’m (relatively) young, and somewhat idealistic, and I want to do everything!

Who can say what sacrifices will need to be made to reach my future goals and dreams? Those are always changing, anyway, aren’t they? What is more important is that, in addition to having these goals and these dreams, we can appreciate what we currently have. That’s the key to being happy, I think. Being thankful.  I’ll face each problem head on, as they come.

City Hall, San Francisco, CA

Day -10: I am thankful to be living in San Francisco

When I lived in Spain (Bilbao), people all over Europe would ask me where I was from (most of the time, they assumed China and would comment about how wonderful my English was. “I’ve been practicing for decades,” I’d respond drily.), and their reactions upon hearing I was from San Francisco was: “Oooh!”

I’m lucky. San Francisco is a great town—tiny and intimate and at the forefront of all things tech and geeky. I love it. It’s changed a ton since I moved here in 2008, many things for better or worse, but regardless of the changes, I’m still in love with the city. I’ve got the best food at my fingertips. Wine country is a hop, jump, and a skip away. There are a dozen mini communities and countless more microclimates within San Francisco. Each place has its own character, and people find what they prefer and gravitate towards those neighborhoods.  It’s not New York or DC or any other city.  It’s its own town.  The people are a bit odd, but friendly (say hi, next time you’re in a café!), and it changes at a whirlwind pace.

Ginko Leaf on Bricks in San Francisco, CAFall Leaves on a Tree in the Mission in San Francisco, CA

I still miss the seasons, but San Francisco, my own Fog City, is vibrant with its colors.  Fall and winter occur, but with much more subtlety than the rest of the country.  The leaves still crumple and drift to the ground, the skies darken earlier in the evenings, and it seems like the clouds are always hinting at rain.  The fog thickens, and scarves and boots grow thicker and bigger.

Such is the San Francisco life.

Rent has skyrocketed since the Googlers and Facebookers invaded several years ago, and I count myself as one of the lucky few who still rock a “San Francisco” address. It is basically impossible to find reasonable rent anywhere in the city.

But here I am, calling San Francisco home after six (starting my seventh!) years.

I don’t know where I’ll be in the next six years, or what sacrifices I might make to get where I’m going. But right now, I’m here. Let the challenges come.

[All photos taken by a Canon AE-1.]

9 thoughts on “(T-Minus 10) A Thankful Ten Days Until Christmas: Home Away from Home, San Francisco

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