This is about my time in the city by the bay. The approximately 8 years I lived there, from 2007 to 2015 were some of the best yet challenging years of my life and I think about this chapter of my life as a time in which I really discovered who I really am.
This isn’t a blog about traveling to San Francisco, recommending certain places, or anything like that, nor is it about the politics associated with the city, although there is a lot to be said about those subjects. This is about my experience and the impact the city had on me.
When I first moved to the city, I was honestly terrified. Mostly because my family would be so far away and I would be on my own in a big city. I did spend a year on my own in Sacramento, but somehow, this was different.
Despite my fears, I was so excited to be living in a city that I had admired since I was a kid. The first year, I spent two semesters going to city college before transferring to San Francisco State. I lived with my now husband, then boyfriend, and my best friend. I was so happy just being there that almost every day, I would take the bus to Pier 39, inhale the smell of the ocean and seafood, by a crab on bannock bread sandwich, take it to where all the sailboats were docked, sit on a bench far away from the bustle of tourists, and just savored the moment of being in the city.
As the years passed, the challenges of living in the city were basically the poverty. After I graduated college and stopped receiving financial aid, our income was cut in half. That’s when the struggles really began. There were times when we were so broke I couldn’t even leave the house, and I was severely depressed because I felt like a failure. I went to job counseling, job agencies, job fairs, you name it, I did it, but to no avail.
Despite those hardships that ultimately led to us having to leave the city, I still have memories, even during the worst poverty, that were memories I’d never take back. There’s something magical about San Francisco. There’s the diversity, the atmosphere of acceptance, the rebellious undertones, that made the city special. It helped me discover those elements within myself and changed me as a person in a very profound way.
It was never about the politics or seeing pier 39 or union square or anything like that. It was about the experiences, both good and bad, that made this time of my life something I’ll always look fondly on.