Oh people: California? I get it now. I went to San Francisco for a few days during spring break last week, and now all the hemming and hawing people around this world do in honor of the great state of California is beginning to make sense. Sure, you might say it’s because I’m comparing it to Eugene’s wettest March on record ever, but San Francisco really is a terrific city, and I had a blast. I’ve written before about how proud I am to be a Michigander, even as things seem to get worse and worse there, and I’m not alone. The flip side of that is to be naturally inclined to hate places most people love, so please understand how difficult it was for me to come to this conclusion about SF.
But I’m not alone in this feeling either. I met up with a friend who moved to the States from Ireland (hence, she too is inclined to hate sunny, well-loved climes) to work as a traveling physical therapist. She said for the first number of years, she refused to go to California until finally the company she worked for made her visit San Francisco. She fell in love, moved there, and stayed for 15 years.
Is it the salty breeze from the ocean? The proliferation of magnificent parks? The ease of using public transportation? The strong sense of neighborhood identity and camaraderie? The fact that I heard more Chinese, Spanish, and Russian than English? I can’t say for sure, but San Fran has my heart.
It was a three-night stay, quite brief, but just what I needed. I travelled alone, which is my favorite way to travel, and I met up with some (really great) old friends and met some (really great) new ones. I ate my heart out, hung out in bookstores, cemeteries, churches and cafes, and walked through the Richmond, the Mission, South of Market, the Castro, and more. I want to make the most of my time on the West Coast, and while I’ve still got a PNW bias, I think I might have to spend a little more time in the state to the south.