I think I've found the love of my life. It's a city...San Francisco, specifically. I realized this yesterday while lounging in the sun at Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park. Hippie Hill is exactly what it sounds like...a hill full of hippies...but what makes it amazing is the drum circle. I've only been on sunny days, but each time I've been there is a communal drum circle at the bottom of the hill that anyone can join, and it never stops. Yesterday the drumming continued without pause for the entire 3 hours I was there. How amazing is that?
My romance with San Francisco began over ten years ago. I was growing up two hours north in the dreaded Ukiah, a small Northern California town where nothing ever happens...at least nothing good. My oldest sister lived in San Francisco, and since she was an adult already, I was allowed to visit her for entire weekends with no parental supervision. She lived in Bernal Heights, and I remember walking fascinated through the bustling Mission district, perusing the discount clothing stores and eating delicious Mexican food. I would beg her to play 94.9 on the radio, which at that time focused mainly on dance music (remember this?). When my dad picked me up and drove me back across the Golden Gate Bridge to hell, I would silently cry in the back seat (we've already established that I'm overly dramatic at times).
My senior year of high school, I got the idea that I needed to move to Southern California. It seemed so glamorous and idyllic, like a movie. I ended up at UC Santa Barbara. It was everything a party school promises to be, and I was satisfied. For a couple years. Then I started feeling claustrophobic, like I was surrounded by clones in Juicy Coutoure and Chanel sunglasses (which is strange, because that is an exact description of myself at that time...go figure).
I missed Northern California. Not Ukiah, but San Francisco. How is it possible that I missed a place I had never lived? I don't really know, but every time I drove home for a visit and passed through the city, something about the air here just comforted me. I decided to transfer to UC Berkeley. I didn't get in. I appealed the rejection, and prayed every night. I was finally accepted.
Six years later, here I am. Looking out the window on a foggy Sunday morning, pronouncing my love for this city. I think what I like most about San Francisco is that it is so open-minded and accepting. There is always someone weirder than you, and there is a place for everyone. It's a city that embraces music, food, art, progress, innovation. And it's freaking beautiful...I can walk to three different beaches from my house, all of which take my breath away every single time.
The one drawback about San Francisco is that it's small...avoiding someone, or even the memory of someone here is difficult. Walking down the street you will suddenly stumble across a place that reminds you of a time that reminds you of a person...but that is also a beautiful aspect of this city. I may never leave.
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