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Twenty-two is the kind of age where either everyone around you looks like they have it together after college or they’re falling apart. I was part of the latter category. Fresh off yet another internship in New York City, I had no job prospects. At the time, I was still a naive college graduate in a long-distance relationship with my college boyfriend, who was living back at home in Marin County, Calif., near San Francisco.
On a whim, I applied to another internship in San Francisco to continue building my resume, make my failing relationship work, and get out of New York before becoming another wannabe writer stereotype living in Brooklyn. The internship offer came, and I accepted. But before packing my bags, I somehow lost my relationship.
I moved 3,000 miles across the country anyway, despite not having a single friend out there. Five years later, I’m moving back to my hometown — New York City — for a new job, leaving behind a slew of friendships I never thought I’d end up making.
It’s never easy creating a new home for yourself, but San Francisco (and Karl the Fog) taught me to build a love for a city full of hills that make your heels ache and views that make you do a double take. This foggy city also showed me that there’s nothing a burrito can’t make right and that yes, the West Coast is the best coast (and a place to come into your own as a 20-something).
As I leave behind the sounds of Muni buses for New York City’s rumble of the subway, I hope I never lose California’s relaxed spirit and that feeling of a warm sunny day in the middle of January that puts a smile on your face (as corny and unreal as that sounds). I’m sad I won’t keep growing up in a city that’s helped me realize that becoming an adult is nothing like you imagine it to be.
I’ll miss heading to Dolores Park or Dolo (as friends called it) on any given sunny day, where we’d pass the time and get to know the park’s characters like the truffle man and the coconut rum guy.
I’ll miss the dollar margaritas on Fridays that made my bank account (with very little money) feel okay. My friends would get to know the Sunset District (despite them claiming how “far” it is), and we’d stick around for a bit before heading out into the fog and wherever the rest of Friday night would take us.
I’ll miss hearing “tiebreaks, earthquakes or anything else that happens around here from time to time,” from the trivia master on Tuesday nights. This regular ol’ sports bar quickly became the weekly home for my group of friends to get together. At Mad Dog in the Fog, we somehow morphed from strangers to good friends.
I’ll miss that second and third date feeling on Thursday nights, when NightLife at the museum opened the space up to drinks and science. None of those dates ended in love, but seeing the butterflies was always fun.
I’ll miss seeing the ocean pop up on the N-Judah line over the hills as the train got closer to the beach. You comforted me when my heart broke, encouraged me while I trained for races, and helped me appreciate the beauty of a California coastline.
Visiting San Francisco? Find Ann-Marie’s recommendations mapped out here.
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