Summer in SF

While The German was in NYC at his Nerd Summer Camp, I opted for summer in SF (after a brief stop in Miami to visit family) where I reunited with many friends, played surrogate mom to 6 cats and 1 dog, saw 3 concerts plus 1 singing clown, taught 9 Zumba classes, met 1 new baby and 1 new horse, ate at Tacolicious 7 times, bought 2 new pair of Fluevog shoes, worked over 429 contracting hours, and drank countless bottles of champagne.

And I was also on a billboard:

Betabrand Billboard Model

My initial re-entry to SF was rough. As happy as I was to see friends and eat so many delicious things, the city felt dirty and expensive, and the homeless situation seemed worse.  And after spending every day with The German, the 3 hour time difference between us felt much larger.

It was, however, surprisingly easy to go back to work at Apple. I was touched by how many people were so happy to see me, and it’s no secret that I enjoy being productive.  And of course, it was nice to earn some money after a year without a paycheck. While I quickly remembered how much I hated the commute, I was happy to jump into my summer project and get things done.


Though I initially planned to only stay at Apple for the summer, a new opportunity presented itself and today I start as a full-time employee (again), managing international design teams based out of London. It will take another month or so before I can officially move, but I am thrilled to have Apple’s help with all the paperwork and I am excited about the project and my teammates.

I will still have plenty of opportunity to travel, which is fantastic, especially as I will be back in SF several times a year.  But I am also looking forward to living with The German again, in our own apartment. I have always loved London and am excited to officially call it home.

The next 6 weeks (or more) are bound to be chaotic and unpredictable, but I am excited to see how it unfolds…

San Francisco

We were in SF for a grand total of 9 days. In some ways, it felt like I never left, but there were also some very noticeable differences.

Let me get this one out of the way first: There are more people living on the streets in the Castro than we saw on the streets in all other countries combined. I know this isn’t an easy problem to solve, but I don’t understand how this isn’t a major priority for the city. There are so many mentally ill people wandering around, plus a large number of what I’m guessing are drug addicts camped out in various spots. And based on the amount of shattered glass we saw, it looks like the car robberies keep increasing. Its sad to see The Castro like this – it was always a bright and thriving neighbourhood, and now there are so many empty storefronts (no doubt due to exorbitant rents) and derelicts. I really hope city goverment is working aggressively on some programs to help. (And I don’t mean just pushing people to different areas like they did for the Superbowl – it needs to be a mix of education, healthcare, job coaching, and housing.) Though it always bothered me when I lived there, I think I became a bit desensitized to it since I saw it every day. Now that I’ve been gone for a bit, the contrast to other cities is shocking. It’s sad that there’s no help for these folks.

On a more personal note, I feel like we really maximized our time while we were here – every night was spent with friends (and also any days we could find folks who weren’t working). Whereas before I was too tired to go out very much, this time socializing was the priority, and we fit in mundane stuff like banking and trips to REI (for safari stuff) around everything else.

It felt fantastic to be in a familiar place and eat all my favourite things and generally get stuff accomplished without having to exert any mental effort whatsoever. I knew exactly where to go when I needed specialty safari gear, or beaty supplies, or a haircut. I ate at Tacolicious 4 times in 9 days, went to 3 Zumba classes (one of which I taught), got a manicure and even went to the movies! Exciting!

The week culminated with the incredible wedding of Nick & Taylor. Their vows left everyone in the room weepy, and it was amazing to see so much love for them in one place. It was a great night full of fun, creative people, delicious food, exceptional wine, and so much joy.

Leaving this time felt really different. In May it felt more like going on vacation, as I had the security blanket of this visit on the calendar. This time its a one-way ticket and I don’t know when we’ll be back. I spent our SF time laughing and talking and having fun with so many folks that I love – I know I’m going to be missing you all terribly! Thanks to everyone who made by SF visit so fantastic.

Now its time for the next chapter – adventure, discomfort, uncertainty, majestic beauty, and wildlife (not necessarily in that order) . Africa, here we come!

Photos of many awesome people below:

Dear SF

Dear SF,

We’ve been together almost 20 years now… We’ve had some really incredible times, but I think its time for me to see other cities.

I do still love that every day you see someone in a costume, that it’s hard to find a bad meal here, and pretty much every restaurant has multiple options for vegetarians. I still think you can be a gorgeous city with your brightly coloured Victorians, beautiful bridges, and the fog nestled at the base of Sutro Tower. And I will certainly miss all of my amazing friends and the passionate community of weirdos that live here.

Though there are many things that I still love about you, I’m no longer in love with you… I’m tired of being labelled the evil techie who is “ruining the city” again (once during the dot com boom, and now). I’m tired of the 3-4 hour daily commute – anyone who says those buses are a luxury obviously hasn’t ridden on them day after day. (You really have to want to live in SF badly in order to do that commute five times a week.) I hate seeing the homeless problem growing, not knowing how to help, and feeling like the city just doesn’t care. And I’m saddened that the Castro is turning into a dirty strip of empty storefronts and broken car windows, while my already ridiculously expensive rent continues to increase every year.

I’d like to fall back in love with you, SF, so I think we need some time apart. And I hope that when I return I’ll have the energy to enjoy all the wacky events, tiny street fairs, museums, and shows that are always happening. But for now, it’s time for me to hit the road…