Love/Hate for San Francisco

The colorful streets of San Francisco.
The colorful streets of San Francisco.

After two years away, I’m finally returning to the city I hate, in an attempt to have a change of heart.

The colorful streets of San Francisco.
The colorful streets of San Francisco.

San Francisco and I have always had a bit of a turbulent relationship.  I guess you could call it a love/hate thing.  When I first began visiting the Bay Area city three years ago with my then-boyfriend, I didn’t mind the city at all.  It hit some high notes out of the park — fantastic food, outstanding opera — but it had its downsides, too — steep hills, year-around cold weather.  But the more we visited, the more the city started to rub off of me.  You could almost–almost–say I started to fall in love with it.

The view of downtown San Francisco from afar.
The view of downtown San Francisco from Noe Valley.

That’s about the time when my then-boyfriend up and moved to San Francisco.  As we exercised our relationship across state lines, I got to know the Bay Area city very well.  I learned which areas to avoid (the Tenderloin), where the best food was (the Mission) and how to get around (buses and BART, but not cabs).  But no matter how familiar and fun I grew to find San Francisco, the city made me bitter.  It was always cold.  Even in July!  When the rest of country celebrated summer while sporting shorts, I was shivering underneath a trench coat on Independence Day.

One of the many colorful murals found throughout the Mission.
One of the many colorful murals found in the Mission.

I began to hate everything about the city.  I was tired of the homeless people crowding every street corner and the graffiti that layered any surface in sight.  And I was exhausted from flying to San Francisco every month.  So my then-boyfriend became my now ex-boyfriend.  I guess you could say that we parted ways, but in reality, we’d done that a long time ago when he moved.

The view of the Bay Bridge from the Ferry Building.
The view of the Bay Bridge from the Ferry Building.

Since then I’ve traveled all over the place :: Chicago (twice!), New York City, Japan, Montreal, Los Angeles (also twice), Portland and Boston.  And then a strange thing began to happen.  My hate for San Francisco started to dissolve.  I started to daydream about my favorite areas of San Francisco and yearn to visit wine country.  I mentioned it to my girlfriends and before I knew it, four of us were headed to the Bay Area for a weekend of wine, food and (strangely enough) baseball.

One of my favorite San Francisco treats are lemon tarts from Tartine Bakery.
One of my favorite San Francisco treats are tarts from Tartine Bakery.

And that’s how I found myself packing my trench coat, yet again, for a trip to San Francisco.  It’s been almost two years to the day since I last left for the Bay Area city.  I’m anxious to see how the city has changed in my absence.  I’m revisiting some old favorites (Tartine, Humphrey Slocombe) and hopefully making some new ones.  And maybe, just maybe, I’ll make some new memories while I’m there and rekindle an old love I once held for the city of San Francisco.

Wish me (and San Francisco) luck.  Oh, and please pray for warm weather.

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1 Comment

  • Oh, I love San Francisco! It’s my favorite city I’ve been to so far! When I first visited, my parents dragged me out so they could go to a Nascar race in Sonoma and it happened to fall on the same weekend as SF’s pride fest. My usually hyper-overprotective parents let me stay behind and I meandered about the city on my own. It was one of the best experiences I’ve had! I can definitely understand the low-points you mention :) I think visiting a state with year-round sweater weather during Utah’s million billion degree summers is pretty great.

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