Little things I've learned while living in SF
You can probably wear it more than once before it needs to be washed.*
In SF, washers & dryers in your apartment are not common. We kick it old-school with quarters at the laundry mat. As someone who used to do laundry everyday, I now only do it once a week. It's amazing what you consider a necessity when you're responsible for carting all of these "necessities" up and down three flights of stairs and two blocks to the laundry mat. *Unless it's running clothes. Ewww.
Suitcases are not just for traveling.
Per the previous learning, I have seen people use suitcases to tote laundry to and from the laundry mat, to convey groceries from the store, as pet-mobiles. You name it, and someone in SF is using a suitcase to carry it. Trust me, when you have no car and climb hills that ascend straight into heaven – a wheeled conveyance is just short of a miracle.
Fresh & local means something.
Every little nook and cranny of The City is a different little neighborhood in SF. They each have their own little idiosyncrasies, specialities and citizens. The little bakery down the street? Yep, they make that pastry right there in the shop. The cheesemonger on Grant Ave? It was started by a husband and wife 2 years ago, and your patronage is what keeps the store going. The shop where I spend 25% of my income on greeting cards? It was started by 2 sisters who wanted to bring local artisans goods to the Bay area. It's heartwarming to walk down the street on a Saturday and see all these quaint shops, but that means participating in their story. Not to mention, it's some of the best things you'll ever eat and some of the most unique things you'll find anywhere.
Caution: Tourists ahead.
I work in the heart of Touristland (as I now affectionately call it) across from Pier 39, and I live a stone's throw up the hill in North Beach. Both of these areas are filled with wide-eyed, often lost, walking-4-wide-on-the-sidewalk, map-toting, sourdough-eating, camera-carrying, fannypack-wearing tourists from dusk 'til dawn. On my good days, I smile and provide directions to wherever their traveling hearts long to go. On my bad days, I want to mow them down during my runs in an attempt to shake them from their Disney-esque vacation haze. But in the end, I have learned a lot from these cheesy-grinned visitors. They see everything in this beautiful city as just that – beautiful. They take pictures of things that have become commonplace to me. They stand in line for hours at restaurants that I pass by everyday. They smile and laugh, while I trudge by trying to shake off the stress of the day. So, despite their inability to move out of a runner's way when walking in one big line down the sidewalk, I appreciate their childlike innocence that reminds me to appreciate where I am, the beauty around me and the amazing things that my city offers.
Weather is a relative term.
When I moved here, I was perplexed by the weather lady giving me three temperatures for San Francisco... for one day. How on earth can it be 67 in The City and 97 across the bridge? Welcome to SF. Jacket and scarf in the morning. Tank top in the afternoon. And a parka in the evening. These are the realities of microclimates and fog, a.k.a. "nature's air conditioning" as it's called around here. Basically, dress for the high and bring enough layers to combat the low.
Cross a pigeon's path at your own peril.
SF is famed for its pigeons. I'm not talking NYC pigeons. I am talking about "could possibly be mistaken for a Thanksgiving butterball turkey" pigeons. The innocent tourists I mentioned above like to feed them the last of their baguettes and sourdough, so the little guys are not hard up for carbs. However, due to their constant shuffle amongst the feet of people all day – they have NO FEAR of human collision. I have almost lost an eye a few times as they decide to take flight (10 at a time) as I step over them. If you see a congregation, do yourself a favor and cross the street.
Every street is instagrammable.
Enough said. It's all beautiful.
When you carry your groceries 1.5 miles, you learn to weigh your options & only buy what you need.
SImilar to the laundry revelation– when you have to carry that 2 liter of soda home, you contemplate how much you want it versus the other items in tow. Crystal light, anyone? (Pun intended).
These feet were made for walking. .. uphill.
I know that hills are supposed to have a downside, but somehow the ones in SF do not. Every street, everywhere seems to go up in every direction. Feel the burn. But aside from the constant incline, it's amazing how enjoyable being car-free can be. Walking from place to place gives you such a different feel and appreciation for the people and the place. Granted, there are times when a vehicle would be awesome (insert laundry and grocery trips). But it's refreshing to get home, plug in my Jawbone UP and know that I walked 6.5 miles today without even logging a run.
Living by the water is relaxing, restorative & inviting.
Whether escaping the office for lunch to walk to the Ferry Building or going for an evening run along the Embarcadero, the lapping water of the Bay is so soothing. Sometimes I just plant myself in front of it for some restoration. It seems to wash away the bad and restore the good. In and out with the tide.
Lots more to learn.
SF has been a big lifestyle change. From the everyday stuff like no car to no W&D to hauling my groceries to the house by hand – it's been an adventure. But everyday is new and beautiful and an adventure to dive into. New faces to meet. New nooks and crannies of the city to explore. More instagrams waiting to be captured, more food to be tasted and more lost tourists seeking direction. Thanks for the past 4 months, SF. It's been fun. Here's to a beautiful "summer" together.