C'est la Vie #2: I Left my Heart in San Francisco

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Welcome to my second installment of my C’est la Vie series or journal entry posts. If you didn’t catch the first one, the C’est la Vie series is a chance for me to share a piece of my everyday life. You can check out the rest of the series at the end of this post!

“To be where cable cars climb halfway to the stars”

As I sit in my box filled living room thinking about how best to sum up my adventures in San Francisco, I am overwhelmed with emotions. I never thought I would call San Francisco home, and I never knew the lessons living in this city would leave me. San Francisco surprised me.

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Foggy Vision

My first visit to San Francisco was (I think) in 2010. I associated the city with walks along the most unique houses, the most insane hills, hanging off the sides of cable cars, and clam chowders on the pier. All of these things are still true, but there’s a magic and sort of wonder that comes when you know your time in a city is short-lived. The move to San Francisco was hard. Life in San Francisco was challenging. Suddenly, the struggles of our day to day lives got in the way of my romantic vision of what San Francisco once meant to me.

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“The morning fog may chill the air, I don’t care…”

I am so lucky to have the most supportive fiancé who didn’t ask questions when it came to moving to the most expensive city in the world. He trusted me even though he knew the journey was going to be tough. He followed and supported me even if it meant leaving his friends and family behind to move out of Southern California for the first time in his life. For that, I am forever grateful and humbled. I am also so thankful to have my little baby girl Lila with us on this journey north.

During our 2 years in San Francisco, we’ve had 2 roommates (not great experiences). Crazy run-ins that taught me to never let my guard down (and to always carry pepper spray). Foggy days and cold summers. To say our 2 years in San Francisco was difficult and uncomfortable is a huge understatement. But living in this city taught us so much about ourselves and the kind of life we want to build together. Here are some positive takeaways from my time in the foggy city!

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WAKE UP TO WATCH THE SUNRISE ONCE IN A WHILE

One of my favourite memory from our time in San Francisco was when we woke up before the sun, headed out towards Battery Spencer, and watched the sun rise. This is my favourite vantage point of the Golden Gate Bridge (Instagrammers - take note). Don’t get me wrong, it was painful dragging my butt out of bed at 4am, getting dressed, and heading out into the cold, but the views are worth it. Jared, Lila and I had a picnic and watched the sunrise. And of course, we took lots and lots of photos.

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GET OUT OF THE CITY AND INTO NATURE

Now I know this isn’t just specific to San Francisco, but the city’s surrounding areas are breathtaking. Dare I say, I even prefer it to the foggy city! I’ve mentioned a million times that I’m a bonafide city girl, but living in San Francisco was so stressful that getting out into nature felt like a ton of weight off my shoulders. I don’t hike much, but I loved driving and seeing the coastline. It’s truly beautiful! Jared, Lila and I even make a point to pack a lunch and have a picnic. It really was the best way to spend a day off.

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START EACH DAY WITH A ‘LONG WALK’

I have to say that adopting Lila was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made when it comes to our personal health. Every dog owner knows that walks are a must. Whenever we’re in a crunch for time, we would give Lila a ‘short walk’, which started at our apartment (on top of a hill), all the way down to a grass patch and back up. In total, that lasted 15 minutes. We tend to do short walks only if it’s raining, if we’re running late, or if Jared and I walk Lila by ourselves. However, my favourite walks are the long ones, where Jared and I would walk Lila all the way down to the coffee shops, pick up an iced latte, and maybe even a pie! This is what I’ll miss the most about San Francisco. On special occasions, Jared and I will take Lila down to Fort Funston and walk her on the beach. Unfortunately, we didn’t do this as often as we would like to.

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ALWAYS PLAY TOURIST

Would you believe it if I told you that I lived in New York City for 9 years and I still have not gone up the Empire State Building? And Top of the Rock? Well, it’s true. New York was home to me and I avoided the ‘tourist spots’ like the plague. I knew I did not want to do that during my time in San Francisco. Although we don’t hang out in these areas often, a trip down to Fisherman’s Wharf, Coit Tower and even Chinatown were nice treats. The last tourist attraction we visited? Alcatraz. It was my absolute favourite and I’ll publish about it more in a future blog post (because it’s worth talking about)!

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And finally…

TREASURE THOSE WHO LOVE YOU AND SUPPORT YOU

Okay, okay… San Francisco in particular did not teach me this lesson. I’ve always known in the back of my mind that this is one of the general rules of life. What San Francisco showed me was the good, bad and the ugly. I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty of it all because I’ve realized it is much better to spread positivity than to pay any mind to the negative. Long story short, we’ve experienced our fair share of tough times and insensitive friends/roommates. What these experiences did for us was magnified how much we love and cherished each other and how lucky we were to have found each other, Lila included!

It is difficult to spend hours, days, months and years with a person. Some friendships don’t stand the test of time. I’m so lucky to have a best friend and partner in Jared, the only person I could possibly spend every waking moment with. And Lila! Probably the most loyal, ‘no questions asked’ companion there is.

But also, my friends near and far, the ones who visit to support me through school.

The new ones that take time out of their busy lives just to decompress and grab a boba.

And the ones who will catch an all day Greyhound bus to visit you for the weekend.

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I did not love living in San Francisco, but I loved the memories and lessons life there left me. I started writing this post in my empty living room in San Francisco. Now, I finish it in my new home in Southern California.

This morning (Sunday, June 2nd), I woke up to a thick fog right outside my window. For a second I thought it was all a dream. That we did not spend all of yesterday moving boxes and packing it into our Mini Cooper. That I was still in San Francisco, waiting to go on our long walk. But here I am, in not-so-sunny Southern California, where I apparently took a piece of the bay with me.

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Till next time!

xx

Clare