“Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.” — Mary Schmich
This quote came from an odd yet nostalgic music video “Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen” my friend Erica suggested me to watch. It derived from Mary Schmich’s book Wear Sunscreen: A Primer for Real Life. Though I only lived in New York briefly for a year and a half after I immigrated from Hong Kong, I could easily differentiate the lifestyle between “The City that Never Sleeps” and Northern California. And yes, California does have the ability to make you soft.
Here’s what I learned in 3 months post-grad, the two things that almost everyone has in common in San Francisco are tech and yoga. Oh, and no one says “San Fran” here, please say SF when you come visit.
3 months into “adulting” made me feel like I’ve been working in San Francisco for 2 years instead of 2 months. I work 8am-5pm; my daily routine is wake up, work, go to Barry’s/Corepower Yoga to workout, occasionally attend happy hours, go home, make dinner, sleep and repeat. On the weekends I do a variety of things depending on what my friends are up to. And by friends I mean my coworkers because we see each other basically 24/7.
Frankly, before moving here, I never had to worry about making more connections in a new city, paying rents, dealing with health care, 401K and stocks (I still don’t know how any of this works). I seldom call my mother because there are days where I am confused about everything and I only want to talk to her when I have my sh*t together. (Sorry mom, I’ll work on that.) There are also days where I feel homesick. The hardest part that I am still coping with is not having your closest friends right down the block from you—to share how your day went or someone to talk to when you feel low. However, I am confident that my personality will eventually allow me to overcome this feeling when I make more connections in the city.
To keep myself busy, I’ve discovered some places in SF that I like to visit on the weekends. First, Philz Coffee. Philz is my go-to coffee shop and undoubtedly the place I frequent the most. Nothing beats an Iced Mint Mojito and a breakfast burrito on a Sunday morning while hungover (unfortunately I frequent this place the most after a night of having too much fun).
Second, Presidio of San Francisco. For $5, I can take an Uber to see the most breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean alongside the Golden Gate Bridge. This is one of the moments where I think, “Wow, I’ve made it. I’m here.”
Lastly, Mission Dolores Park. This is the closest thing I have to “summer” where I can wear a dress or shorts and keep my summer tan. Hundreds of kids and adults spend time at the park on the weekends. You can find some great tunes, great weather and great alcoholic drinks offered to you by sellers who take Venmo. It’s a place where time doesn’t seem to exist until dusk hits to tell you it’s time to head home.
To all my closest friends that have helped me when I don’t feel my best or am having a rough week, I am so grateful to have you in my life. You make it easy when I am still adjusting to the city.
Quite frankly, there isn’t much purpose to this blog post except for me to show you what I’ve been up to in Northern California. I am starting to love this city and its people. I don’t know what my future holds just yet but I know it’s time to grab my camera and do some more exploring. It’s rather difficult when you have a full-time job but photography is forever my passion. And who knows? Maybe I will finally figure out how stocks work along the way.