13 October, 2010

Hello, San Francisco

It's hot. Unseasonably hot. I just flew out from a country with wan, blue sunshine and I'm not ready for this warm buttery sunlight and heat.

Without sounding pretentious, I feel a little out of place here. I've spent considerable time adjusting to London and it finally became natural. Now I find myself feeling uncomfortable with how wide and open American roads feel, and why does everyone insist on driving on the other side of the road? Our money looks silly and I don't see the point in $1 bills. Tax is added onto shop prices at the till, service charge isn't added, and people look at me funny when I say, "cheers" as a thank you. I'd forgotten just how lazy Americans are about putting together an outfit in the morning- my god people, at east TRY to look nice! You're offending my eyes. The colour of the atmosphere and the colour of the buildings create a pink hue over all of San Francisco, and I'd forgotten how peach the street lamps are. The accents are all wrong. Heavy Californian accents (which I'd never noticed before) sound almost crass. Most English accents are softer to my ears, and I can't believe how many hard, loud Rs I'm hearing around me. I'm highly aware of the weather, the sense of space, the colours of the city, the high hills and massive amount of greenery dotted around the streets. I wonder if this is how visitors see San Francisco.

I'm not a traitor to my own people, but obviously leaving the country gives you a new perspective on the place you come from. I am looking at my city with slightly different eyes, and although little things will become habit, I suspect some things will never become invisible again.

My boyfriend seems absolutely thrilled to have me back. He keeps looking at me like he can't believe I'm really here. It warms my heart, even though I have trouble expressing how much I appreciate his appreciation.  And I realized yesterday that I am officially no longer "staying" with him- now I live with him. I guess that should feel like a big step, but it doesn't. We work well together as a couple, so it comes naturally.

Speaking of work, I start a new job on Monday. I know, right? Well, I *did* say I needed to hit the ground running when I arrived. It seems I'll be doing some design work for my boyfriend's company (it wasn't his suggestion, by the way. His co-workers suggested me because, yaknow, I'm awesome.) In between that, I'm going to harass the shoe designer here that I'd like to work for/with. I will be so friendly she won't be able to say no. I'm good at that.

It's only my first day here, but I miss my friends in London. I am both happy to be back and sad to have left. I miss a lot of stupid things too- like being someone with an accent, and it being a conversation-starter. I miss the feel of pound coins, and boys with smart coats, nerdy specs and perfectly wrapped knit scarves. I miss the weekend markets, the painfully fashionable Shoreditch twats, and the all night salt beef bagels. I miss the transit system (laugh all you want), and I miss brick buildings. But yes, most of all I miss my friends. I don't find friends of that calibre often, and leaving them has left mascara running down my cheeks in the back of cabs. I hate goodbyes. So so so much.

But hopefully I will be able to fly back and visit my people soon. I couldn't say goodbye to either city permanently. I think I will always feel that London is as much a home to me as San Francisco.


Carrie said...

You're what my editor called a "global citizen" love. Welcome home. I wish I could shoo both you and the boy back to London.

Congrats on the immediate employment.

lipsticklori said...

We're missing you too. Will be interesting to compare this blog post to my first impressions of SF when I, inevitably, visit for the first time next year.