Wild Young Minds: Steep and Sunny San Francisco

Friday, August 21, 2015

Steep and Sunny San Francisco

Finally, my first post! A LOT to write about, but what I'd like to begin with: this city is a-ma-zing. It's beautiful, marvelous and wonderful. The people are friendly, the houses are gorgeous and the streets are filled with energy. Oh my god.

No worries, though. I haven't lost my personality yet. I'm still sarcastic, I'm still ironic and yes, I'm still frustrated when someone walks so god damn slow in the streets before me. I mean, this city is steep man, keep on walking. But it's hard to be in a bad mood here. As I said, the people are extremely friendly. And up until this moment I haven't experienced a lot of phonies yet, but that might also be because I've spent most of my time with either internationals or guys who love theirselves some weed and are relaxed in general. The 'Hi! how are you' is everywhere around of course, but you get used to it very quickly. And they have different variations as well, or dwell on: 'Hi sweetheart! Welcome to America. No way, your birthday is on the same day as my mother's. That's so funny!' Seriously, Dutch employees can learn a lot from the American spirit.
So yeah, San Francisco is treating me very well already. Let me expand a bit on the first days, as it'll be too much information at once to tell my experiences of the entire week. Exactly one week ago, minus 9 hours for my Dutch readers - as you're probably all asleep at the moment - I left my home, my family and my friends behind in the Netherlands. I completely left the student building I've been living in for 3 years, had some drinks with my parents and brother at the cafe Radion downstairs and met many friends at Schiphol who made sure I got on the plane safely. Appreciated that a lot!
My first flight was to Oslo, where I arrived around 1 am. Luckily I'd booked a hostel close to the center, so after I took one of these fancy Scandinavian trains, I arrived there and went straight to sleep. In the morning, I was woken up pretty cruelly by a bunch of Japanese people with whom I shared the room. Sorry for the racial tone here, but for real, who wakes up at 8 pm and stays in the room for one hour to cook soup? The smell enforced me to leave the hostel early and explore the city a bit.
Which was lovely. I walked to the Opera building, had some coffee and strolled around the streets. My flight to Oakland was to leave at 16.45 pm, so I made sure I was at the airport on time, which I managed to do. I won't bother you with too much information about the flight. It was fine, no highlights, no problems either. I watched Friends, the film Wild, tried to read a bit and listened to my music. I arrived in Oakland at 6 pm (cause of the time difference) and it was super hot. A weird experience though, because for me it was the middle of the night, but the evening was just beginning at the Pacific Coast, so I told myself to stay awake. Which was no problem, since I'm pretty used to little sleep and late nights :)
I couldn't get into my own apartment before Wednesday, but I had some contact with other girls already (who lived in the house I was supposed to be living in, long story, not really important) and they'd said I could crash at their couch the first nights. And since I'm such a big Couchsurfing fan anyway, that was no problem for me. I arrived there around 8.30 pm and I found myself in heaven. The girls had just cooked, so dinner was ready and the glasses were filled with red wine. What else do I need? I did smell a bit, but they didn't seem to care, so no problem there either!
Spending my first days with the two Emma's, Cindy and Jinte was extremely comfortable, because they told me all I needed to know about SF. Which is: 1) The food is really expensive in this town. Especially vegetables, which is definitely a bummer. One tomato costs 1 dollar and a few apples 3 dollars. Crazy, right? 2) The wine is also expensive. About twice as much as in Amsterdam. Fuck that, yes. 3) The MUNI (metro) system is very easy, you can buy an abonnement and travel unlimited for 70 dollars. It never arrives on time, though. 4) The landlady we both have is a special woman. I found out what they meant not long afterwards.
And many things I experienced myself the first few days were:
- San Francisco is steep. You have no idea until you actually experience it. The sweat that has left my body must've been enough for... you get my point. I miss my bike so much, but I'm a bit anxious about riding in town. I am gonna do it though, it makes you feel so much more free.
- But beautiful. The houses are colourful, each house is different (kind of like Amsterdam, yet more classic (Victorian style). There are many parks, lots of water and of course... the Golden Gate Bridge. Which really is intriguing. Such a sight. The area around the Golden Gate Bridge is gorgeous as well, many residential houses and a golf park. God, how afraid I was to be hit by some Tiger Woods to-be.
- The city is filled with hoboes. Especially around Union Square. Sometimes you think they think they're still living in the sixties/seventies, because they look quite similar to the hippies. They look a bit creepy...
- ... but they are actually very nice. No surprise, though, but you get what I mean. Especially around Haight-Ashbury, where I live.
 - Haight-Ashbury is amazing. I've got no words for it. So many thriftshops, filled with glittery jackets, vintage dresses, rings, rings and rings. I haven't seen a big record store yet, but I've heard they got many of 'em here!
- My house is pretty awesome as well. I share my room with an Italian girl, Lavinia. But she's the best. She's pretty excited about going out and buying vintage clothes as well, so that's gonna be good. My other two roommates are from Denmark and very nice too. As I said, we live in the middle of the cool neighbourhood, close to many stores and bars. As everyone who's close to me will know, that's something I've never experienced before. I live in the centre now! Finally! And I have a garden too! Hell yeah.
- The house has some drawbacks, though. The internet connection doesn't work yet (I'm in a cafe at the moment), there's hardly anything to cook with (but I guess we could buy those things ourselves) and the most inconvenient thing is that Lavinia and I have to go through A-K and Caroline's room to come in at night or go to the bathroom, whereas they have to go through our room to enter the kitchen. Especially because we seem to have different schedules, that  might be a problem. But that's something to worry about later on. For now, I'm really happy to have a room, it's beautiful and the location is perfect. Expensive though (750 dollars per month per person) but well, it's San Francisco.
And I'll conclude my first - extremely long - post with that. It's fucking San Francisco. I live in California now, I've met so many nice people already (for instance a lady in the metro, who complimented me on my rings, which turned into a 20 minute conversation and a Facebook friendship), and I've made many, many plans for the next few months.
Haven't gotten to the university part yet, but I'll try to do so in the next few days. Now I think I'm gonna walk around Haight for a bit, maybe visit Hippie Hill and see what my new friends are up to. Photos of my room are following soon. I hope Holland is okay - everyone in other parts of the world as well of course - and I hope you've enjoyed my first extensive post. If not, that's okay too. Just look at my awesome photos in that case. Keep you posted!

Love from California.

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