|Golden Gate Recreation Area / 55 degrees in May|
Greetings, and it’s good to be back!
- Public Transportation // As someone from the southeast, this is weird. Sure, we had busses in Chattanooga, but aside from the free shuttle that ran on campus I never actually rode one. While we did elect to keep one car in the move (more on our adventures later!), commuting and almost any sightseeing is done via public transport. Not only are there busses (Muni), but there is also the subway (Bart), another division of busses not affiliated with Muni, cable cars, trolley cars, and Muni also has a train system that’s sort of like a Bart/bus hybrid. OH and there’s another train called the CalTrain, and I don’t understand where it comes from or where it goes. Also, while Oakland has Bart, it also has it’s own bus system as well. It gets confusing really quickly. Thankfully, there’s one card to pay for any of it instead of having to keep track of different fares and Google Maps has a great public transport integration. I’ll also be getting a bike in the near future which should negate a lot of the bus and trolley travel I’ve had to do to explore!
- Greenery // There are plants everywhere here. I’m not sure if this is a thing unique to San Francisco or if it’s just California in general, but it is nothing to be walking down the street and suddenly feel like you’re in a botanical garden. Not only are there palm trees and a wide variety of flowers, but also some of the biggest succulents I’ve ever seen.
- Options // The Paradox of Choice is alive and well, and fully illustrated in a city like this! There’s no simple picking of a restaurant. You have to pick a type of cuisine, a price point, and a neighborhood, all before you can even begin. Having almost anything at my fingertips is amazing, but it can be a little overwhelming when you have to comb through 20 sushi restaurants that are all basically the same!
- Distance // Because I flew, I don’t think my brain can fully comprehend that I’m literally across the country. I still get homesick pangs and miss my family, but I don’t have the perspective that I’m a 4 day drive away (which is probably for the best!). Harley said that he felt the same way when he flew out here to interview, but driving it gave him a whole different mindset on just how far it is.
- Weather // I’m not actually sure that my legs will ever be exposed to sunshine again. A lot of people are familiar with Karl the Fog, but there’s actually so many complications that go into planning for the weather here. For one, it’s about 10 degrees warmer in Oakland on average. Getting on the Bart is always hot and sticky, no matter the weather outside. Once you’re in the city, depending on what neighborhood you’re going to there can be 20 degrees of discrepancy in temperature. On top of that, the tall buildings seem to channel the wind from the bay directly down the city streets, which is making hair styling impossible. I’ve been experimenting and it takes about 3 layers to begin to be comfortable, but if you’re going to be near the water or out after dark it should be at least 4. They tell me that September and October are warm here, but I just don’t know if I’m buying it!
- Variety // I am amazed at all the variety here, and more importantly the welcoming tone at which the city’s residents accept it. I am seriously in awe every time I discover a new neighborhood, or just see something neat waiting for the subway! So many different types of people happily exist over 7 square miles and have learned to get along. Coming from the American south, where thick lines are often drawn between different types of people, this is probably my favorite thing about being here.
- Views // As you’ll see on my Instagram, the views here are amazing. I’ve gotten so many great pictures just walking down the street. I’ve been trying to pay attention – aka not always stare at my phone – and there are so many great things to see. Just wandering around the city you’re almost guaranteed to find something neat.