My welcome to San Francisco

Positive vibes have followed me to San Francisco.

Not only did I descend upon this city on beautiful day, and over the world-famous bridge …

… but I received an out-of-the-blue invitation to stay with a friend from high school in her “spare” apartment in San Francisco’s Sunset neighborhood. It is called an “in-law suite.” But it’s essentially a full apartment that I have to myself.

It definitely beats staying in the downtown hostel — something I made known on Facebook and prompted her invitation to me.

This friend’s generosity has gifted me the chance to live like a local in San Francisco. I am getting to know the neighborhood. I am getting to know the Muni, the local train and bus system. I am truly sinking into the city, versus being a passer-through-it. Had I stayed in the hostel, I think that I would have remained an outsider to daily life here. Instead, I feel like a quasi-local — which is a good test, since I am flirting with the idea of a geographical move, and San Francisco is on the short list. So far, my presence here feels like a natural fit.

Taking the Muni into the city yesterday morning during rush hour was a treat unto itself — and an appropriate welcome to the city specifically. As I climbed aboard, I noticed an empty seat next to a large man in glasses. He was sporting a long white beard and long white hair tied back in a ponytail. He exuded the ex-hippie vibe.

He smiled at me, pointed to the seat and said, “I don’t bite.” I smiled politely and sat down. Then he turned to me again and said, “Most of the time.”

He proceeded to chuckle. I continued to smile politely. That is when he asked me this strange icebreaker of a question: “Do you think it’s possible to skip and frown at the same time?”


I wasn’t sure if he was being serious. Then I remembered that I was in San Francisco. So I decided to play along.

“I don’t think so,” I replied.

“You’re right!” he said.

This white-bearded man went on to tell me about a study he did as a graduate student back in the day, measuring techniques that inspire happiness or something like that — I forget all of the details. He was really, really interesting.

Although I don’t recall all of the details to our conversation, I do remember this gem of advice he left with me, as he got ready to disembark the train at a local medical school:

“Skipping and bubbles. Those are two things that always inspire a smile. Seek them out today.”

This made me smile immediately, just thinking about skipping and bubbles.

What a sweet, an appropriately quirky, welcome to San Francisco.



Leave a Reply