Manuel: San Francisco daily photo
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to San Francisco, etc.
I grew up in Alsace, France and lived there until I was 27. I started my professional career in “Leicaland” (Germany) near Stuttgart. I lived there for four years and then relocated to Miami, Florida, lived there for about two years before moving to San Francisco. I have lived in San Francisco for eleven years now.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I started my first San Francisco blog in 2005. Initially, my intention was for it to be a journal of my experience here as an expat. After a bit of time, I got really curious about what was happening in the photoblog world and decided to share my experience through photos of things I had noticed on the streets of San Francisco. I abandoned my text blog and started sanfranciscodailyphoto.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
Here are five color ones:
And five black & white ones:
Tell us about the ways your new life in San Francisco differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
The main difference for me is living some form of an adventure every day. Although the city feels like home now, it still feels uncomfortable in a good way. I get surprised every day and I love that. The hardest part for me was “making” friends. This took and still takes an effort that I was not required to make back home.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in San Francisco? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I was not. As a matter of fact, I moved to San Francisco without having really spent any time here prior to moving. I was attracted by the town’s eclectic culture and historical heritage. I am still unprepared in a way and that’s what I love about this experience. In retrospect, one thing I wish I could have done when I moved here would have been to take some time off for me to discover the place.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in San Francisco?
- Take a good chunk of time to explore the various neighborhoods. San Francisco is a collection of villages. Find yours.
- Live in the moment. Don’t obsess about “the American dream”. Don’t try to justify your being here to those back home.
- Bring yourself as a piece of the San Francisco cultural puzzle. Don’t try to blend in, that doesn’t add any value.
How is the expat community in San Francisco?
I do not know that there is an expat community here per say. Everyone has their story, why they got here and how – including the “locals”. No-one really cares where you’re from.
Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
I was inclined to think that as soon as I would meet people from my home country, I was naturally going to become friends with them. That didn’t work. It takes time and effort to find your friends.
How would you summarize your expat life in San Francisco in a single, catchy sentence?
Another day, another surprise!