After traveling in Europe for two months, I was worried that I might come home to San Francisco and find it rather sad and small, and unlovely. I wondered how my homely little town--my village, really--could compare to Rome, London, Paris, or even Brussels.
And I arrived back at the end of summer, our season of fog and grey--the time of year when tourists, expecting California sunshine, wander around shivering in shorts and loud-print shirts. I feared being depressed by the grime, the relative lack of linguistic diversity--especially compared to polyglot Brussels, the lower quality food (still dreaming of Italy's summer tomatoes and those Belgian speculoos cookies), and a dearth of fine leather goods.
And all these things are true--but San Francisco is a city with which I can't help being in love. Like a truly multi-dimensional lover, San Franisco knows how to remind you what it was that made you fall in love in the first place: the views from Nob Hill (this morning, through a shroud of fog, I peaked down the hill and saw light shining off the Bay water, and hazed by fog the majestic rise of the Bay Bridge), the cool crisp sunlight, the lowing moan of fog horns in the night, and the people everywhere all mixed together--mixed couples, queer folks, gender-indeterminate people--different cultures and races and religions, all basically accepting oen another, perhaps even delighting in each other's difference.
I love my city full of Chinese grandmothers, Russian princesses, Italian politicians (Joe Alioto, Jr.--grandson of a former mayor, is running for City Supervisor), 4th and 5th generation San Franciscans, living in their little neighborhoods--just over the hill from one another.
And I am finding new reasons to love and be loved by my city, my village. Every day for four days I have gone out and run into at least two people I know. Today I had lunch with a 32 year old I first met when he was 11. My city is a village that grows as I grow, that lives and breathes with me.