Seven Years in San Francisco

Seven years ago, I had just signed the lease to my first San Francisco apartment, an overpriced two bedroom in Parkmerced with three strangers from Craigslist whom I had met roughly four minutes prior. Since then, I’ve gone through two additional apartments and a grand total of 35 roommates – some of them intentional, some of them not. (For example, if we count the feral cat my housemate found in Oakland that came to live under my bed in the aforementioned Parkmerced apartment and gave us all fleas, that’s 36.)

I moved to San Francisco for school in August 2011 when I was 19. My friends and I used to spend long afternoons at Dolores Park that turned into evenings wandering the Mission drinking 40s, surrounded by other people doing the same. One of my friends and I attended a poetry slam outside the 16th Street BART station every Thursday night. (The 16th Street BART station has never exactly been somewhere a parent would necessarily want their 19-year-old daughter hanging out after dark, but it used to be slightly less harrowing.)

Dolores Park

If you’ve read my blog before, you know I’m super into reggaeton. Consequently, one of the first bars I stepped foot inside was Esta Noche, a Latino gay bar that served cheap beer, blasted Daddy Yankee and was full of dancing men in short shorts.

Now, seven years later, while the 16th St. BART station somehow got more terrifying, the rest of the Mission has changed drastically. I’m using the Mission as an example since it’s the neighborhood I’ve always hung out in the most. It’s now heavily patroned by all the Ashleys and Seans who moved to the South Bay from an M state to work for their buddy’s startup in “San Fran,” and like to hit the bars after work before going back home on Caltrain. Esta Noche closed down in 2015 and was replaced by a bar which ditched the Daddy Yankee in favor of Maroon 5, serves $12 cocktails and gives off the general vibe that they would quickly chase out any dancing men in short shorts as to not scare Ashley all the way back to Palo Alto.

The large amount of gentrification that my city has seen in the last 7 years has caused many former San Francisco residents to move to Oakland, move to Portland, move to anywhere that still celebrates freedom of expression and sense of self more than a newly built and ever-expanding Salesforce empire. (Obviously, the rapidly climbing rent prices are also a large factor in people relocating.The other day someone told me their SF-dwelling friend is paying $1000 a month to rent out a space under a damn stairwell, Harry Potter-style. Nuts.)

I’m still here, because the San Francisco I love is still here, somewhere. (Well, I briefly left to have an affair with a Spanish temptress named Barcelona, but I came back.)

You don’t have to live in this newish, corporate version of San Francisco if you don’t want to. I’m still frequenting all the same dive bars I did in 2012. Some of the same colorful characters who graced our streets and street fairs in 2011 (and definitely long before I was around) are still here baffling tourists. I still refuse to go to the Marina.

Although it might not seem like it, this is my love letter to my city, albeit confused and bittersweet. (As most real love stories are.)

A sleepless Bay Bridge sunrise

This is my ode to my insomniac 19-year-old-self watching the sun rise behind the Bay Bridge at the Embarcadero, before the LED light sculpture that shoots up and down the bridge’s cables had made their first appearance. This is my tribute to attending the Folsom Street Fair every year since my third week here, even when I was too young to know what I was looking at. This is my commemoration of having too weird of a time at How Weird, of all the dubious things I’ve ever seen and heard on MUNI that used to be shocking but now barely make me bat an eye, of the guy slinging pizza at Dolores who shouts “pepperoni COMBO cheese!” to announce his wares.

This is to show my gratitude for how easy it is to make fast friends with random people in the park, on MUNI, at Hardly Strictly. This is to show my gratitude for the fact that I live in a city that even has a free music festival every year. This is to show my gratitude for all the friends I’ve made that I still know, and for all the people I’m glad I don’t but who have given me some damn good stories. I’m even grateful for the long-bearded gentleman on Sutter St. vaguely shouting at “all you Noe Valley sons of bitches” at 9 a.m., because he helps give this city the color that keeps me here.

Sunset at Ocean Beach

Seven years isn’t a very long time in the grand scheme of things. If I’m already seeing changes in this city in the past seven years, I know that people who have been here for 10 years, or 30 years, or their entire lives have seen way more changes than I have. I don’t know how she’s going to change in the future, or for how much longer I’m going to call her my home base. I sort of feel like we’re not going to make it another year.

But then again, I said that last year.

*As always, all photos are my own.

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Why I Ditched My Own College Graduation

I have always been a huge proponent of taking chances. For one, it makes for way better stories. I’m not talking like Steve-O level stuff, but more like, taking a year off after high school and moving to Guatemala (check), singing karaoke at a bar in Costa Rica when you’re the only non-native Spanish speaker there (check), or staying out all night before your early morning flight and just sleeping on the plane (check times a billion).

The latest chance I took is that I skipped my own college graduation yesterday and wore my cap and tassel on a beach in Colombia instead.

Five months ago, my best friend since I was born (literally) invited me to meet her in Cartagena, Colombia over Memorial Day Weekend. I live in California and she lives in New York, so I see her for 24 hours out of the year if I’m lucky. I said I would go and started saving up, and two months ago when I went to buy the ticket, I realized that those dates coincided with graduation weekend.

I spent the better part of three weeks debating about what to do, and you already know what I decided. I only regretted it for a few minutes when I saw my graduating friends’ Snapchats of them all together at graduation, and I had a serious case of FOMO…for five minutes, and then I remembered I had been floating around in the Caribbean with my best friend I never get to see instead of standing in a hot, crowded stadium for six hours, and I felt better.

Last summer, I backpacked around Europe with a friend and fell head over heels in love with Barcelona, Spain. Ever since I left eleven months ago, I’ve been saying I wanted to live there and have a post-college non-office job for a few months before I decided to Adult. After buying my Cartagena ticket with no real plan, I decided just to go for it.

Next week, I’m traveling to Madrid, Spain by myself for four days before moving to Barcelona.

I have no idea how long I’ll end up doing that for or what I’m doing after, and about once a day, I have a momentary freak out about traveling alone, running out of money, etc. etc. etc. But this is what I’m doing, and obviously, I’m pretty excited about it.

Do it for the story, yo.

Lurk the IG if you want to see what I’m up to.


Sick Sunsets From Around The World

Who doesn’t love a little sunset porn? Nobody, that’s who. Scope these dope sunsets from around the globe. All of these are pictures I’ve taken in different places I’ve been.

Lefkada, Greece
Lefkada, Greece


Venice, Italy
Venice, Italy


Berlin, Germany
Berlin, Germany


Staten Island, NY
Staten Island, New York, USA


Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA


San Francisco, CA
San Francisco, California, USA


Santa Cruz, CA
Santa Cruz, California, USA


Big Sur, CA
Big Sur, California, USA


Venice Beach, CA
Venice Beach, California, USA


Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica
Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica


Netanya, Israel
Netanya, Israel


San Francisco Quote Map By Neighborhood

San Franciscans say the darnedest things. These are all quotes that I have legit heard random people say in passing. Roll over the district to see its collection of quotes.

The map itself (minus the quotes) is courtesy of the folks at It’s Always Sunny In San Francisco, who were nice enough to let me use it.

I’m sure you’ve heard your fair share of hilarious, awesome, and/or straight up “WTF” San Francisco quotes. Leave a comment with some good ones and where you heard them!