Highs & Lows of our First Weeks in SF (Including Falling Down the Stairs…)

We’ve been in San Francisco about 1.5 weeks now. While moving to San Francisco may seem like a glamorous move from our previous small-town life in South Carolina, I want to make sure I’m realistically documenting both the highs and the lows of life in the big city.

If you’ve made a big move before, you know that the first few months are filled with all sorts of errands, paperwork, and generally sticky moments where you find yourself feeling totally out of place. At the same time, there are moments of, “I can’t believe this is where I live now <insert googly-eyed happy face>”  when you find yourself captured by the excitement of having so many new restaurants, neighborhoods, and parks to explore.

Without further ado, here are three of my top highs and lows since we’ve arrived:

High #1: Going to the grocery for the first time and realizing because most the food in the US is produced in California, then produce is generally much less expensive! In SC, I’d pay $3.50 for 8 oz. of strawberries; here, I bought 16 oz. of strawberries for $5. I was so excited, I bought a pound of blueberries and strawberries on our first grocery trip which I realized is more berries than one person can consume comfortably in a week (or maybe that’s just me).

Low #1: Realizing that it’s going to take me a good 10 minutes to find a parking spot every time I get home. We don’t have a garage, but there is free street parking around our neighborhood. I usually end up parking 2 – 4 blocks away which is a little difficult if you’ve just returned home from errands with heavy bags of groceries/dog food/sheets/cleaning supplies, etc.. On the bright side, I think I’m getting pretty good at parallel parking!

I also have to make sure I pay attention to all the different parking signs so I don't get towed.

I also have to make sure I pay attention to all the different parking signs so I don’t get towed. It’s complicated, people.

High #2: Getting to go to our favorite SF restaurants any time we want! Pat and I have visited the city pretty consistently for the past 7 years and always feel like we have to rush around to get in all the places we want to eat. Now, we can go to those places any time we want and still have time to explore new places. The first favorite restaurant we went to was San Tung at 11th and Irving where they have the world’s BEST chicken wings. They are called “dry-fried” and they have the most delicious gingery, slight spicy and sweet sauce. So, so good.

San Tung "Dry-Fried" Wings

San Tung “Dry-Fried” Wings

Low #2: Falling down the steps on the way to do laundry. Yep, you read that right. I fell down all 10 granite steps outside on the way to the laundry in the basement. And, it was raining. And, there were lots of cars driving by – including a bus of people sightseeing. And, my undies went flying all over the pavement. My fall started at the very top step and I had a moment of seeing myself in slow motion falling down all of the steps and breaking my back. Nonetheless, I landed on my bum (thanks for the padding, bum!) and proceeded to bump – bump – bump  my way down to the bottom. This was definitely a low moment of my week.

This is exactly how I felt:

Help me. I've fallen and I can't get up. No, literally, I mean it.

Help me. I’ve fallen and I can’t get up. No, literally, I mean it.

High #3: Spending lots of time in Golden Gate Park. Our apartment is only 1/2 a mile from the park and it makes my heart so happy to be able to run through green space. The park is 3 miles long and 1/2 mile wide. It’s filled with all sorts of fun surprises, like a bison paddock, several lakes, a disc golf course, a regular golf course, several museums, free concerts, and, of course, all sorts of interesting people. On Sunday, Pat and I ran by the rollerblading course where there were people blasting 80s music and rollerblading backwards in circles. One guy seemed to be doing the moonwalk on rollerblades. This was a special moment.

There are so many things to explore in the park!

There are so many things to explore in the park! We live near right side where you see the little “Panhandle.”

Low #3: Trying to figure out the long-term rental market. It is a hot mess. In every other place I’ve lived, I’ve showed up for a showing, filled out an application, and made my deposit and boom, I’ve had a place to live. Not here, my friends. Before even considering going to showing, you must compile a lengthy packet of documents (our own packet was 85 pages long…) including recent pay stubs, full credit reports, proof of income, pet resumes (yes, you read that right!), recent bank statements, references from all landlords for the past 4 years – oh, and you should be ready to put down a safety deposit + first and last month’s rent. So, you need to have a wad of cash in the bank. Then, once you finally get to the showing, you are competing with a crowd of other people all trying to talk to the landlord. Not fun. I’ve been trying to play up my Southern charm antics which Pat says are very excellent.

There you have it – a few captured moments of the past week or so. I could go on and on – the day I fell down the steps seemed to be an entire low day. It was just a mess. I’m not used to city life, people. It took me 30 minutes (one way) to drive the 4 miles to TJ Maxx to get a new set of sheets. Culture shock for this small-town Florence, SC girl.

I’m getting used to city life. It’s just a little adjustment. But, as long as I don’t keep falling down the stairs, I’ll be good.




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