It’s been 10 days since we took our one-way flight to London. I jumped straight into searching for a flat so my husband and I can settle into this new chapter, and also so that I can get back to design affects.
In between searching on Gumtree, calling letting agents, and figuring out the best way to get from A to Z, I’ve spent time thinking about our ‘past’ life in San Francisco. In the five and half years of living in the City by the Bay, a lot has happened in my life. I got engaged and married, attended 14 weddings, passed my exams to become a licensed architect (representing that 17% of women that the AIA quotes), ran two half marathons (I guess I could count that as a whole), established my passion for social impact design, and made many lifelong friendships. It’s been a tremendous chapter here and one that has been hard to close.
But I’m not going to get sappy because what lies ahead in London is equally exciting. So I thought I’d share five things that I’ll take from my San Francisco life chapter.
Much like my two other favorite food cities, New York and New Orleans, we could spend our entire lives in San Francisco and never dine at the same place twice. Beyond this, I cultivated an appreciation for the origins, effects, and people behind food that guides me to make more conscious decisions around a holistic perspective.
Although sometimes I was a bit overwhelmed and skeptical of everyone’s side project, business, or next great idea, I will take the energy that comes with the entrepreneurial spirit of possibility and risk-taking. The tech industry is influencing a new generation of community builders, passion seekers, and adaptable entrepreneurs that has influenced me to do what I love right now, and not to wait.
We lived in two apartments during our time in San Francisco–the first one we were near the waterfront and the second we were near Golden Gate Park. And I couldn’t have it any other way. I know that I need a place to get away from cars, restaurants, bars, and less people. Luckily for me, London has a plethora of parks, heaths, and green spaces.
I attribute this one more to my husband than to the city, since he has a talent for cultivating relationships. I’m an introvert at heart so many times I’d rather sit at home and read a book or watch a movie. But I would have missed out on meeting spectacular people, having provocative discussions, and connecting with others who have made me think about what I really want to do.
Living in a small apartment has made us constantly edit the ‘stuff’ we think represents who we are. I hang on to more than I need, much of which are things that I think I may need but never in fact use. A lot of it also represents where I’ve been but perhaps not where I want to go. In this round of editing, I’m being more selective than I ever, knowing that my experiences and contributions to others are what really make me who I am.
So thank you, San Francisco, for providing a place where so much goodness has happened to me and giving me so much to take across the world. I’ll miss it, but I know I can always come back. Here we go, London!
Image credits (all except Nok+Josh wedding): Katie Crepeau, author
‘Nok+Josh wedding’ Image credit: Studio Tran