Wednesday, March 19, 2008

all who wander are not lost. but if you are, that's cool too.

(original post: august 8, 2007)

tomorrow will be my last full day in san francisco. when i wake up on friday, i leave for orlando. and thus ends the california chapter of my life.

and what's wierd, is that even though the last four weeks have been riddled with obstacles and things that were less than fortuitous (understatement), i have had an amazing time. not to say that it couldn't have been better, you know, if i didn't get a stomach bug, sprain my shit, scratch my eye (again), etc etc etc... but for what it's worth, i can say that this city is amazing.

i went to the top of nob hill last week. the hills were so big that i was literally walking at a forty-five degree angle. my quads and calfs screamed the entire way, but it was so worth it. i looked down on top of the harbor, and the white boats swaying inside of the waves, and chills ran up and down my spine from the wind, wipping through the sleeves of my hoodie. gulls screamed in the background and dove into the surface of the water fishing for whatever they could find. the fog rolled up and over me. really, i watched it, felt it cover me, as if it was breath from someone in the sky. the golden gate bridge disappears every night when it rolls in, as do the rooftops of the cliff houses and the island of alcatraz.

for a day i was one of the only white girls in chinatown, playing with pink paper parasols, debating on which one i should buy. i realized i couldn't because i have no room in my bag anymore. i bought nunchucks and sesame candy, and tried on crazy plaid pocket dresses that were almost too small in an XL. i was also one of the tallest people there. no surprises, i usually always am regardless. i looked at a caligrapher digilently working on tourists names, painting them on rice paper as they posed for pictures around him.

i met international bums and squatters, chatting with them as i smoked a cigarette outside of a bar, every bar, cause they're everywhere... a young kid of maybe seventeen drew me a picture of a rose with my name in it, detailed and ornate, with grubby hands that pass heroin through their veins. i saw crackheads lying on the street, some with nothing, some who owned a couple dogs or cats, and lent cigarettes to some punks with neon lit hair and barbells through the top of the bridge of their nose.

i rode the bus with everyone, from businessmen in power suits to a woman who kept telling me to look at the pretty tree. i went everywhere i could, to nob hill and russian hill, back to the haight, to union square and the marina, up to japan town and back to the tenderloin. the neighborhoods flew by right in front of my eyes, the neatly stacked townhouses with contrast crown molding and laid brick. it took me to golden gate park where kids frolicked under their parents supervision, as the dealers hit you up as they passed.

i stayed in jyouth hostels, which are fascinating to me, because theyre so inexpensive for everything that you get... free breakfast in the morning and free internet? i'm there. the first was in the middle of the tenderloin, the shady area that everyone tells you to stay away from. i liked it. i thought it was more or less of an adventure. the second was in union square, and it looked like the hostel from the movie hostel. it was super creepy and co-ed, which i don't have qualms about if it's not super creepy. but it was super creepy. good breakfast though. i love english muffins. the one that i'm at right now is actually way cool, right in the middle of union square and clean and not creepy at all. there are people from all over that stay here. europeans backpack through california the way we backpack around europe. i don't know why that seems so strange to me, it makes perfect sense, i guess.

i played pool in a couple bars by myself and got challenged to some games, most of which i lost, but two that i won! yay. i had super burritos and real italian pizza, and a couple nights ago i had bacon wrapped scallops that would have been delectable had i been able to tast them. i'm deathly ill right now so they tasted the same as, say, a subway sandwich. but they looked amazing, anyway.

there's been so much this month that i've seen, it kind of takes the edge off of everything else. granted, this dreamland is over tomorrow, but, i still have one more day. i knew that only being here for a month was going to be impossible to get everything i wanted to do, done. so i will have to come back. settled, when everything gets a little less crazy.

it was fun to be lost. i like the fact that i'm just like everyone else here. i feel like i just might be from a foreign country, cause i know so little about everything out here. there's so much to be seen, to be tasted. and under different circumstances, i might have actually gotten to experience all those things in the forthcoming year. but, it also gives me the mindset that there is something to explore everywhere, including where i'm coming back to. there is so much i haven't done in atlanta. i guess now i don't want to ignore it, now that i realize wandering is the only way to find where you're going.

what a great metaphor for life that is. the best way to find out where you are is to get lost. and lost, i am. so i guess im gonna keep on keepin on until i figure out what it is that i need to get done.

goodbye for now, san francisco.


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