After a long blogging hiatus, I am making my comeback!
After five long years, I have finally made it to my final semester of college. I’ve already “graduated” – had my ceremony, walked across the stage in my fancy cap and gown, and got the hell away from Gordon. Now, I’m finishing my last semester of college in San Francisco. I’m living in a giant house across the street from the Panhandle (an extension of Golden Gate Park) with 24 other people.
I’ve been here for almost two weeks now, and I can already tell this semester is going to be full of adventures. Here’s a list of some of the things I’ve experienced in San Francisco thus far.
- Witnessed a car crash in an Uber on the way to my AirBnB from the airport.
- Became friends with my awesome AirBnB host. I now walk his beautiful dog Luna.
- Went on a “walk about” with my housemates. We walked 7.7 miles through Bernal Heights, the Mission, the Castro, the Haight, and finally back to our house in NoPa (5 of the different districts that make up the city of San Francisco. See map for more details).
- Served lunch for 1500 people at St. Anthony’s dining room, and had the privilege of eating lunch with a wonderful man who gifted me with his story. He moved to America from Fiji and has since been a nurse, a real estate agent, and an Uber driver, but due to the cost of living here in San Francisco, is currently homeless.
- Interviewed and was offered a practicum placement at Eviction Defence Collaborative. Made an attorney cry with my answers.
- Attended a very cool, historic United Methodist church called Glide, and reconnected with my wonderful friend Amnoni.
- Interviewed at Sojourn Chaplaincy at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital (I really want to do my practicum here). Following the interview, I went to the cafeteria to check out the vibe of the place, and a man started screaming about how he wanted to execute us all. Definitely thought I was going to die that day, but made it out alive. I just kept thinking about how cliche it would be to die in a mass shooting in a cafeteria. Thank God no one got hurt.
- Witnessed a man pooping in a bus stop. I hear it won’t be the last time I see that.
- Met a cool Ethiopian man who’s a chef at a Vietnamese restaurant on the bus. We started talking about housing prices in San Francisco, and he told me how he’s living in a rent controlled apartment and is scared because everyone around him has been getting evicted. He invited me and my friends to come eat at his restaurant and he will introduce me to Vietnamese food. Will be doing that soon.
- Saw a large, bald, heavily tattooed man walking downtown carrying a very small dog in a pink tutu wearing a tiara. Wanted to meet said man and dog, but they disappeared around the corner too quickly.
- Interviewed at Larkin Street Youth Services. It’s such a comprehensive program for at-risk and marginalized youth here in San Francisco. Also a strong contender for practicum placement. It’s in the Tenderloin – one of the most impoverished districts in the city – but there are so many really great social service agencies meeting the members of the community where they’re at and providing really practical services for them. At the Larkin Academy on the lower level of the building, they’re currently in the process of building a recording studio for the youth to use.
- Smiled at a man in the Tenderloin. He was walking towards me looking very intimidating and looked me in the eye. I smiled at him. He stopped and stared at me, then his whole posture changed. He stood up straight, smiled back at me, and stated, “You just made my day. It’s been too long since someone has smiled at me. Thank you.” I watched him as he turned and walked away. He was standing tall with his head up. I guess it’s true what they say – you never know how much a simple smile can impact someone’s life.
- Had coffee with a super cool pastor of a super cool church. Haven’t actually attended the church yet, but will definitely be checking it out on Sunday after I go to Oakland Pride.
I never know what a day is going to hold. I’m learning to expect the unexpected and to be open to new experiences at all times. I’m learning once again to embrace difference without judgment, and to pay attention to populations that are too often overlooked. I’m learning that there is no better place to be an emerging adult than right here in San Francisco – where everyone else is learning as they go too.
I’m not going to say the transition has been super easy. I’ve definitely felt quite depressed. I’ve chosen to go gluten free while I’m here in San Francisco to see if it helps with my autoimmune condition and inflammation, and that is pretty triggering as it brings up associations of restricting and eating disorder behaviour, but I’m managing. I’ve had a hard time feeling secure in my identity here at the house, but I’m gradually opening up to the people around me and realizing that safe people do exist in the Christian college sphere. Not everywhere is like Gordon, so that’s nice.
I am living outside of my comfort zone here, but I’m in good company.
Stay turned for more of my adventures in San Francisco!