Carving out time for San Francisco

Moving and entering a new environment always comes with its drawbacks, even when you move to somewhere almost entirely objectively awesome like California.

I’ve lived in Chicago for about five years before moving to the Bay Area about four months ago. Right now it’s February – the coldest time of the year in the Midwest. So I am thankful I’m in a warmer climate, away from the bone-chilling polar vorteces and snowamageddons.

But I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss some things about living in Chi-Town.

I think most of the time the world is divided into people who love big cities and those who hate them.

I was born in a big city, and I’ve always loved metropolitan areas. I love navigating my way through a crowded street. I like having busy businesses and cafes available at every corner I step. And to some extent, I just love pure noise of chatter.

I’m probably not the most social person on the planet. In fact, I consider myself to be more of an introvert. But I like being surrounded by people whether I talk to them or not.

Living in the suburbs makes that more challenging. And yes, the San Francisco Bay Area, which is everything outside of San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose, is technically the suburbs.

In my previous post, I mentioned that for some reason I had a different idea of how the Bay Area looked like. I blamed the Silicon Valley show, maybe unjustly. After all, it’s a fictional show, not responsible for portraying anything accurately.

Another underestimation I had was how far San Francisco would be from Mountain View.

The Bay is huge and when you add the ever-present traffic, it becomes massive. So unfortunately, even though I’ve been living in the area since the end of September, I can count on the fingers of my one hand how many times I’ve gone to San Francisco.

But the times I have visited the city have been wonderful. Over the winter break, I set aside two full days to visit the city and wander around.

On one of the trips, I walked around the AT&T park stadium. 

“My new Wrigley Field,” I thought. It was a sunny, cloudless day, and many locals jogged, or took their dogs on a walk around the stadium, which is located near the Bay.

AT&T Park baseball stadium. (Alex Shashkevich Photos)


A jogger runs past a man playing with his pit bull near the AT&T Park baseball field.


A man enjoys the sun while sitting on a bench near the AT&T Park baseball field.

After checking out the stadium, I took an Uber inland to see the famous row of four Victorian and Edwardian two-story houses, dubbed the Painted ladies, in Alamo Square. The same houses and the park famously appear in the opening sequence of TV sitcom “Full House” and many other films and shows.

A cluster of tourists gathered across the street from the historical landmark near a metal construction fence that enclosed a park. (I guess their trying to improve the irrigation system and the layout of the park.)

I sat on a bench across the row of houses and chowed down a yummy sandwich I bought per a co-worker’s suggestion at Bi-Rite Market on Divisadero Street nearby.

The Painted ladies, seen through a fence around the Alamo Square park.

As I ate, I observed groups of people around me take photos and selfies. Some were speaking in different languages.

Some were trying to get their small children to stay still so they could capture a memory in time. It’s amusing to see the different poses and faces people make for photos and how many times some take selfies to get just the right one.

Humans are fascinating but silly. 

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