When I came across Oh Happy Day, the great site from Jordan Ferney, a wonderful ‘bloggeuse’ from San Francisco who has moved to Paris with her family, I just smiled because without knowing each other we almost swapped our lives ! It seems that we are experimenting the same journey, discovering our respective cities. While Jordan described 10 things she loves about living in Paris here are 10 things I love about San Francisco. I am aware that this vision is very romanticized but as in every love-story, this is the early days…
10 things I love about SF, ok 11 things…
-How friendly and civilized the people are, tiny details can change a day. People see each other, share a few words together and consider each other as ‘existing’ persons. An elevator ride is a good example…Of course it is surface, but surface is what you get most of the time.
-The geographical situation, San Francisco natural site is unique, the Pacific Ocean, the redwoods forests, Tahoe mountains, Napa&Sonoma vineyards, powerful Marin County, sunny Santa Cruz…Nature is in your mind, all the time.
-The mix of cultures, the accents, the communities, the flags on each neighborhood, people background. Every single person has an history to tell about why they are here. How the communities live together, how the minorities are treated…I guess it’s working on surface. The East Bay is different and I want to know more about it. It’s easy to get stuck on San Francisco cliches.
-The architecture and look of the city, the hills, the parks that are forests in the middle of the city, the wild coast, the colors, the psychedelic houses, the super talented director of photography who creates this unique desaturated, glowing light. No wonders why Instagram was born here !
-The retro charm. The first time I came here, I mean just the first day, I thought everything was old and dusty and very quickly I realized how great it is not to have American Apparel and Zara everywhere. People do care about local businesses and neighborhood life. The ‘F’ line tramway made out of old trains from all over the world, the cable cars of course, the diversity of ancient houses, the prohibition era heritage..best vintage city to me.
-The way people are able to create confidential, hip phenomena about micro trends just for fun with self-derision. The Bold Italic might the best example. People talk and write about micro-hoods or “corridors”, which are tiny parts of neighborhoods where something is happening, where you have to sneak. To me this city is made of layers, it’s an onion. At first you think it is small but when you start digging into it, following your interests, friends, groups, you open a Pandora box with millions things to discover.
-People wear colors ! Yes ! Paris is so fashionable and elegant that we’re all dressed in black, easy choice. I wear colors and make weird matches here, it is not a science and people seem to have more fun with their look.
-The food culture. I can talk an hour with someone about pickles or home-made ketchup. Coming from France where the culinary heritage is huge, I can tell that people here are more nerds than in Paris food wise. Plus, everyone ask me which product I am missing from France, hmmm nothing. We found everything here, amazing quality ingredients and an international culture for sure. I don’t even talk about the cocktail culture, wow.
-The slow pace. This is not a “world city” like NYC, London, Paris, Tokyo. It is just smaller and much more quiet. The traffic is calm, the noise level is low, I don’t have to take the metro all the time..and workaholics are note trendy anymore. If you don’t have any other interests than your job you’re a hollow person here.
-The contrasts: SF might looks like a postcard or a museum for LA people which I understand but as self-centered as it seems, it is seriously open to the world, it is were the most powerful modern companies were born, it is where our favorite digital tools are baked (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Foursquare, Google, Apple…). You can still feel that being an entrepreneur here is not being an asshole as seen in France. I was about to forget the “indie” film makers that became tentacular (Lucas, Coppola…)
-California state of mind and gems: beaches, sunset, surf culture, rainbows, gay pride, weed, vegetarian, skateboard, yoga, crystals, tofu, street fairs, tree lovers, long hairs, electric cars, animals, bay area metal, festivals, bikes, environmentalism, farms, pick-ups, nerds, mural paintings, beat poets, universities, the gold rush history, “do something for yourself” culture, Pixar…