I’ve dreamt about moving to San Francisco since the trip I took here for a high school choir competition in Grade 9. I still remember the morning of that trip, I was so anxious to board the plane of my solo journey that I somehow gave myself a stomach flu. But it wasn’t long before I fell in love with the city and its laid-back, yet, rich culture. I opened my heart up to this city and SF found its way right into it.
Some emails I sent to my mom from my trip— super cringey emails. I swear I don’t type like that anymore, but that “stylistic writing” sure brought me right back to that time period.
So 6 years later, I finally found my way back. I spent my summer at Pinterest learning more than I could have imagined. I kept my days busy with work, nights fun with meet ups and intern open houses, and weekends reserved for my friends and hackathons (usually both). It was scary moving to a new place on my own, who would have known that toilet paper rolls don’t refill themselves? But soon enough, I found myself a couple groups of friends who I did everything with, I still felt homesick at times, but I found my second family here. My fear and loneliness were muffled by love.
So here’s a highlight reel of my summer:
Had the warmest welcome to San Francisco by attending Twitter’s #DevelopHER camp, which I wrote about here!
Stayed in a hostel right in the Tenderloin before moving into my new place, and if you know, you know.
I went to my internet-turned-real-life friend’s potluck and met Zoe and Daniel there.
Ate the best bread pudding at Tartine Bakery, best rice pudding at Loving Cup and spent too many late nights with a bowl of baklava frozen yogurt from Souvla in one hand, and a can of La Croix in the other.
Went to my first Pride Parade and I 👏 was 👏 not 👏 disappointed 👏.
Went to meetups that I have been dying to go to since the beginning of time, including SF DevRel, WaffleJS, Lesbians Who Tech, and Sentry Scouts. Listen, these 4 are the most iconic meetups I have ever had the honour of attending.
Witnessed apps on my phone work better than they ever have in Vancouver, I’m looking at you, Yelp.
Spent my first 4th of July at Mark Zuckerberg’s old hacker house in Palo Alto, where he built Facebook.
Took advantage of the free food at every intern open house / festival / hackathon. Huge thank you to the friends who share mutual passions with me in tech, and in food.
Shivered from the insanely cold SF summer nights no one warns you about, and the view from Battery Spencer (day) and Twin Peaks (night).
Watched School of Rock, Soft Power and Halsey’s concert (preference in that order only because my girl did not sing Roman Holiday).
Wondered how I spent my life without knowing René Magritte. SFMOMA, you showed me the light.
Stayed up too many long nights losing our sanity over made up board game rules.
Spoke on the intern panel at Spectra, which I am so proud of my friends for putting together!
DID YOU KNOW: @tfogo organized @HackNotts 😍, @naomi_pen will be hosting a docker workshop at @sospectra and is an ex-Harry Potter hackathon organizer, and @picsoung is the pioneer of @typeform in the Bay Area? 👀 #spectra2 #spectraselfies pic.twitter.com/FPYh69pOJJ— Charmaine Lee (@charmaine_klee) July 28, 2018
I’ll have to stop listing things before I start getting emotional again (I'm talking Michael Scott leaving The Office in episode 148 emotional. Speaking of which, this remix of The Office theme song is my summer anthem). It's also important to note that these are only the highlights, San Francisco has its fair share of problems as a city that deserves a whole post on its own— I'm well aware of that, but let's celebrate the good things for now! 😉
Needless to say, I’m not ready to leave. But I guess I won’t ever be. I’ll make the most of my time left here and hang on to the latter half of this bittersweet feeling I’m drowned with, with the constant reminder that this city will always be here when I need it.
San Francisco, stay Golden.