Friday, May 17, 2024


One of more than 100 heart sculptures in San Francisco.
This one is in front of the Kaiser Medical Building in Mission Bay.

I thought I was done with cities when we returned from living in Tokyo and Paris after almost six years. I was tired of the crowds, of trying to fit into different cultures, and of the subtle differences in the taste of chicken and milk. Though I took language lessons, I needed more skills to feel literate. Living in another city was not on my list of places to buy a new home. Wind is my least favorite weather. I knew that San Francisco was windy most of the time.

Once we sold our house, we became vagabonds, testing different possibilities. First an extended stay hotel, then a rental in Aptos near the ocean. We moved from there to two different apartments in the same complex in San Francisco while Bill had successful radiation treatments. 

Each time we moved, we left with memories of the place we vacated. At our old home, we left frequent visits with friends, the garden and wildlife who shared our backyard, my studio and kitchen which were delights to work in and a lot of monthly expenses. At the extended-stay hotel, Bill found a place that he liked, a local sports bar that served his favorite rye Manhattan. In Aptos, we loved being near the ocean and discovering the friendly people and restaurants in town. I connected with a high school friend and a fellow writers' group member who lived in Aptos. 

We weren't done moving yet. We moved to the City, but after two months, we left our first apartment for another in the same complex. We missed the sun streaming through the south-facing windows of our first place but were glad to move away from the noise of the garbage trucks that clanged down the street almost every morning.

Once we moved to our second apartment on Long Bridge Street, we looked in earnest all over the Bay Area for a new home. One day while walking around our neighborhood, we noticed an open house sign in a condominium complex. We couldn't resist taking a look. We met a realtor who in the next couple of weeks guided us to possibilities around the City. We were hooked when we walked into a light-filled condo with a wonderful view of the skyline and still close to the ballparks.

The heart sculpture outside an apartment complex in Mission Bay

 While we are preparing to move to the condo, we think about what we will miss at this apartment: the corner coffee cafe and the friendly servers, the close walk to Gus's Community Market and to Chase Center when the Warriors are in town, the park that runs along Mission Creek, the hummingbirds who flutter at our eighth-floor windows, and the view of the tide ebbing and flowing along the creek, which runs into the Bay. 

I no longer feel that I am done with cities. I am enjoying the theater and museums, walks along the shoreline of the bay, and traveling by bus, streetcar, and BART to explore parts of the City where we have never been. I like the busyness of the streets, but also the ability to rise above the crowds in our quiet apartment where I can watch the seagulls gliding from one point to another. I'm still trying to get used to the wind. At the cafe at the end of the block, I listen to all the different languages that are spoken around us while a walk to the ballpark for a game is an easy way to enjoy being part of the excitement of a city.


Read one of Alice Munro's short stories.

One of my favorite writers passed away recently and she is worth remembering. Read one of her books.

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