hella NorCal

Yesterday, after a long day of work and volunteering, I headed straight for the kitchen. My dear partner had cooked up a delicious batch of Asian seafood stir-fry for me, which I ladled over organic rice cakes and savored. After finishing up, I began preparing the next day’s meals. For breakfast: overnight oatmeal prepared with chia seeds, chocolate soy milk, almond milk, soy protein powder, and a banana. For lunch: savory tofu with sauteed vegetables and raw broccoli. It was then that I realized I’d finally done it. I’d fallen down the slippery slope of San Francisco living. I only needed to look in my closet — at the North Face jacket hanging smugly in its corner — for proof.

I’d taken note of this change before. If I had to describe my fashion inspiration, I might use the term “grandmotherly chic” — but, once I moved up to Berkeley, the former, rather than the latter, began dominating my sartorial choices. Gone were the days of impractically cute shoes, flattering dresses, beachy long tresses. Now, I wore heavy sweaters, androgynous booties, and minimal makeup. It’s not that I’d adopted a different perspective; indeed, whenever I found myself in Orange County, I’d gleefully revert back to my SoCal style persona. However, never in my life did I think I’d consider purchasing Birkenstocks — but I have, and only after moving north. Yes, it’s true that the differing climates may dictate my garb. But, certainly, there are other aspects of my life that living in San Francisco has changed at a deeper level.

I feel horribly guilty if I don’t compost and recycle. I carry around a tote bag, in which there is, without fail, another tote bag to carry my groceries. I am more adventurous when it comes to food (even tasting cheese or ingesting onions here and there). I think about the origins of the food on my plate. I take the bus daily. I yearn to be outdoors and in nature. I volunteer at a non-profit organization. I try my best to think critically about race, gender, socioeconomic privilege, power, and other dynamics which influence society. In other words — I’ve become more San Francisco.

Yet, there is still a part of me that is, and will forever be, Orange County. I love shopping and looking at (sometimes, spending money on) pretty things. I like spending lazy days doing absolutely nothing. I enjoy purely indulging in delicious food, beautiful clothing, fascinating knick-knacks — without having to worry about their sourcing. I love instant gratification (including that of having a car take me exactly where I want to go). I constantly shy away from the nitty-gritty images and details of life. I still have a naivete and hedonistic drive in me, borne through years of living in sheltered suburbia.

Regardless, however, I’m here by choice. Although I may secretly yearn for short skirts and fat burgers, I’ll forego those for the time being. San Francisco, you can have me. Continue your change. I’m game.


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