August 6th, 2022
Five years ago today, I landed in Sydney Australia. I had flown via Maui from San Francisco after a stint in Chicago and two weeks in LA. I was on no shortage of a farewell tour and my final destination was only a mere six thousand miles from home: Down Under.
It's funny how long ago that time period feels, while also containing some of the most vivid Sydney memories I ever collected. Maybe anywhere! I was alone, on the precipice of a new life chapter. I was hungry, a bit clueless, drained from already having traveled and emotional wiped from saying goodbyes, eating final meals, and checking off bucket list items like it was my job! It's not as though I was leaving the planet for an interplanetary frontier; it's not as though I wouldn't be home eight weeks later for Britt's wedding to Jeff and my second-ever gig as bridesmaid. However, it's easy to forget that the start of this new chapter was also the end of an era.
Five years ago today, I left [my heart in] San Francisco. After three adventurous years of living in the city, trying new things and countless firsts and making an indefinite amount of friends and workBFFs? I was bidding adieu to Silicon Valley. SF was arguably the town that changed my life, sparked a level of my independence and introduced me to the people who would change my career trajectory. I'd fall in like and love with countless work crushes, neighborhood "holes in the wall," parks to lounge in and neighborhoods to explore. I'd rent my first moving truck solo, find my first two bedroom with a total stranger, stay away for the weekend with my first "guy I'm seeing" (wishing he was actual boyfriend and finding, also for the first time, the guts to tell him as much). I'd learn to love yoga, I'd train for a marathon, and I'd help organize my first charity 5K to bring my love of running across the city. I'd cross the Golden Gate bridge, take my first ferry to Sausalito, run across instead, and jog the entire circumference of this city in order to see it close up, first hand.
It feels so long ago that it's hard for me to recall each local haunt, each fave. I miss the brunch place that was totally too mediocre for me to know the name, and I miss the coffee shop that was decent but beloved because of its reliability and proximity to our home (mere steps). I miss the Italian place around the corner where I found sanctuary when I was locked out of house and home, roommates out of town. I miss the rooftop balcony overlooking Coit Tower where I had countless housewarmings, roommates "byes," Galentines dinners and Bloody Mary fundraisers for Pencils of Promise.
When I think back to that final week or two of farewells, I think I did pretty well at exhausting my favorite bites. I tried House of Prime Rib (finally!) and ordered Brandy Ho. I had Salt & Straw post park-day and got a Minty Mojito from the Philz coffee truck in the Marina Green. I probably fit in acai bowls from Basic Cafe and calzones from Italian Homemade. I remember that I wanted everything and also to do nothing, and simply savor life's simplicity. I was embarking on an adventure that would lend to [plenty more food and] new friends, new cuisines, new hobbies, and new horizons. Some things I'd carry with me, but I wanted to squeeze all the juice I could out of my city by the bay.
Finally, I remember having oysters and bloodies with Nancy Dave Talia and Chels. My San Francisco fam was made up of none other more unconditional, more instrumental to my life here. If it hadn't been for the Lowerre's or Talia's friendship or Chels as my ride-or-die, I might not have found nor felt as at home.
Now it's five years to the day that I touched down in Sydney. I ventured out for a jog around Darling Harbour... the same Darling Harbour that I had met at age 19 in my fleece peacoat. I looked out each morning at the CBD skyline atop the trees of Hyde Park. I reunited with Danielle, met Rupert, had dumplings with Ash... and then went to bookclub. Life would change forever, once again, and not for the last time.
Five years ago today, I saw the sun beaming through those Sydney winter grays and thought: there's always a trade-off and yet, there's a silver lining on each new horizon.
Abroad Back Home
Who am I?
I am a girl who loves my island and a girl who loves the sea; it calls me.