A-Ha! Finally! A podium to spread my wisdom to the world. Hello folks, I’d like to introduce myself to you all as “The Wandering Shepherd”, but around the office they just call me the intern. But don’t let a silly title such as intern fool you, I have a lot to say, and hopefully you all take something from it and enjoy my ramblings.
I’m not a native to San Francisco. In fact I’m far from it. I even hesitate to call myself a resident right now, as I’m essentially couch surfing in my buddy’s apartment and will unfortunately be leaving in a few short months. So if I’m not a tourist, or a resident, let’s call myself a San Francisco enthusiast. And the first thing I learned while being out here is that it’s not never called San Fran. Always San Francisco. I guess when you think about it, San Fran sounds like the name of an old granny. Or at least semi – rhymes with Fran.
The circumstances that brought me out to San Francisco were an unusual set, maybe even completely unique to me. After months of waiting in limbo, on the third of January I was formally invited to become a Volunteer in the Peace Corps. This was, and is, a dream opportunity for me and I couldn’t of been offered a more ideal position: business educator and advisor in Central America, specifically in Masaya, Nicaragua.
Being a Finance major and having a history in the Spanish language, I can’t describe how psyched I was to get the invite. Picture this: a lean 150 pound freshman to the “real world” scampering around his child hood room, fist pumping to his old stuffed animals. In fact if anyone had actually seen my reaction, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t call me a friend anymore. Yup, that bad. But there was one tiny drawback – a departure date of May 10th. What on earth is a recent college grad supposed to do in ice covered suburbia for four months time?
I’ll tell you what I couldn’t do: continue to live with his parents. I love them to death, but there comes a time to get out of Dodge. Tensions were starting to rise, so the only logical choice was to flee. And flee from Dodge I did.
I briefly considered sub-letting in NYC, or living with some current undergrad friends back in Richmond, but there was one city in particular always disrupting those ideas. I’ll give you one guess one what city that was. This should be a toss up for most of you, but it case it wasn’t, I was dreaming of San Francisco.
On the East Coast, SF has this mystical allure to it. Well really the whole West Coast does, but SF does in particular. For most, the pull is the powerful image of the Golden Gate Bridge shrouded in the fog, welcoming visitors to the neat little neighborhoods nestled among the wildly steep hills. For me it most definitely is not the hills. Biking around the city (my primary mode of transportation) has taken some getting use to. My first adventure from the Marina to our man pad was a leg burning, demoralizing, ego bursting excursion to say the least. But it has now been 3 weeks and I now comfortably cruise from Chestnut Street, up Scott and over Pacific Heights without pausing for break Lance has got nothing on me.
Apart from the glitz and glamour and the city’s environmental liberalism, I came because SF offered me a gateway to something non-existent in my small suburban home town: outdoor adventure and an exercise oriented lifestyle. The closest thing to an outdoor activity back home is running through the trails of the town park. Whoop – de – do! Out here I am within stones throw of landscapes and natural phenomenon’s I’ve never seen or had the fortitude to exploit back in Connecticut.
Mountains, lakes, waves, sequoia’s, Oh my! And on a sunny day, it seems like the entire city is out and about running, surfing, or biking in some sort of capacity. It’s almost overwhelming, as all of the sudden I’m surrounded by everything and anything I can think about doing in the great outdoors. But make no mistake, I am taking advantage of it. I came out to San Francisco primarily to explore the West Coast and myself, but also to get fit. I flew out here soft, but I intend to leave here firm – and ready to take on all that Central America can dish out in turn.
It’s been a slow process. More often than not I have found myself over my head in my first couple of weeks in my attempts of surfing and long distance running. But when you’re biking across the Golden Gate, and this is your view, it’s tough to complain about those bumps and bruises.
A great description of the New Englanders view of the West. I can only droll at the possibilities as is snows on April 1 again.
Not bad for an intern.