I think it was the West Coast feel. Compared to where I was from, everyone seemed relatively laid back. I spent the summer of 2011 interning for a software company and living in the Mission district (with a quick stint in Berkeley!). Looking back, I regret all of the nights that I stayed in my apartment thinking about myself, or browsing the internet.
I just want to live. Here is me looking back, I'm feeling a little bit nostalgic after watching Five-Year Engagement as I sit here in Boston.
People. Ambitious would be a good way to describe everyone that I met out in SF. Techy would be another cool word. However, it's hard to put a feel on it. I felt like I was surrounded by people that I was one beer away from following my dreams and starting a company. I really loved that. I also loved how people (for the most part) didn't really care who you were, who you liked, how you dressed, etc. Made me feel welcome and made me want to be accepting and welcoming.
Working. It is more about just showing up with a suit and a smile on, putting in your 8 hours and clocking out. It was hard for me to adjust to this, even as a college student with no schedule. We are taught that you go to school to get a job to clock in that 9-5. Totally different here. I remember the first day of my internship seeing another intern with just a t-shirt and jeans wondering how he was able to pull that off as I sweated through my suit. I began to realize that it's not about when you show up, it's about what you're really doing and how do you really contribute.
This was the hardest part for me to adjust, and I believe that I could have done a better job adjusting.
Living. You are 4-5 hours from amazing sights. Wanna see mind-blowingly huge trees!? Wanna see millions of dollars worth of sports cars zig zag on the Pacific Coast Highway?! Wanna grab some awesome seafood in Monterey?!
Dining. As with any city, you get the various ethic neighborhoods with deep food culture. SF's was unique. No drunken night can be complete without a donut from an chinese-donut-pastry-whatever shop liken Bob's donuts. Mission had some stellar Mexican and I for sure as hell miss the food trucks in the downtown area for lunch. Filipino food? Yes!
Coffee. I miss the jetfuel that they served at Philz coffee. I would pay an obnoxious amount of money for a Mocha, a touch on the bitter side from Philz out in the Mission.
Drinking. So many watering holes for whatever scene you are interested in. Cannot go wrong.
Parking. This was the bane of my existence in SF. I would dread having to find a parking spot for my car within a mile of my apartment and at least somewhere near a subway station. If I could do it again, I would have found cheaper living, and maybe parked my car somewhere farther away, but accessible by public transportation. I'll never forget the time that I was about to get ready for work, heard the street sweeper from my window and realized that my car was on the wrong side of the street. I grabbed my phone, keys and wallet and headed out the door in effectively nothing. The officer was writing my ticket for my car, as I (without saying a word), got into my car and drove off. I headed to the beach area, as I realized that I hadn't been there yet. I spent the morning walking along the beach just enjoying the sea smell and early morning atmosphere. I was late for work, but enjoyed the freshness of the early morning.
Weather. After suffering through a long hard winter in Buffalo (Okay, it wasn't that bad), I was excited to have a California summer! I was definitely disappointed when I came to San Francisco and found out that summer is delayed until the traditional fall months.
All in all, I had a fantastic time out there in SF. I really hope to find myself in the Bay Area for work sometime in the near future.
Restless traveler, music lover, displaced Buffalonian. Love geeking out over cutting edge engineering technologies in aerospace & clean tech. Autodesker & ESWer