Anniversaries are milestones that mark our lives. They can be detours, stumbling blocks, or just a celebration of an important change, as mine turned out to be. The celebration of my new life, the one I unsuspectingly started when I came to San Francisco for a visit, making it my home. I didn’t make a conscious decision to stay, I slowly postponed my return home. And here I am, in this adopted city after that flight I never took back, 17 years ago. A two-way ticket that turned into a one-way without having planned it.
I’ve made few decisions in my life. I’ve allowed life to carry me along, and I’ve been lucky to have landed in the right places. I would have never made the conscious choice of moving, I’m too fearful to take such leap. I just trusted life and my pull for a city that felt like my own. A place that embraced my weirdness and unconventionality. A place that dared not judge me, but accepted me. A city where a millionaire looks like a pauper and nobody blinks an eye. Where everyone shares the same space, not tolerating but seeing you as just another human being breathing the same air.
Today, I celebrate the day I arrived, – with only one sweater and a suitcase full of summer clothes, believing this was a warm sunny California city in August,- I froze, and wore the sweater out that summer. San Francisco is only warm and sunny in movies. Chilly year round and the coldest in August.
I celebrated my birthday that month too, walking down to Ocean Beach and making my birthday wish: “Please, change my life! I’m suffocating!” Boy, did this city hear me loud and clear! It granted me my wish. It changed my life, myself and allowed me a space to breathe.
This city gave me hope, a new meaningful life and new friends.
Thank you San Francisco, thank you life!