First Week in SF- Lessons Learned

My first week in San Francisco is almost over and I feel like a sponge that is soaking up all the new things, the interesting lessons learned and the first impressions. So, let me share some with you:

1.) Learn how to convert miles into kilometers. “Oh, 2 miles to the nearest supermarket, that’s walking distance!” shall remain a one-time-only misadventure.

2.) Bank accounts- there is a checking and a saving account and you have to transfer your money to one of them and in-between each other. Should have probably done my research before so that I could have avoided the slightly awkward: “Oh no, I don’t wanna open two accounts, I just want one. One account!”
“Yes Miss, but do you wanna place the deposit on your checking or your savings account for now?”
“I want a general account, a veery basic account and just one of them, Just.ONE”

3.) .. Bank employees are incredibly patient. And really lovely. So lovely, in fact, that I went home and googled “Can you add your banker on Facebook?” Turns out- you can. Depends a little on the moral guidelines of the banks though.

4.) The nearest grocery store is called “Trader Joes”, which I guess is the healthier mini-version of a Walmart? They don’t really have any brands I know, but they try to make up by selling EVERYTHING organic, vegan and gluten-free. Gluten-free brownie mix, vegan almond butter… Luckily, I found something called Safeway nearby. It might still be a 20-minute-walk, but it is entirely possible to buy ice-cream and carry it home without it melting. I know because that was the first thing I tried, of course. Currently building an ice-cream paradise in our freezer as we speak.

5.) I get why people stereotype East Coasters as colder and more distant..it’s hard to compete against the warmth and enthusiasm of the folks from around here. Everybody is SO happy to meet me and my stories about Germany are so VERY insightful and oh, didn’t I just have the GREATEST of experiences today.

6.) Nothing beats warm blueberry bagels. Or warm blueberry bagels with ham! Although, my housemate seems to think that’s weird.

7.) Californian sun….wow. Should not have underestimated that. I sat outside to read and after ten minutes I was pretty  sunburned. I really wonder whether “tanned” will just be my normal skin color from now on. WHAT IS THIS LIFE?!?!

8.) Public transportation- well. First of, if you are looking for the buttons to press for stop requests….try the chords dangling alongside the windows and don’t get discouraged that they look like exposed electrodes. Secondly, .. no. I will stay open minded and trust that public transport is actually great!

9.) Homelessness seems to be a reocurring phenomenon around here. Even when walking through an area that looks like New York’s Wall Street, there are so many streets populated by homeless people.

10.) It’s super easy to get into chit-chats with people but it’s really tricky to differ between solid promises and vague suggestions. If someone you just met says “Oh, we should totally spend a day in the park”, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are automatically going through their mental schedule to make time for you and set a date. Had to learn that the hard way..

11.) Dress in layers. I heard of the microclimate but I only really believed it when I left my neighborhood in NoFo valley (aka notorious fog valley) to go downtown, only to come out of the subway and find a paradise of burning heat, light-blue skies and no fog in sight. Also, beaches here in San Francisco are not exactly like you see them in California movies. I mean, they are great. But don’t expect palm trees. Or hot lifeguards. Or temperatures warm enough to actually go swimming. I might have to save up for a trip to LA soon. Or SAN DIEGO!!!

12.) Pandora. Oooooh Pandora Free Radio Station. You know me so well. We’ll be best friends I’m sure! Quite fittingly, my first ever Pandora station is titled “Unpacking”

13.) UNBLOCKED YOUTUBE VIDEOS!!! I mean, people here don’t have health insurance or social securities or paid vacation but they can LITERALLY watch ANY video they want on YouTube. In HD. Over and over again.

14.) Kale. Can we talk about Kale for a moment? Kale CHIPS. Kale smoothies. Kale T-shirts. I translated that word to German the other day and, what do you know.. it’s been a thing in Germany for centuries. But don’t you dare saying that out loud around here. According to West Coasters, they just discovered it, so of course it has actually JUST become the “latest graze”.

15.) Eeerm.. Instagram. It’s an actual thing. People instagram their foods and use hashtags and take selfies all the time. I might sign up for an account, just to see what all the fuzz is about. Maybe.

So, that was my first week for you and there’s yet more to come. I really really like SF so far and feel super comfortable in my rented place and with the people (and the dog) I live with. So far, so good- I’ll keep you guys posted 🙂

Cheers and go to the West Coast soon!

Ari

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