Good To Be Home


Home is where the heart is.

My heart travels with me well and I am blessed, blessed, I say, to get to travel right back home to where I belong, home, home, down by the sea in San Francisco.

“Uh, where are you visiting from,” one of my cousins awkwardly asked as he reached for second helpings of grandma’s rice.  “I mean, where are you from, I, uh, haha, this is coming out funny, where do you live?”

San Francisco.

How do I love thee?

Let me count the ways.

Not because of your fog, though I was not disheartened to see it rolling in over the hills, there was some sunshine out at SFO when I landed and for a moment I rejoiced even harder.

Sunshine!

In San Francisco, at this time of year.

Yay.

But the celebration was cut short.

I realized, um, yeah, the airport is on the opposite side of the city and not actually in San Francisco and is not foggy, but the fog, it is there, right there.

I can see you fog.

Hunkered down, grey, cool, misty.

I may change my tune after a couple of days of it, but I wasn’t upset to see it and it was just another characteristic of this place I love so much.

“Did you see that the median apartment in San Francisco is $4,200?”  My uncle asked me asked yesterday as he was reading an article on his new iPad.

“Yeah, it’s creepy, and I remember all the fuss about how the minimum wage has gone up, but really, nobody making minimum wage can live in the city,” I acknowledged my uncle.

“I don’t pay that much, $1300 for my studio,” I said.

My uncle still raised his eyebrows at the price and then told me about a friend who has a studio twice as large as mine and pays $500 for it.

The three bedroom house across the street goes for $1300.

Yeah.

But is it in San Francisco?

I think not.

I mean I’m sure Nevada City is great and all.

But.

Um.

No.

I don’t often question it and I don’t think about it, but I feel that I am spoiled by the beauty that surrounds me, the character of living here, even if a lot of people I know are getting priced out of living in the city.

Hell.

One of my dear friends is a doctor and her husband is a doctor too and they couldn’t afford to buy a house in San Francisco.

They found a sweet place in North Berkeley and they commute.

Many of the artists and craftsman and creatives that make San Francisco, San Francisco, have left, gone over to Oakland or further Seattle, Portland, Brooklyn.

And I am still here.

Hanging on by a tether to the edge of the sea and every time.

EVERY.

SINGLE.

TIME.

The wheels touch down and the plane lands, I smile.

I know I am home.

“Hello house!” I said when I walked in.

“So good to see you.”

Yeah.

I know.

I talk to my house.

But it is an animate space full of color and art and creativity and it’s my little space and it is my little piece of San Francisco.

And in my own teeny tiny way.

I believe I add some of that special San Francisco treat to the area I live in.

I am a character.

I am colorful.

And I don’t know where better to express who I am with as much joy as I have for being who I am, than in San Francisco.

“I love your hair!” The baggage handler said to me as I checked my bag.

My flight was delayed, see above, fog in San Francisco, and I checked my bag through to SFO rather than carry on.

There was no charge and since it was a direct flight I wasn’t worried about losing it in transit.

Plus I was going to hop on BART and then the N-Judah to get home.

I was in no rush.

The flight was short and I would say that I spent more time in transit to and from the airports than I did actually on the plane.

I made some phone calls, caught up with some lady bugs, sighed content with happiness to see the familiar Victorians going by the MUNI glass windows and when I hit Sunset on the N-Judah I called ahead to Thai Cottage and placed an order for Tom Ka soup with chicken and a side of brown rice.

“Ready in fifteen minutes!”

Yes.

I got off at 46th and Judah, hustled my bag home, and turned around and walked over to Thai Cottage to grab my lunch and dinner.

I was not cooking today.

In fact, I did make it out to the grocery store, but only to make sure I have coffee for tomorrow and apples for the making of oatmeal all week.

I’m not sure what I’ll do for food at work this week, but I just did not have it in me to cook up a bunch of food.

In fact, I am all tuckered out.

Travel can do that to me.

Even though it wasn’t a great big journey.

it was a big deal.

Saying good-bye to my grandma was a big deal, a bigger deal than I expected.

I hugged her and said “I love you,” at the curb side check in.

“I love you too,” she said.

And we looked at each other.

There.

Right there.

Don’t start crying.

It surprised me.

Where did that come from?

I understand myself well enough to see that I had some expectations going into it, not knowing what to expect I created something for myself to hold onto, the idea of history, or story, of finding out where I am from.

Instead what I got to see is this small, resilient woman, who raised four children and walked through 87 years of life see me for who I am and love me despite myself.

“You look good with flowers in your hair,” she confided in me out of the blue last night in the kitchen.

“I used to wear fresh gardenia’s in my hair, when I lived in Paia (on Maui)” she continued, “I would pick them and wash out the ants,” and she mimicked putting one behind her ear.

I am seen.

And I got to see my grandmother.

A friend jokingly responded to a photograph I posted on Instagram, “gee, no resemblance, at all.”

I laughed.

It is there.

Not just in the flowers in our hair.

But in the survival, the resiliency, the strength of a woman, the getting through, the doing the best one can with what one has.

I hope I am able to summon as much quiet strength and grace as my grandma displayed to me as I go forward.

I don’t know exactly where I will end up.

But fingers crossed.

It will still be San Francisco.

I am with myself wherever I go.

But it feels best when I am home.

Where my heart is.

I left it here and shall return again and again and again.

To reclaim it.

Dust off it’s weary travel self.

And.

Put it right back on my sleeve where it belongs.

In San Francisco

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