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My final week in San Francisco

In February of 2010 I gathered up my pair of cats and everything I owned and moved from the suburbs of Philadelphia to downtown San Francisco to join MJ in the condo he had just purchased.

But eight years in an 800 square foot condo was enough for us. We wanted a bigger place, and that meant looking beyond the city. At the end of December we bought the house in Castro Valley, and booked the move date for February 10th. The week and a half leading up to the official move we rented a van and got most of the boxes and small stuff moved out of our storage units in the building. Every day was spent filling up the van and unloading it at the house, effectively leaving us with some final furniture to move, along with the contents of the condo, which was still substantial.

Plastic totes from Global Industrial made packing a bit easier

In the midst of all this move chaos, we also made time to enjoy some of my favorite things about San Francisco that last week we were formally living there.

On the Sunday before the move we decided to enjoy a nice brunch along the Embarcadero at the Delancey Street Restaurant. It’s a place we frequent and enjoy a lot, but I admit that I had an ulterior motive that particular afternoon: the 496 Melbourne street car was doing fare service on the E-Line and I’d never ridden on it. The car now has GPS tracking so it’s easier to find, but that weekend it didn’t, so my best chance of finding it was by sitting on a spot on the route and seeing if I could catch it. Enter brunch! As we were settling up the bill, I saw it coming and went out to take a few pictures.

Of course I didn’t have time to get to a stop to board just yet, but the end of the line wasn’t too far away and I could just catch it on the return, so that’s what I did. MJ headed home and I took a leisurely walk down past the ballpark and waited at King and 2nd for the car to return, and within a half hour, it did. I was the only passenger all the way until Ferry Building, so I had a great opportunity to take a bunch of pictures during my ride. Bonus: I was wearing my t-shirt from the linux.conf.au in Geelong, which is not too far from Melbourne. I’m so glad I got to hop on board even for a short time before getting home to resume packing.

More photos from my ride on the 496, plus some more exterior shots, here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pleia2/sets/72157690135551322

On Monday of that week I wanted to do some of the standard San Francisco tourist stuff, so after work we hopped on the 1058 (Chicago tribute livery) street car at Montgomery and Market to make our way down to Fisherman’s Wharf. There we had dinner at Bistro Boudin where I enjoyed a nice microbrew and a sourdough bowl filled with clam chowder.

We walked over to Pier 39 for our first attempt at dessert, but Trish’s Mini Donuts was closed, and then back over to Ghirardelli Square for the dessert I really wanted, a sundae to share! With dessert thoroughly enjoyed, we then walked over to the cable car stop to take the cable car back downtown. Cable cars are truly my happy place, a ride while hanging on to one of the poles brings me more joy than some of the most impressive places I’ve been around the world. If you ever wish to cheer me up, remind me of this fact and join me on a ride.

Speaking of food, we also made the rounds at some of our favorite restaurants closer to home. One that we’ve frequented since they opened in late 2015 is the Fogo de Chão at 3rd and Howard. We’ve always been Fogo fans, so when this place opened up in the former location of a Chevy’s we were pretty happy and end up going there about once a month. As regulars, we got to know one of the managers and a few of the servers, and our dessert pineapple that evening arrived with congratulations about the new house. It was really kind of them.

I also took some time to admire the views from our roof during that last week. The building where our condo is has 16 stories, making it a decent but not super high roof deck, and over the years new buildings around us have cut off some of the views we used to have, so we can no longer see the ballpark and Sutro Tower. Still, it’s a nice place to relax on warm days and the night time views are always beautiful. It was standing up there taking in the views that leaving the city really hit me and I teared up. We enjoyed eight glorious years of living in downtown San Francisco. We had walk-out-the-door access to world class food, entertainment, culture and dozens of conferences that allowed me to see friends and family who’d come in to town for them, and attend a few myself. I had fallen in love with living downtown, and with San Francisco itself.

San Francisco isn’t far. The BART station is walkable from the new house and a 30 minute ride gets me downtown. I’ve already gone back a handful of times for work, friends and to prepare the condo to be rented out next month. Still, it’s nothing like living downtown, and I’m going to miss it a lot. But onward to new things! And there’s so much space in the new place!