After two years living in South Africa, I am finally back home in my beloved San Francisco. The 26 hour flight with a 3 hour layover was intense to say the least and I found myself in a bit of a daze upon arrival. This didn’t stop me from taking a shower and going straight to a Mexican taqueria for a massive carne asada burrito or prevent me from going to the Verzion Wireless Store to pick up an Iphone 4. Ahhhh the luxuries of the Western World.
I felt this mixture of elated excitement and complete sadness as I boarded my first plane. It is the first time in my life I have ever experienced two emotions from opposite sides of the spectrum so intensely. Odd is the only word that I can find to describe this feeling.
There were times during the long flight that I felt like I was going to go insane if the damn plane didnt land soon and towards the end, a wave of fear washed over me when the pilot announced we were 20 minutes away from landing in San Francisco International Airport. A couple tears managed to escape as the plane taxied to our gate and I found myself feeling very overwhelmed with doubt and regret of leaving behind the comfort zone we had taken two years to create.
The BART ride was long and I made small talk with my lovely roommate as I was being pulled into the city I left behind. After taking a shower, we headed out to the Mission District, a Latino area of the city with all sorts of funky restaurants, bars and an abundance of Mexican food (also my favorite district btw). The #14 bus, a usual route from my days prior to moving, was full of local entertainment. First of all, I marvelled at the fact that I could ride public transportation safely and that it was so organized and frequent. The mixture of races, ethnicities and sociology-economic levels riding public transport was a breath of fresh air and I was reminded of the typical American politeness when an older woman offered me the seat next to her with a smile. Soon after boarding a man came and sat next to me, completely wreaking of chronic. Maybe he had a medical marijuana license and was free to carry it as he liked, and even if he didn’t, it is illegal for the police to arrest a civilian for marijuana possession within the San Francisco city limits. I then watched as the bus driver nearly hit a pedestrian and the ghetto woman from behind me screamed “OH SHIT!”-
I had finally arrived in San Francisco and I remembered why I had so desperately wanted to come back.