How I Love My Hometown Is Changing

I'm Learning To Adapt How I Love My Changing Hometown

San Francisco has dramatically morphed and changed in front of my eyes over the years.


I have a strange lens I view San Francisco through whenever I think about it. I visualize a skyline from the late 90s and I see the world in sepia tones. I see establishing shots of the Transamerica Pyramid from "Charmed" and Alamo Square and the Golden Gate Bridge from "Full House."

Obviously, I don't literally have a kaleidoscope of 90s entertainment set in San Francisco on my face whenever I visit the city. But, I have a set expectation with which I regard the city that I consider to be a distant, but significant part of my hometown experiences.

When I graduated from high school, my personal statement for colleges included a creative nonfiction piece personifying the city. Some of the first poetry I wrote in college centered around the city's effect on my growth and learning.

I'm from a suburb 45 minutes outside of San Francisco. It's my true home "town." However, San Francisco was the first source of history lessons from my parents, where I learned to co-exist in a city, and where I later escaped to with my friends.

What changed? San Francisco dramatically morphed into SF. There is a distinction, I promise you. San Francisco is the romanticized playground the Beats generation and has winding, mysterious streets. SF is an altered corporate landscape with airport traffic and overpriced parking.

I understand this sounds wholly dramatic, but I recognize my own bias in the matter. I've not been the only one to think about this city with magic and sensationalism. San Francisco has a history of being mysticized in the media and movies. From Chinatown to Telegraph Hill, it is no stranger to storytelling for generations.

So, when I felt my city changed, especially after I came back from college, it took and is still taking some adjusting to. I've accounted for the majority of my disillusionment. As I said before, I romanticized San Francisco like nothing else. What I faced, after years of learning to live in a different city and falling in love with it for other reasons, I was simply disappointed when San Francisco didn't hold the same level of magic in my eyes as before.

I am fortunate that the kind of change that I am facing is not as involved as others, but it is a change nevertheless. The fact of the matter is that San Francisco is growing as a city, building, and rebuilding, and it is difficult to handle a metropolitan level of change. Although there are parts of the advancing city that I will find hard to accept, I just have to go back to some of my favorite city spots to remember the essence of the city that I will always hold first in my heart.

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30 Places Every Millennial Girl Needs To Travel To BEFORE She Turns 30

Live your best life, all around the world.

I am a travel enthusiast. There is nowhere I do not want to go.

Traveling the world is one of my biggest goals in life and I am determined to make it happen. The world is so big and I would love to see every inch of it at some point or another.

However, if I can travel to these 30 places before I turn 30, I will feel as though I have accomplished more than enough.

1. New York City, New York

2. New Orleans, Louisiana

3. Grand Canyon, Arizona

4. Las Vegas, Nevada

5. San Francisco, California

6. Los Angeles, California

7. Nashville, Tennessee

8. Honolulu, Hawaii

9. Walt Disney World, Florida

10. Chicago, Illinois

11. Nassau, Bahamas

12. Cozumel, Mexico

13. Cancún, Mexico

14. Bridgetown, Barbados

15. Basseterre, St. Kitts

16. Philipsburg, St. Maarten

17. Montego Bay, Jamacia

18. Christiansted, St. Croix

19. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

20. Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

21. Tortola Baths, Tortola

22. San Juan, Puerto Rico

23. Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos

24. Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

25. Oranjestad, Aruba

26. Mykonos, Greece

27. London, England

28. Paris, France

29. Barcelona, Spain

30. Rome, Italy

Okay, so these are 30 places I want to go out of like, a million. I have traveled to some of these places and would not hesitate one second to go back.

Every new place is like a new adventure, and traveling will forever be so exciting and intruiging to me.

Cover Image Credit: Maisa Teat

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Valuable Takeaways You Will Get From Studying Abroad

The things you'll remember most won't be the "crazy parties", but memories much more meaningful than that.


Everyone who studies abroad always comes back saying the same cliche things, such as how study abroad absolutely changed them or how they feel like they just belong in the place they studied in. Others will boast about skipping all their classes and partying every other night, which in a way, are also unique experiences. After 4 months abroad, I can assure you that although there is some truth in all of those statements, the reality is more of a mild mix of all of them. You will create unforgettable memories with friends and spend time partying it up in the city, but you will also come to genuinely appreciate your city for its small quirks instead of the major touristy activities. Regardless of your experience, however, here are some lessons everyone will have taken from their time abroad.

1. More Independence

No matter how well traveled you were before starting this semester abroad, when you're thrown into a foreign country with no one familiar, you'll be forced to grow up quickly. From figuring out how to interact with your non-student neighbors to figuring out meals every single day, studying abroad will help you grow up quickly. This may be the first time that you'll be away from everyone you know for more than a few weeks, and you'll have to find ways to cope with it.

2. New Perspectives

After spending more than 10 years in the American education system, learning about events like World War II and the Global Financial Crisis from a non-American perspective can be extremely eye-opening. Interactions and discussions with international students from other countries will leave you baffled at how many major things in history that your public high school education back in America never taught you. Picnics with your classmates will reveal new foods that you have never been exposed to, but that you now love and must eat once a week. The world is a diverse place, and it required you to get out of the country to truly realize it.

3. Travel opportunities

In the US, you could drive 7 hours from Los Angeles and still end up in California. In Europe or Asia or any other place, transportation methods under that same time can get you to another country or even multiple countries. Instead of a weekend trip to the mountains in the same state, you can take a train from Paris and end up in London a mere two hours later. With different countries so close together, take as many chances as possible to explore as much as you can. That being said, don't forget to travel within your own country and thoroughly explore the place you're living in!

4. Lifelong friendships

Even if you're an introvert, you'll find someone you can get along well with while abroad. Slowly but surely, you'll make that study buddy, gym buddy, boba buddy, or whatever-else-you-do buddy. Realistically, you won't be able to meet up with these people anytime soon after your time abroad, but you'll become so close to them during these few months because you're all on your own for the first time. Every few years, you'll still be compelled to meet up and catch up with them. Every time you visit a country, you'll be able to hit up the friend you made while studying abroad who lives there.

Everyone's study abroad experience will be different, but as long as you put yourself out there and make the most of your time abroad, you will come home with some of the fondest memories of your life.

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