Things I’ll Miss About San Francisco

Another late night blog post. I fly out from SFO tomorrow afternoon. I’ve pretty much finished packing my 2 luggages and 2 carry-ons. Yes, I have a lot of stuff to bring home. Life lesson: if you plan to stay somewhere for more than a month, you should not bring more than 2 weeks of clothing, or 2-3 sets of clothing for each ‘occasion’ (especially when you know you’ll be working 5 out of 7 days).

There are many things I like about San Francisco, but only a handful I truly cherish.

1. The food. Food trucks, fine dining, whatever it may be. I don’t think there’s been a day that I have not tasted good food. Maybe it’s an American thing. Or is it an SF thing? Who knows. Definitely beats K-W. And Toronto.

I think the coolest trend that’s been going around the area is the idea of making everything a burrito. Just stuffing all the goodness + sauce into 1 huge burrito, then devouring it. And this can work for any type of food – Korean, Chinese, Indian, Thai …And I also got exposed to a lot of european food, including French and Italian. It’s just not a thing for people in the early 20s to eat at fancy places often (thanks to all those team lunches, though.. )

2. Startups & tech industry involvement / exposure. I didn’t start checking out other tech companies til this month. I went off to MSoft, 2 weekends ago I saw LinkedIn + Google + Tagged, and this week has been crazy – Zynga, Twitter, Airbnb. It was interesting to see the survey of office environments and compare them to my own. I don’t have a favourite yet, every company has their own culture, and their work environment, physically and emotionally, stems from that.

Tech talks and meetups are happening all the time, whether the motive is to educate or to socialize, there’s positive influence all around. I love it. You really can’t get the same feeling back in Waterloo or Toronto. And I bet NY can’t compare, either. Even the mayor of SF, Ed Lee, visited our office a couple weeks ago because he wanted to connect with the tech industry a little more. After all, a majority of SF citizens work in the tech industry.

3. High usage of social networking.  Path, Foursquare, Twitter, and other social networking crazes. Then there’s a few that focus on specific ideas, such as Instagram, Pair, and Pinterest.. All of these things that are hugeee due to mobility, having a smart phone with you, and being willing to share stuff with your network. It’s pretty dependent on whether or not the people you interact with daily use these social networks (because then.. it wouldn’t be as fun to share stuff). It also depends on your accessibility to data.

Twitter is pretty obvious, but I honestly (still) don’t use it. Foursquare has been a big deal to me for the past 3 months, I mean.. it’s all a game! And it’s a really fun game when you’re living in a big city like SF, with friends who actively participate in the game. This game of checking in and becoming #1 on your leaderboard. Getting those badges by exploring your interest of tastes and activities. This is not Yelp, but it certainly works better and faster than Yelp ;D Anyways. Foursquare has entertained me, and I actually used it as a tourist mechanism since I wanted to explore Hayes Valley 1 day after an eye appt.

Path is a different story, I was introduced to it by coworkers, and it seems that only my coworkers use it. It’s a social network that can share to every other social network, and focuses more on a storybook of your moments, or your “path”! You can tell people what song is stuck in your head, check-in to places (like 4sq), say what’s on your mind, tell people when you sleep/wake up. And the awesome thing is that there is more than just a Like button – there is Smileyface, Sadface, Heart, etc.

I wanted to talk about Instagram because I never really used it (even though I have an iPTouch), but I started using the app when the Android ver. was out (and around when FB acquired them). Easy way to make your pics look awesome? Sgtm.

Pair is an adorable app that Waterloo grads made, I learned it through my eng manager (who was reading an article about what Waterloo do now that RIM is going down). It’s not exactly a social network, it’s more of a messenger app between 2 people – likely you and you significant other. Me and the boyfriend tried it out, it’s fun, it’s cute. We enjoyed using it , unfortunately it’s only on iOS right now, so I’d have to carry my iPTouch everywhere, so it made no sense. Android ver will be releasing soon, apparently.

I haven’t gotten into Pinterest yet, so I have no comment on it. Seems like StumbleUpon, but more visual? I also like how Pinterest and Path use similar Icons. Not sure if coincidence or not.

I’ll miss these social networks since going back to school is a removal from social activity. Most kids my age just post everything on Facebook, with the occasional Twitter stuff goin’ on.

4. MacBook Pro. Last co-op term, I was given a plain Macbook (slow core duo processor). I stuck with my Asus at home. This co-op term, I pretty much brought my Macbook home everyday, as Skype video and sound quality is 200% better, and just overall…. I liked my Macbook better. Definitely buying one in the future… after this Asus dies out (I really thought I had my opportunity after I spilled water on it a few weeks ago). I’m hoping every co-op term I’ll be able to use a Mac, just so I don’t get to lose touch with how clean and slick the interface is compared to Windows.

5. Things to See and Do. I’m just a small town girl… I’ve been living in K-W for 12 years, although before that, I lived in Taiwan – which is 1 of the most densely populated countries in the world. But in between, we have cities like SF. So many things to see and do, I spent the first month of my stay sight seeing, the next 2 months doing local things, and the last month seeing all that I could before I left. Other than tech companies and food, there are always festivities going on, and music icons coming to the city (or at least nearby.. e.g. Oakland). Cheap, fun things, too.

The scenery and views are great, and there are many local places to take hikes and see the city from a high distance. It’s definitely something to be awed about, especially if you’ve lived in a flat area like Southern Ontario most of your life.