I haven't had a lot of lifelong dreams; I've had dreams, sure, but none of them as persistent as my desire to see Paris.
Since I was six years old, and my glamorous cousin Nathalie lived with us for a year, I dreamed of visiting the City of Lights.
I would gaze dreamily at images of the Eiffel Tower, reciting my high school French lessons to myself. Oh yes, I would sit in “un café” and drink “ma café au lait” and eat “pain chocolat” and my dream would come true.
And in May of 2007, it did, when Jamie and I had our dream honeymoon that included 5 days in Paris.
It was everything I'd hoped for; the Eiffel Tower as tall, the Louvre as overwhelming, the bread as incredible. All of it.
I've lived in the Bay Area my entire life; I went to San Francisco on countless field trips, went to college there, and now, for the first time in my adult life, commute there every day.
It's easy to get caught up in the craziness of my everyday. Running late for the train, not getting enough coffee at home, forgetting a meeting I'd had scheduled, deadlines looming. It's easy.
Every day, I walk about 3 blocks from The Embarcadero to my office; the San Francisco Ferry Building is home to every kind of food stall imaginable (seriously. There's a mushroom store. Just. Mushrooms.) I can buy artisan cheese, chocolate and bacon. Gluten-free pastries and free-range eggs. Right down the street from my office.
When I'm walking, I always see them. Often in groups, sometimes just a family, sometimes larger groups… the tourists. Some things give them away: Shorts and a tank top, for one. The San Francisco hoodie they've clearly purchased at Fisherman's Wharf is always a clue as well! (Hint: SF is not Southern California! It gets chilly, even in the middle of summer!)
I see them, posing happily for the camera, angling their lenses up at the Transamerica Pyramid, or a fountain in front of an office building, and sometimes, an art installation that I just haven't noticed recently.
And there are the one who, I can just tell what they're feeling. They are in bliss just being in my City. The brick sidewalks, the historic street cars, the Starbucks every 200 feet, the buskers and the vendors. They are thrilled just to be there, in the environment. I can tell.
It's easy to forget, that my every day city is someone's Paris.
I think it's too easy to overlook the amazing in your every day life, because it's just that; your every day life. This fall, the fam and I are going to set out to play tourist in our own city. Jamie has never been to Alcatraz, and I'm totally curious to find out what kind of factoids I can learn if we take one of those open-top bus tours of this city we think we know.
Tell me about your everyday city; do you ever play tourist at home? What do you think is a must see in San Francisco?