Where are you from?

I’ve always had a difficult time with the question “where are you from?” and I’ve never understood the pride of being “born and raised” somewhere.

The weekend before Thanksgiving, San Francisco was a dead city. Tony and I were taking our weekly Friday night Lyft ride to his apartment, and because we basically live on opposite sides of the city, our trip took us through all the poppin’ neighborhoods in between. We noticed that all the usual hot spots were looking pretty empty.

Our Lyft driver mentioned that it was because everyone was flying out for Thanksgiving since most of the city’s residents are transplants from other parts of the country, or even, other parts of the world. Aka us.

When we asked where he was from, the Lyft driver proudly said, “San Francisco; born and raised.” And at that moment, I was envious of his pride and his certainty that this is the place where he belongs, whereas I just decided to come here one day and tried to make myself belong.

I was born in the Philippines. Then my family moved to Los Angeles when I was seven. When I was 18, I started college in the Bay Area. After I graduated at 22, I decided to stick around, and now I currently live in San Francisco.

I guess you could say I was “raised” in Los Angeles. And when I was in college, every time someone asked me where I was from I’d just say, “LA” and I’d be flattered when they’d tell me that I “talked like it.” *cringe*

When I started taking more pride in my Filipino heritage, I’d find myself prefacing my response with, “Well, I was born in the Philippines, but I grew up in LA.”

Then, after 4 years of college, I realized I wasn’t just a student studying in the Bay Area anymore, I was now a resident, I had places I could frequent, I had a dentist to go to, and I participated in the Caltrain commute. In short, I was a contributing member of this society and I felt like I could identify with the city of San Francisco.

But.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that it can be my go-to answer to that dreaded question, “Where are you from?”

So this time around, I’ll be doing a little something different with this blog. I won’t start with a list, but with one overarching goal that I want to achieve during whatever is left of my time here in SF, and that is to learn more about this city. I’ll be structuring my posts around the city’s different neighborhoods. I hope this gets me moving and exploring different parts of SF as much as my time (and money) will allow. And in following the theme of the blog, I’ll end with a list of my top favorite things, or most memorable moments, or best places to eat, etc. in whatever neighborhood I just explored.

“Where are you from?” I don’t think I’ll ever have a simple response to that question.

“Where are you going?” Still a pretty loaded question, but there can also be a simple answer.

First stop: Nob Hill!

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