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A Place of Wonder

Taylor Milne's picture

           For me cities are a place of friendship, excitement, and adventure. By not growing up in a city, I believe my relationship to cities is much different than those who would consider a city their home. Although I live relatively close to the metropolis of San Francisco, I would never consider it as the place where I am from, but rather as the place I would visit to explore. My fondest memories of San Francisco are not of the Golden Gate Bridge, or of Lombard Street, but of my best friends apartment.

            Located on the corner of a park and across from a restaurant, this quaint little apartment filled up quite a few of my summer nights between the ages of nine and twelve. This little piece of San Francisco belonged to the family of my best friend Mathilda for four years as a second apartment while her stepfather was working in the city. We would take trips up to the city for weeks at a time to explore the art museums, enjoy theater performances, marvel at animals within the San Francisco Zoo, and experience the city for what it was, and what it had to offer.

            Some of my most interesting and prominent memories came from these trips into the city, from cheese tasting, to having my sandwich stolen by a bird, to seeing a drug deal performed by a man in drag on the street, to late nights walking up hills so steep they have stairs cemented into them. I regard those days spent with Mathilda as some of my best, and although it was hard saying goodbye to the apartment when it was time to give up the lease, it began a new step for my experiences with cities. Although I was young, these trips gave me a solid foundation of the city for me to tread on as I grew older, and for Mathilda and I the trips to the zoo soon turned into days wandering through Haight-Ashbury and nights spent at concerts.

            As I grew as a person so did my experiences in the city. I moved on from the tourist traps to walking into eclectic thrift stores and antique shops. I would spend days with friends wandering through the city awaiting a concert at The Warfield or a play at the Orpheum. Throughout the years San Francisco has offered me memories with my family, trips with my friends, trips with my school, and experiences always uniquely my own. I have seen idols speak, I have seen favorite bands perform, and I have strolled the streets with my parents. San Francisco may not be home, but it is still very special and close to my heart.

            Every time traveling into the city would offer a new experience. It is never “another trip to San Francisco” it is always an opportunity with so much potential. I always feel that every trip to the city is unique because there are always opportunities to take advantage of. Whether it is a restaurant I was recommended to try, or a recently opened store to wander through, cities always have something new to offer. I have been lost and found in cities, have gone through places I wish I could find again, and never tire of the excitement of the city. The energy of the city has the ability to both electrify and drain people at the same time, leaving a mass of exhausted bodies every night, always waiting for the potential of the next day.

Although I am only energized by these experiences while I am in the city, I am always looking forward to my next trip to visit and see how it has changed since my last visit. Cities are so special and unique because even though the geographical coordinates will stay the same, the cities themselves are ever changing and evolving. Every day there are different events in different locations, different people cycling through jobs, homes, and hotels. There are construction teams demolishing old buildings, creating new structures, and fixing potholes. Although these things happen all over the world, they happen at much faster and condensed rate in cities, giving them their overwhelming power and energy.

The amazing thing about cities is that everyone has an opinion about how they feel about each city. Everyone has their own special and unique connection to a city that could never be mimicked by another person, yet many people all have the same feelings towards cities, whether they are good or bad. San Francisco has always been a place of wonder for me, and although it is not my home, it fosters so many memories with people close to me that it will always be a part of who I am, no matter how many miles away from San Francisco I may be.