And it was great as you’d suspect 🙂 A bit tiring though, we didn’t have much time to rest between all the different places we visited. We played it like real tourists: we took a ferry to cruise the bay under a Glorious Sun, visited different parts of the City like Chinatown and Le Castro and went to the top of Coit tower to have an overview of everything around us, we rode bikes through the Golden Gate bridge all the way to Sausalito, and we even booked a Night Tour to go and visit Alcatraz Island, where we got to hear the daunting sound of an entire row of prison cell doors all closing at the same time.
But the real treat for me was being able to see and feel how different Nature was compared to the part of the Pacific Northwest that I live in. The Flora I encountered in San Francisco was lovely: there were giant cacti and succulents almost everywhere we went (I’m so jealous right now!), I saw lots and lots of plants that I couldn’t even start to identify, and the sight of Californian Poppies always caught my eyes with delight.
I really enjoyed it, especially when hiking in Glen Canyon Park after climbing on the top of Twin Peaks (where it was so windy I thought I’d be swept away like a Dancing Leaf). And don’t get me started on the Golden Gate Park and its harmonious and relaxing Japanese Tea Garden. Or the Pacific Ocean and the adorable crew of porpoises we managed to see, gently riding the waves near the shore (picture me screaming: “I just saw a black fin!” and making a happy dance on the beach).
All right, apart from the fact that I am now totally rambling about my last vacations, where am I going with this? Well, you know the feeling, right? When you finally arrive to your little Piece of Land after a relatively long trip, you start to recognize the trees and the roads and the shape of the horizon behind. Then in one breath, you suddenly have this realization, that you are home.
That’s exactly how I felt coming back from my Californian trip and seeing the mountains get closer and closer. And it caught me by surprise. I genuinely didn’t expect this, neither did I expect how strong the feeling was.
It’s been almost a year since I arrived here, a foreign country. And since I’m living on a temporary visa, I wasn’t really in a mindset of actually considering this part of the world my home. I mean, since the first day I feel like I belong here (somehow, don’t ask me why) but my rational mind kept reminding me that no, this is not your country, your actual home is somewhere else – whatever that means since I don’t have one in France anymore.
So which one is right? I think for once I’m gonna go with my gut feeling, and not ignoring it especially when it is that strong. This last year has been the best and the worst at the same time. It has been confusing, and challenging, bur it also made me grow. And build new roots.
My trip to San Francisco was fantastic, but coming home that day was even better, like hearing a voice saying: “It’s ok, you know. This is the right place for you to be, and whatever happens, you’re gonna be ok here. ” And this little spark of peacefulness was comforting in a way that I didn’t anticipate. I’m grateful I got to experience this.