BABC Intern Hannah Keen talks San Francisco

  • by Hannah Keen

Ocean Beach, California

People don’t ever tell you how hard it is to move to a city by yourself and not have a soul you can call a friend. When growing up, your friends are pretty much ready made through school, college and clubs – as kids you have that thing in common, and you’re steadily moving through life at the same steady pace, going through the same processes. But as an adult it’s different. People have chosen their routes, their paces of life vary and each person has created their own life – preoccupied by work, bills or their own families.

As I watch the world go by from a Starbucks window here in San Francisco, you watch people’s varying pace of walking, styling of dressing, but all hold a façade of togetherness – even if it is under their sunglasses which Californians wear religiously even on the subway (which in SF we call the BART line).

I’m new, have no friend or family to hold my hand on the lonely trawl called house hunting, and I also have learnt that hiding behind my sunglasses is the best way to mask my fear.

But, if you remove your sunglasses and turn to the person next to you in SF, either on the tram, in the caféor standing on the pier watching the Pacific, you’ll find they’re the friendliest bunch of interesting people you’ve ever met. No one’s story is dull, no one’s day is normal – to an English girl like me anyway – and each encounter, conversation and person slowly reduces that feeling of loneliness that every newbie feels.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s tough and tiring to constantly put yourself out there, but what’s the worst that can happen? They ignore you? That won’t happen, people here in the city openly chat to the tramp on the street.

Moving to San Francisco maybe the scariest thing I’ve ever done, and these first few days have been a massive emotional roller-coaster – A ride I won’t be off for a while – but there isn’t anywhere else I’d rather be right now. This is the biggest opportunity of my life so far and I intend on grabbing it with both hands, and enjoying every (currently sun filled) moment.

San Francisco is the city at the end of the Rainbow. San Francisco does not care who you are, what you’ve done, what you do; your race, gender, sexual preference, choice of poison or ‘air’…‘Cisco only cares that you accept all of the above and maintain your open mind. I am yet to meet a true San Franciscan – someone born and bred here – everyone I’ve met so far has been drawn here by the rainbow. No one cares about the past, it’s all about the future you can make.

Hannah is in her final year at University of Birmingham studying ACS and Business

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