Wednesday, April 6, 2011


The down town/SOMA district of SF is one part of the city that I haven't spent much time exploring; most of what I know of it I've seen from the backseat window of a cab.  But as my days living (part of the time at least) in the Bay Area are dwindling, I've been trying to take in everything while I can.  So this Saturday, while Brian and I walked all over the place on an unsuccessful hunt for a book store, I paid attention, and I looked up.

I am such a steadfast disciple of modern design in my personal taste that most of my friends might find it hard to believe that I even have the capacity to appreciate the traditional and historical.  But it's true.  My heart melts over a crumbly old church, too.  And I credit my ability to appreciate and love old buildings to the most fabulous Italian woman.  She was the definition of chic - black wardrobe, red lipstick, impeccable coif -  and she was my professor when I studied abroad in Florence.  She taught a class about the history of Florence as told through its architecture, and each class period, we would walk around the city and she would tell us stories about how things came to be built the way they were, and what they were used for over the centuries.  It was probably the most inspiring class ever, and it legit made me want to be a city planner for like 5 minutes (ok, maybe 10).

I realize that the history embedded in the Florentine cobblestones has a few centuries on San Francisco, but walking the city streets on this unseasonably warm Saturday, I still felt a heavy sense of appreciation for the way new and old mix so easily in this city, not competing with each other, just different parts of a story over time.
{St. Patrick's Church, built in 1870}

I think of the new as the city showing what it aspires to be, like it's attempt to put its best foot forward.  But it's the old remaining among the new that gives the city depth, a soul, a story.  Sometimes those old buildings are there because they're the only ones that survived the earthquake, but sometimes they're there because people cared enough about them to protect them, preserve them, and restore them.  And that, to me, is the part of the story worth knowing.

{SFMOMA and the Yerba Buena Gardens}

Unrelated side note: Is anyone else saddened by the fact that all the book stores in down town SF are out of business?  Brian and I searched out FOUR different book stores in an attempt to buy a travel book for South America and they were all gone.  I know the Kindle/Nook is cool and all, but am I the only one who still loves a good ol' paperback?

P.S. I know this blog has been very un-LA lately.  That's because I'll be in SF for the next few weeks finishing up law school.  So bear with me, and I hope you enjoy the NorCal me in the mean time!

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