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October 1st marks the one year anniversary of my move to the San Francisco Bay, and it’s been the best year of my life.

On October 1st, 2010 my dad and I loaded up my little red VW with suitcases of clothes and boxes of photo albums, and I drove the 3 hours to my new home in the Bay.  I was scared to live further than a short drive to my sisters’ houses.  What would I do without morning coffee with my sister Jessica, or Thursday TV nights with my sister Deb?  What would I do when my car broke down and my dad wasn’t a half hour away to pick me up?  How would I afford clothes, much less food, while starting my own business in a brand new city?  Well, obviously I survived- no, thrived- with the assistance of my helpful family and supportive cast of friends.  Here, in no particular order, are the things I’ve discovered in this incredible, yet exhausting, year:

1. New City.  San Francisco has so many unique features, its hard to talk about just one.  Last night I was on the train heading to visit some family in the Peninsula and there were 3 other commuters next to me.  2 were transplants from Buffalo, NY, and the other from a small town in Connecticut.  We were discussing the pros and cons of living in a big city, SF in particular.  We all agreed on one point: Everyone here wants to be here.  Most ‘locals’ of San Francisco are actually from all over the country, even the world.  It seems everyone had the same idea as me as a kid, When I grow up, I want to live in the city with an ocean view.  Since, for most of us, moving to San Francisco took a lot of hard work and sacrifice, we’re not willing to let anything stop us from getting everything else we want.  Looking around this morning on my walk to work, I can see all the motivated and happy people that all worked so hard to get here.  Everyone is smiling because they’re all exactly where they want to be.

2. New friends.  This has been the most amazing experience.  I moved here barely knowing a soul, and now I feel like I know half the people walking down the street.  This city is really just a small town with really really tall buildings.  Within the first 3 weeks of moving here, I met my kindred spirits: 6 other girls, who have in the last year, become more like sisters.  Without them, this city would have been a lot bigger and a lot scarier.

3. New apartment. Finding an apartment in this city is hard. After a couple of months, I found the perfect one.  Located smack dab in the middle of Nob Hill, North Beach, Downtown, and the Bay, I can walk anywhere.  A little crowded, and a lot expensive, it’s time for me to find a new home, but this apartment made 2011 very comfortable.  Now onto bigger and better things :)

4. New outlook. With all the changes in my life in the past year, it would have been easy to get overwhelmed, or even drown.  And believe me, sometimes I actually thought I would.  But, as I mentioned before, my family and friends helped in any way they could.    Overall, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

If you’re thinking about moving to a new city completely on your own, I would only suggest making sure you have plenty of money saved up to make the whole process a little easier.  Especially for those unexpected plumber bills, dental emergencies, and parking tickets (hey, those add up!).  It also helps to have a few friends and business connections as well, so you’re not completely starting from scratch.


Images via:1 2 3 4 5 If they’re not cited, they’re my own :)