“The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton
Living in a big city brings a lot of variety which is why I love so much when guests come to stay. It opens you up to a new side of the city you probably never knew existed. My mom recently came to stay and with that we decided to let her lead the way through the city so she could show me her interests and hopefully get to know her a little better.
For the most part we did a lot of the tourist stuff such as Fisherman’s Wharf to watch the seals and the Ferry building market on Saturday with all its incredible stalls for food. We even discovered a new (old) Italian restaurant in North Beach called Sodini’s. The fun part of the exploration was getting to know the normal city I walk around, but in the eyes of my mom. We checked out a Needlepoint store which under most circumstances seems boring, but to find out how much creativity goes into actually creating those canvases was extremely interesting. We got a quick peak into there upstairs studio where most of the pillows, purses and such were made. It was an extremely cool process to see as well as colorful place to be inside Union Square. I think it is magnified as well because of my wife and her Graphic Design. I never realized how much time and effort goes into a lot of the things we take for granted in every day use. Makes you really appreciate the human spirit and how much we have created here on this earth.
During the rest of the visit we got to show her some pieces of California that most tourists wouldn’t get to see normally such as heading down south to half moon bay and just running with Maddy in Fort Funston (The greatest dog park on earth). This is the sort of thing I really love to show people who visit as you get away from all the tourist stuff and really get a good feel for what everyday life is. So I not only get to see SF through my Mom’s eyes but also show her why I cherish where I live so much and what really drives me in life.
After that we rode the cable cars through SF which believe it or not was my first time doing it and I got to hang off the edge and watch the city go by like so many millions of people have been doing since 1873. It was amazing to not only watch the views as we strolled over Nob Hill and through China town, but to also see the operators and what pride they took in there drive everyday. We met an older lady in her 70’s who took the trolley everyday to work and has been doing so for years. Her energy radiated that she was an incredible woman and had really lived the life she wanted.
Next stop was the shops of China town on Grant Street. Kristin and I have been here many of times to either eat, drink, or stroll through the shops and look at all the crazy and weird stuff that reminds me of China so much. With my mom this time though it was more focused on the jewelry shops and furniture shops. It was funny to watch her interaction when she was offered “cheap special discount” for just her and see how she haggled with the shop workers. It really transports you to another country just walking down the two main roads of Chinatown. Even if my mom never visits China in her life she can get a good feel of what it is like to stroll around the streets of China as these streets almost transport you there.
Today leaves some bit of wonderment to what is next in my Mom’s exploration of the city I have come to love and really respect so much. It goes to really show me that you can always see a place for the first time even if it is from another person’s eyes. Life is one big exploration so always keep exploring even if you have seen it a 1000 times there is always something to learn from each other and every place. Glad I got to experience it through my Mom’s eyes.