Mermaid Fountain in San Francisco, California
I have been home from a whirlwind trip to San Francisco for just one day, and I already miss it dearly. I have thought a lot about the trip itself ever since I boarded the plane, yet I have no idea where to begin when trying to capture all of the sights, sounds, and emotions I experienced. Words truly escape me, but I feel the need to write about it, if only to keep these special memories fresh in my mind and heart.
As soon as I stepped off the plane, tears of joy formed in my eyes, for I was “home”. To understand my love affair with the City by the Bay, I invite you to read my recent post, “I Left My Heart (Well, part of it anyway) in San Francisco, if you have not already done so. For four days, my happy tears coexisted peacefully with my huge smile, and my heart was filled with pure happiness. I felt relaxed, content, and centered, and my worries gave way to hope. There is something so healing about San Francisco, and I soaked up every bit of this intangible, soothing salve for my baby soul.
On my first morning there, I left the hotel and headed straight to Starbuck’s for my daily cup of Zen green tea to take with me as my faithful traveling companion as I headed out into the city. I decided to allow my intuition to guide me, rather than to ask for directions or help, as I set off on foot to see my favorite places and to discover new sites. It had been eight years since I last visited San Francisco, so, I was curious how much I would remember. It didn’t take me long at all to find out that this city had left imprints on my heart and in my memory, and I adeptly navigated the streets and even was able to give directions when stopped twice along the way and asked for assistance by other visitors to this great city.
When I headed down Mission Street, I was overjoyed to see San Francisco Bay in the distance, and I was giddy as I enjoyed walking among the tourists, city dwellers, employees, students, and various other people heading to their respective destinations. I was a part of an eclectic crowd, and I wanted to bring the hustle and bustle of that gorgeous morning home as mementos. Somehow, the chaos of the city was as comforting to me as the sweetest of lullabies.
When I arrived at Pier 2, the happy tears returned, as I looked around and immediately recognized my surroundings. I took my time walking from Pier 2 all the way to Ghirardelli Square, stopping along the way to take pictures, remember past trips to these same spots, and to reflect on my present life. I felt so comforted when I would see familiar restaurants, street performers, tourist attractions, and buildings, and it felt like they were welcoming me back. I could not believe how much remained the same or how much had changed, but my love for the city remained unchanged.
The most poignant moment was when I arrived at Ghirardelli Square and spotted Mermaid Fountain, which is pictured above. This place is sacred to me, and I felt like I was reunited with a lifelong friend when I sat down on the steps of the fountain. It was truly overwhelming in a such a very good way, and as tears streamed down my cheeks yet once again, I gave a silent prayer of thanks for my safe return and thought about how very different my life is now compared to when I first sat by the fountain sipping tea thirteen years ago.
Back then, I was in San Francisco for infertility treatment, and I wondered whether my dream of being a mom would ever come true. That was my all-consuming goal at the time, and I just wanted the nightmare of infertility to end. I was working full-time as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor at a local university and loved my job, and I was married to a great guy and living in a new home. Life was good on the surface, but the infertility issue made it nearly impossible for me to see many of the positive aspects of my life. So, I would seek solace by the waters of the fountain and made many wishes there.
Fast forward to last week when I returned to the same spot with a penny I found on my walk that morning. Before I made a new wish, I took some time to once again give thanks and to reflect. Now, I am the mom of two extraordinary girls, who are beautiful reminders that dreams can come true, and although I am no longer married, as I have mentioned in other posts and to anyone who will listen, I have the best ex-husband in the world. I have changed jobs and am incredibly fortunate that I have found myself in another position that I love and feel like I can make a positive difference in the lives of others. I live in a different house, but it feels like a true home for my girls and for me. So much has changed indeed, but at the core, I still am me. I still have wishes to make and dreams to pursue.
Last summer, when I lost so much and was plagued by depression, anxiety, doubts, and fears, I often felt like running away to the safety of San Francisco, but I did not and only visited the city in my memories and dreams. As I walked back to the hotel from the fountain a few days ago, I thought to myself that I am so glad that I didn’t run away to San Francisco last summer, as it felt incredibly freeing and empowering to be able to run toward the safe haven of the city itself, my dear friend, Wendie, and my amazing pen pal. My heart and baby soul remain joyful and grateful for the new memories that were made, the new friendships that were formed, the new dreams that I allowed myself to conjure up, and the new opportunities that await me, if only I keep my heart and mind open to them. The trip to San Francisco may be over, but it left me with the hope, inspiration, motivation, and love necessary to continue on my journey. I’ve got this!
That’s another story . . .
Categories: That's Another Story