An Open Letter to a New City


Dear San Francisco,

There’s a lot I need to say to you before I begin to write about your food.

You scared me at first. You’re worlds different from cities on the East Coast. This weather thing you’ve got going on, though; touché. Maybe I’m not being fair, it’s not you that I find scary, really, but my choice to move here with little more secured than a place to stay. I put a lot of trust in you.


I don’t know you at all. I know what people told me about you; I know that it’s January and I can kiss my jackets goodbye; that people from all walks of life call you home and some of them are the friendliest, most welcoming people among whom I’ve ever found myself. On your streets you encounter men with purple hair and women who might have been men at one point. There are lots and lots of homeless people, but so far most of them smile at me. It’s colorful, it’s bright, there’s graffiti everywhere. Some people my age talk about investing in startup companies, others are full time artists and yoga teachers, and somewhere in between anyone can fit in. There are after-parties to the after-parties for the people that want them, the grassy spaces are packed to their borders any day of the week, and I don’t think I’ve seen anyone in a full suit. The people embody various definitions for success, and all the friends of friends I’ve met here are trying to help me navigate mine. I’ve already been to talks on food-business entrepreneurship and photography’s purpose as social commentary, so I think I’m doing something right.


A wise friend once told me that we as people are never feeling just one emotion, but we’re accustomed to identifying the feeling that’s overwhelming us most at the moment and letting that engulf the others.

So with that I say this, It’s a shock. It’s a shock to be 3,000 miles away from home, it’s a shock to have packed up and moved without a steady source of income, it’s a shock to ‘live’ in a city I don’t see as home yet. It’s also encouraging, exciting, terrifying, inspiring, lonely, stimulating, warm, fantastic and, did I say warm? I’ve been able to think more clearly about what I want to do and become and have reaffirmed my trust in the intuition of my self-understanding and I’m glad for that.

I don’t think you, New City, will feel like ‘home’ for a long time. But I do think that before you feel familiar, I will love you. A lot. And all those sentiments, that list of adjectives, prove to me that I trusted you for a reason.

Phew, emotional rant done. Now on to the food, which, I’ve also heard, is pretty darn good 😉



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  1. Virginia (Ginny) Vonder Haar says

    Hi Isara: Do not know if you remember me, I am Eric’s grandmother. We met over a
    year ago and you certainly impressed me! I want to wish you the best of,luck on your
    new adventure. I am enjoying your Blogs, you are good!
    With Love, Virginia Vonder Haar

    • says

      Hi Virginia, Thanks so much for stopping by to say hi! I do remember you, you were very nice =) then and now! Thanks again for the encouraging words, I hope you’re doing well!