There are lots of places to go abroad. So why did I choose San Francisco?

You get one of two reactions when you tell people of my parent’s generation that you are moving to San Francisco. The first is hostility. “They hate Americans over there,” people tell me. “They hate our freedom.”

The other is wistfulness. “San Francisco,” they mutter, smiling and shaking their head, “San Francisco. I remember…” and their eyes lose focus for a minute. “No I don’t,” they say, and pat me on the shoulder.

For decades, the State Department discouraged all non-essential travel to the region. Tensions have thawed since the dismantling of Reagan’s blockade and the renaissance of the American ex-pat community in the Marina District, but many veterans of the Cultural Wars have not forgiven the Bay for bell-bottoms, gay marriage, and Tupac. Clinton’s 1996 Smoke Sesh Summit in the city’s Delores Park went a long way in relaxing longstanding anxieties.

Things are changing, and I want to be a part of it. This blog will most explore the cultural habits of our neighbor. Isolation does strange things to people. I’m happy that I’ve been given the chance to spend a year inside that smokey bubble.

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