Friday, April 10, 2009

Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair

I woke up this morning with an intense bout of homesickess.

I don't know what brought it on. I suppose I had a dream about San Francisco, and the emotions that came to me in sleep carried over into wakefulness.

My friends and I jokingly resent the fact that we were lucky enough to grow up in the Bay Area. To us, it is the perfect place to live: temperate weather, incredibly diverse population, a city nestled between the sea and mountains surrounded by former hippie enclaves. There's no way we can move away and top that. (And we have tried. Trust.)

I also blame the Bay Area for making me a food snob. I see San Francisco as the gastronomic capital of America; the incredible diversity of Bay inhabitants leads to an incredible diversity of restaurants: some serve up deliciously authentic ethnic foods, some are on the cutting edge of culinary trends, some are hole-in-the-wall mom & pop operations serving up French toast so divine you will see God.

Of all the things I miss about the Bay Area -- Chinatown in all its morbidly hilarious glory; gold and red cable cars rumbling up the hills; former hippies mingling with "ironic" hipsters in notorious neighbourhoods; the chill, slightly salty air; stinky, barking, bellowing sea lions; The Palace of Fine Arts's terra cotta dome; passing over the salt flats as the plane dips into SFO; the Berkeley Bulb and the hidden, graffitied castle, perfect for wine and cheese parties -- I miss the food. Cheeseboard, Fentons, Citizen Cake, Kan Zaman, Sol Food -- oh, God, I miss Sol Food! I dream about their tostones. I wish I were kidding -- the entire Ferry Building: I could travel around the Bay Area and never eat the same food twice.

I have rituals whenever I go home; I have to eat at specific restaurants, eat certain foods I can't find in Honolulu. I have to have burritos, I have to visit Sol Food at least once, I have to have Cheeseboard pizza. It doesn't matter who I go with, I just have to eat these things -- these foods -- that I can't help but associate with home.
There is one restaurant, one ritual, that I absolutely have to do with my mother. As soon as I get home -- like, as soon as we get in the car to leave the airport -- we make plans to go to Out the Door. We must share a MANGO PUDDING as soon as possible. That's how we talk about it, in all caps: MANGO PUDDING. "Are you free Friday to get some MANGO PUDDING?" Naturally, they serve other things -- they have the most delectable summer rolls I have ever eaten. Seriously, I hate peanut sauce, but I just about lick the bowl when I order their summer rolls -- but for us, it's all about the MANGO PUDDING.

[all photos via: The Boy]

I haven't lived in the Bay Area for about 3 years now and sometime this summer, I'll be moving back an unemployed college graduate. I don't know what the future holds for me, but I know there will be much eating. Who knows -- I may find myself yearning for Honolulu.

So, no one in particular, is there a place your heart yearns for? Home? A favourite vacation spot? A fantasy home or vacation spot? Share with me and we'll pine together.



Diana said...

Amanda, your posts lately have made my heart drop. I lived in SF for a few years and I miss it, too! I remember when the GAP opened up on Haight Street, and I was at the Crepe shop across the street when some hippie threw a rock in the GAP window. I miss San Francisco!

amanda said...

@Diana: My stars, you're fast! My cousin worked at that GAP for a while and she refused to park her car anywhere near it. The Haight isn't what it used to be, for better or worse, but it's still quintessentially San Francisco.

Happier posts coming soon, I promise! Even I've had enough of the maudlin tone. ;)

Vanessa said...

If my heart yearns for everywhere, it's for the house that my Grandpa built that my Grandma had to sell when he died. It's the most amazing pink (formerly... sigh) house and in the most lovely, quaint town, and my secret dream is to become very rich and buy it back. I've moved around a bunch (about 9 moves in 6 different towns), so I've never really had a place that felt completely like my home like that house did. Every time I'm in my old town, I drive my by it to check on it. My mom does, too.

By the way, THANK YOU for commenting on my post about dermatophagia. It really made me smile (appropriate emotion?) to here someone say that they related to me, because I've never met anyone who did before. I'm really glad that you saw it. You have no idea.

amanda said...

@Vanessa: The story about your grandfather's house made me tear up a bit! I really hope you do get to buy it back.

Oh, honey, I got so excited reading your post! I've been wanting to write something about my struggle with self-injury and how I'm finally able to get help with it, but I didn't know how. Like you, I didn't know anyone who had a similar condition, so it means so so SO much to know that there is someone else out there. Best of luck with everything, girl. Getting help is the first step out of that hell.