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.
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.