Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Magic of San Francisco's Holiday Season

...even the San Francisco weather was mild and festive. The sky was clear and illuminated by a bright nearly full moon which can be seen in the second to last picture.

Last night, as I was walking through the city streets, contemplating on my translations and my move to Italy, I looked up at the tall city buildings sparkling with holiday decorations, the wide streets bustling with people, cars zooming by, and this might be home, but it reminds me so much of Rome's busy atmosphere. I live in the heavily internationalized San Francisco Bay with 7 million people. I realized that this might be why I'm more inclined to that lovely chaotic international but Italian city.

As I was speaking to a friend today, I mentioned that San Francisco is my favorite city in the world. "Then why are you going to Rome?" I didn't have to think about it... "because this is home. I love it here. I'm comfortable here. But we always need to step outside our comfort zone to really see what we are made of, and I have so much to learn from the people and sights that I will absorb in Rome." This might be my favorite city because I feel at home here, but there are countless beautiful cities out there to see!

Of course, I'd also love to use my Italian language on a daily basis and be able to once in a while get out of the city and hide myself within a good book nestled amidst a small, ancient, quiet Italian town... then come back home to feel the pulse of a large internationalized city.

So, last night my sister and I took the subway line that's just 2 blocks from my flat, and soon ended up in the heart of San Francisco. We walked up to Macy's department store, and found a large crowd assembled in front of a dark tree while a boy's choir sang Christmas carols.

Soon, the countdown began and the Christmas tree was lit! We walked around with the crowd a bit. Enjoyed a nice pizza, holiday snacks, street music, took pictures and after a few hours, we took the subway home again.

When I arrived home, I was actually able to finish another translation. I sent the completed translation to my client and fell asleep very, very happy... this was a good week.

Even the San Franciscan kitty cats up for adoption were quite festive!
and quite curious about this girl taking their picture...

Did you notice the roasted castagne (chestnuts)? I finally found them!


Devil Mood said...

Oh you eat chestnuts over there too? Is it an imported tradition? That's our main Autumn tradition over here, we eat them roasted in little packets made of telephone books (unfortunately the health authorities want that to end :(

Beautiful pictures! I can feel your excitement over a week and an evening well spent! Thanks for sharing it with us :)

Kathy said...

My mom was born and raised in San Francisco, and we go there often. I love to hear the stories of her childhood, and it's special to me to see the house where she grew up.

Anyhoo, I've always loved being in the city, and Christmastime in San Francisco is just magical to me. :-)

Roam2Rome said...

Ciao Devlish!
I grew fond of chestnuts in Italy... but today I noticed them here, too!
Telephone book paper? I can see why they'd want to change that, but we don't eat the outer shell, soooo it can't be that bad!

Ciao Kathy,
Mmm, yes, it is magical, and if your mom was born here, even more :) and Reno is not far away at all, which probably makes it easy to enjoy a week-end here now and then, right?

Kataroma said...

They have roasted chestnuts on the street everywhere in New York too. They're nice when it's really cold out and you need to warm up. They sell chestnuts on the street here in Rome too but it's never really cold enough for them to taste good.

I miss all the excitement over Christmas. As you probably know, Christmas in Rome is much more low key. Not so many Christmas decorations, no carols, few Christmas trees, no snow, just lots of food. In fact last Christmas I was really amazed to see lots of shops open on Christmas day (including every single shop in Termini). I guess not everyone celebrates Christmas but it did seem a bit odd and un-Christmassy.

There is a Christmas tree at the vatican though.

sognatrice said...

Such lovely photos! And I'm so glad you found those chestnuts :)

Astrid said...

Beautiful pictures! I would love to see San Francisco one day. I've only been to LA and San Diego so far on the western coast.

It's even nice to see a city during the Christmas holidays than the rest of the year I think. Venice, f.ex. is stunning at Christmas and you have it all to yourself.

lomalinda said...

Lots of chestnut sagre in northern Lazio around October during the harvest. Fun, delicious and a very authentic slice of agrarian life here. You'll need to check it out next year!

Rob said...

Lovely post and lovely pictures too. San Francisco looks like a beautiful city. Certainly anyone I know who has been there has loved the place.

I think you are going to love your transition to Rome. The time that you spend there will certainly expose you to a whole different way of doing things, and thinking about things. There is nothing quite like the Italian mindset...

Jeff Gromen said...

Ah, San Francisco. I've never been there so this is fun to see. It reminds me a little of when I was in New York city around Thanksgiving once. That's the only time I've ever experienced BIG City life like you have there.
Only a few more days to go in November.


Gillian @ Indigo Blue said...

Roasted chestnuts...yum.
THe photos are great too, love the trees, and lights!
(I think moving to a new exciting city would be challenging, yes, good to step out of the comfort zone.)

Roam2Rome said...

Ciao Kataroma :)
Ah yes! The colder it is, the better the castagne taste. Hmm, last time I was in Rome, it was a couple days before Christmas and I felt a festive atmosphere, decorations, and we went to holiday concert. Chestnuts in New York sounds ideal! I can sense your nostalgia to once again live those days...

Ciao Sognatrice,
Hehe... yes, these castagne I've been craving.

Ciao Astrid!
I hope you come to SF one day :) You're right about Venice! Before flying to Norway, we once spent a few days in Venice right before Christmas-eve and the city was empty and filled with nativity scenes in nearly every street! Very beautiful :)

Ciao Lomalinda!
You know, I have this calendar where I'm writing down the tips of things to do, and I'll definitely add this one you just gave me! Thanks.

Ciao Rob!
I like your way of thinking! You probably see what I see :)

Ciao Jeff!
Yes, definitely only a few days in November... how are you holding up? Sometimes, don't you just want to throw the towel? Yet, here we are. Daily bloggers for November. Hey, I was hoping to see your pictures of Rome today! Argh. I guess tomorrow it is :)

Ciao Gillian!
You're a fun artsy person. I thought you'd like pictures :) Good to see you :)

Laume said...

I lived in the Bay Area for a good long while (Marin, Sonoma)and although I'm not sure if I could say San Francisco is my favorite city, since I haven't yet visited all the possibilities, I have loved San Francisco from the first moment I stepped foot on her hills.