Thursday, July 23, 2009


Every city has a smell. When I stepped off the Super Shuttle van onto the street and took in a deep breath of fog and eucalyptus, I knew I was back in San Francisco. Istanbul felt like a dream; the last seven months went by so quickly. I half expected to walk up the steps to my old apartment, turn the key in the sticky lock and throw my bags down on the dining room floor. I'm staying with my great friend of fifteen years, Rachel, who goes way back to my Cairo days. Moving is always hard when you leave behind friends, but I am so happy I moved to Istanbul. I will always love SF, but I now have a new and different appreciation for it.

I awoke yesterday to the chill of the summer fog and the chatter of San Francisco's wild parrots flying overhead. When I stepped outside, the tree-shaded streets were quiet except for the occasional car. It seemed like the city was exactly how I left it, with only a few changes— some new cafés and shops in the place of old ones, buildings that were half constructed are now reaching to the sky.

So what does a girl like me do on her first full day in her old city? She goes to her old drawing haunt, La Boulange de Polk on Polk Street. I have sketched, eaten, and drank countless soy lattés in this café, and naturally I returned with a new pen and a nearly full Moleskine.

Please excuse the quality of these photos, my camera ran out of battery power and these were taken with my phone. When I get back to Istanbul, I'll be adding colour washes and properly scanning my books.


Anna Denise said...

Awwww. I've never lived in SF (6 months in Berkeley though) but I miss the Bay Area so much. Just seeing pictures makes me have a knot in my stomach. Silly huh?

szaza said...

Not silly at all!
This place has a way of getting inside your gut. I walked around all day today, just enjoying.