Moved to Eat

“…some people get the impression that I don’t like where I live. Which is kind of strange, because I don’t understand why anyone would think that I’d live somewhere where there was a dearth of clothes dryers if I didn’t like it. And if you saw the paperwork that I have to fill out just to stay here, well, let’s just say that one really has to want to live here to plow through it all.”

I read this this morning on David Lebovitz’ blog and felt a spark of kinship.  Recently, we have both been through the yearly jaunt up to Canada and back only to cross the border so that we could each apply again to live the US.  It is hardly harrowing, but unnerving enough to answer official questions with a nagging kernel of doubt that one might not be allowed to enter the country.  Two years ago, we found jobs and moved to San Francisco specifically because of its food culture, but if I had known before we set out about the paperwork and hoops through which we would have to jump, I may not have been so keen to move.   That we were naive about the process of becoming American residents was a boon.   Like David, I do love living in my adopted home city, but one really has to want to live here.   (Every once in awhile, we’ll witness behaviour or see a news story – like people carrying loaded automatic weapons to public town hall meetings?! – that makes one of us turn to the other and say “Are we sure we want to live in America?”)

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However, the work and expense involved in being allowed to legally live here fades dramatically as soon as we encounter any element of the food culture.   People talk about food here:  restaurant gems, the new ice cream place in the Mission, the grocery store that just opened, the place in Richmond that sells authentic Asian ingredients, and has anyone else tried the chilaquiles for brunch at that new Mexican place in Hayes Valley?  Everyone has a recommendation on where to eat, where to buy food and that’s why we love it here;  we belong. An existence that focuses on food, wine and cooking is not an aberration, ’tis the norm, so that our excursion to walk 30 blocks and back so as to try that new ice cream place, or our practice of driving to four different markets for the food we want to cook that week isn’t really unusual.

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We’re cleared to stay for 3 years now, so we have until 2012 to focus as much as we can/want on food.  Perhaps, by then, we’ll be ready to move to Paris.

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