On January 7th, 1991 I arrived in San Francisco and, a few days later, I showed up to work on what I thought would be an 8 month job at an animation studio called Colossal Pictures… I still cannot quite believe that THIS week marks my TWENTY YEAR anniversary of living and working here in this wonderful city.
I had already visited San Francisco in 1988 as a tourist (back-packing my way across the USA, Canada, Mexico and South America) and I remember well that this city was one of those that actually made me stop and think “I’d like to live here someday”. It was a happy turn of fate that led me back here again a few years later but something more than that has kept me here all this time since.
Put simply, I fell in love with this place. Initially, the reason may have been that I was ready to stop moving and anywhere at all would do. I had just spent the previous 5 years-straight living out of a backpack, always in places where I could barely understand the language. So it’s not hard to see why I grabbed onto San Francisco with both hands; just the fact that I could have conversations with strangers (and perhaps make friends with them) was such a pleasant change after struggling to make myself understood in Europe, South America and Asia.
But more than that, from day-one, I felt that I “fit in” here, in this city of misfits. So much so that I have spent more time in this city than any other place on earth, including my own home town. And the obvious reason is that I feel more at home here than any of the many places I have been to (and I have been to a LOT of places). In this city of weirdos and outcasts a foreigner can feel at home.
This town has given me the absolute best moments of my career and some of its worst disappointments. I have made more true friends here than in any of the many places in the world I have lived in and, largely due to their inspiring example, it was here that I finally sat down and created personal projects for MYSELF rather than for THE MAN. This is the town where I fell in love, had my heart broken only to be mended so that I could fall in love again.
Of course, a lot can happen in a span of twenty years and most of these experiences may have happened anyway, had I lived someplace else instead. But I am so very glad that they happened to me here, in SAN FRANCISCO.