Wednesday, June 29, 2011

So Long, Farewell...Until We Meet Again


San Francisco...you will be missed
When I was younger, I used to believe that the best stories began with 'Once Upon a Time' and ended with a 'Happily Ever After'. I can't blame Disney or the Grimm Brothers for that either--I was naturally predisposed to happy endings and fairytales. As I've learned over the years, though, the best fairytales are the ones of our own making. There may be no prince or princess or magic spell, but like a fairytale, there are lessons to be learned.

My time in San Francisco has been one such fairytale, filled with laughter, tears and far too many cups of tea. Every person I've met has only added to the experience, making it bittersweet to say goodbye. Just as this chapter ends, however, a new one is about to begin.

In case you missed my post about visiting the NAFSA conference in Vancouver, it detailed the opportunity I had to visit with delegates from all around the world who work in the field of international education. Ever since that trip, I have been in communication with the amazing staff of GoAbroad.com, who invited me for the occasion in the first place. As fate would have it, they are also giving me the chance to finally get my foot in the door with this industry--come mid-July I will be working for GoAbroad in the Colorado office as an Outreach and Partnership Manager. 

Putting the right foot forward
I have never been to Colorado and I realize there are many challenges ahead of me, but in my heart I know this is the right path. Just like when I stepped abroad the plane to study abroad in Scotland or moved down to San Francisco, there was a sense of rightness in the decision. The same can be said of this next move. This is the chance I've been waiting for to prove my mettle and to finally be doing what I'm passionate about. I owe my gratitude to every experience and person that have helped me along the way; without these influences, I wouldn't be living my own real-life fairytale. 

As for saying farewell to San Francisco, it turned out to be harder than I expected. After living there about six months and working there about ten, it became a new home that was as supportive as it was exhilarating. A bit like a study abroad experience, wouldn't you say? There are still so many things I haven't experienced there, but I know we'll meet again someday. In the meantime I have the memories (and way too many photos and video) to keep me company. 

From what I've learned, there is something special about every place you visit, travel to or live. It doesn't matter if it meets/fails your expectations, if it's somewhere you'd never go again or somewhere you can see yourself for the rest of your life--there is always something to take away from it. Rather than learn this lesson after the fact, take the time now to open your eyes and look around you. There is meaning in every detail; all you have to do is look for it. It may sound silly, but it's what makes an imperfect and ever-changing reality a true fairytale. A girl can't ask for more than that :)



If you'd like to see more photos from my Solo Tourist Day and last few adventures in SF, you can check them out on the What Would Jane Do? Facebook Page.