Thoughts on SF

In the third installment of her photo diary, Ayeon talks about some things she likes about SF and American culture…and some things that puzzle her. Read on…

It’s been almost one year since I came to San Francisco. I’m glad to have the chance to look back on my life in SF through this blog. Below are some things that I find interesting about San Francisco and American culture in general:


Have you ever heard the following announcement at Walgreens? “Customer service is needed at the counter.” On my first day in San Francisco, I went to Walgreens to buy some groceries. I noticed there was shampoo on a locked shelf. I always wonder why those shelves are locked, especially here in the USA. Are those items really a target of stealing? I asked a bunch of people, but it’s still unclear to me. Crystal, Chris, Adam – I’m still waiting for a good reason…

Old and New Technology

I know there are plastic Clipper cards for the Muni bus and train, but I was surprised to see paper Muni tickets too. It’s strange to me that the best country in the world still uses paper for some transportation tickets. What if the paper blew away, or I tore it? After I got used to it though, I now feel like it’s more convenient, reasonable and environmentally-friendly. In Korea, most credit cards can be used as transportation cards. Another thing I find interesting is America’s obsession with Apple. One day while I was at a cafe, I realized I was the only person with a Samsung laptop. Everyone else was using Macs. It was the first moment that I really felt like foreigner. The power of Apple is beyond my imagination.


Do you have any nieces or nephews? I have an adorable niece and nephew in Korea. Whenever I see the children on the street, they make me feel homesick. So once, when I ran into some cute kids, I nicely asked them to take a picture with me. As I looked at them, I felt like they were confused and suspicious. In Korean culture, interacting with strangers’ children is normal; you can talk to them at the playground, stroke their heads, kiss their cheeks or hug them like a teddy-bear, without being worried that their parents will accuse you of child molestation. In the past, Korea had a strong tradition of preferring sons to daughters. In older generations, giving birth to a son is regarded as one of the most important duties in marriage. Those who are born from rich families in competitive Korean society go to English Kindergarten at age three to be “smart kids.”

Chances for Unexpected Events

 My life in America is full of exciting events that I have never experienced before. For example, on the way to Westfield Mall, I ran into my dad’s favorite Korean professional baseball outfielder with the Cleveland Indians, Shin Su Choo. I’ve never ran into a celebrity in Korea. Watching an amazing performance at Fisherman’s Wharf, taking a picture with the Simpsons at Universal Studios, riding a bike across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito… how could these things be possible anywhere else?

The Weather

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Can you tell that I’m cold?

I expected many sunny days in San Francisco – days where I can’t live without my sunglasses. It’s been sort of true at times, but mostly I think I just need to spend lots of money on windbreaker jackets.  In the summer San Francisco is cold, and even foggy! Once, I rented a car with my friends to go to Monterey. I almost died driving in the darkness the way back to the city. The fog made it very hard to see, and at some points I couldn’t see more than a few feet ahead of the car. I’ve learned from this experience that I should always check the weather conditions before leaving the apartment!

Even so…I still love San Francisco.

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