If you’ve ever heard somebody say “I’m from the Bay,” chances are, they’re talking about California’s Bay Area, or San Francisco and its surrounding cities. The Bay Area may not be as well known as Los Angeles or New York, but it definitely has its perks. Despite my eagerness to move to the opposite coast for college, a part of my heart will always stay in the Bay, not only because of the beautiful weather and In-N-Out restaurants, but because of the people I’ve made connections with. As a native Bay Area resident who’s lived in San Jose for 18 years, I feel qualified to put together a list of 12 signs you know you’re from the Bay.
1. It’s always boba, not bubble tea.
For most Californians, boba is a staple drink; walk outside in any town and you’re sure to see a tea shop somewhere down the street. I myself know at least five of these shops within a ten minute drive from my home. However, if you’re from the Bay Area, you’ll definitely be hitting your friends up for a “boba run.” You almost never hear “bubble tea” around here, that’s for sure.
2. You’re caught up with food trends.
From avocado toast to quinoa to the Museum of Ice Cream, you’re on top of the crazy food trends. And when you do scope out the latest delicacy, you strive to take the most aesthetically pleasing picture of your new find. Whether it’s in front of a colorful wall or you’re posing with the rest of your squad, the perfect snapshot is essential. Take a drive down to San Francisco or basically any downtown and you’re sure to find an aesthetic cafe or restaurant.
3. You go on photo shoots with your friends.
Chances are, one of your friends is a photographer, whether it’s for the yearbook or as a hobby, and you and your squad always hit him or her up for photoshoots. There’s definitely many options for the perfect shot, whether it’s in nature, on railroad tracks, down a artsy city street, you name it. You dress your best, maybe even bring along one of your friends’ dogs, and spend hours choosing what to post on Instagram.
4. Raves and music festivals are a must.
Who says Coachella is the biggest deal of the year? In the Bay, there are always events going on, whether its in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, or anywhere else. Most EDM artists and other bigger names such as G-Eazy, Chance the Rapper and Khalid will make a stop in the Bay and they definitely do not disappoint. Usually, we aren’t big on sneaking into clubs or bars, but we’ll do anything to see our favorite artists play. It’s easy to grab tickets to their sets, a few friends, and turn up on a Friday night.
5. You’re Asian, or you have friends who are Asian.
The Bay Area, especially Silicon Valley, has a large Asian population, so it’s no surprise that high schools there have many Asian students as well. Personally, I grew up in a largely Asian environment, and most of my friends are Chinese or Taiwanese. While this homogenuity in ethnicity is one of the biggest reasons I’m looking forward to moving for college, I’ve also learned to embrace my culture. Not hard to do when you’re surrounded by so much Asian culture.
6. You’ve worked at a cafe, tea shop, or fast food place.
Once you realized you need some of your own spending money, you’re headed to your local food and drink shops for a job. Sometimes, if your friend is already working at one, he or she is able to hook you up with a few shifts as well. And once you begin working, you can start giving your friends free drinks or food if they come visit you. Boba shops, rolled ice cream places, and fast food chains are popular workplaces for high school students.
7. Everyone has their own car.
Since it’s relatively easy to drive around the Bay, we usually don’t use public transport besides Caltrain or Amtrak for farther distances. Otherwise, road tripping is a popular vacation option, especially with the beaches and views along the California coast. Chances are, as soon as you and your friends learned to drive, you’ve taken turns driving each other, playing your favorite music. There’s always that one guy or girl with the best car in your squad, whether it’s a large van that can seat the whole group or a convertible that’s perfect for shouting lyrics in at the top of your lungs.
8. You have your own unique slang.
You and your friends use certain phrases, such as “hella,” “lit,” “lowkey/highkey,” or “yikes” often. When you’re free to join in someone’s plans, a simple, “I’m down,” is sufficient, and when someone’s ready to leave, you’ll usually hear, “I’m gonna dip.” As for texting, “tfti” is just one phrase that’s used often, an acronym for “thanks for the invite,” with a sarcastic tone.
9. Teslas and self-driving cars are a common sight on the road.
It’s no surprise these vehicles are frequently seen, as Tesla and Google headquarters are right here in the Bay. A few years ago, if you spotted a Tesla, you would be in awe at the sleek, silent vehicle, but today they’re easily owned by the typical suburban dweller. Other than the cars, you’re also caught up with the technological trends, with tech giants such as Apple Inc, Facebook, Twitter, and more nearby.
10. You’re very familiar with the Stanford v. Cal debate.
Even if you’re not going to either school, you’re well aware of the famous rivalry. Since middle school, you’ve probably seen kids wear Cal or Stanford sweatshirts. Whenever someone from outside the Bay visits, my family usually suggests the Stanford campus as a must-see spot. And UC Berkeley is inevitably a popular and renowned school, as California’s first public university.
11. The first thing you ask someone new you meet is which high school they’re from.
You’re familiar with all the high schools in your area, and this question is usually how you establish an opinion of someone. Some high schools are definitely more reputable than others here, and the next thing you probably ask someone is “Do you know ____?” Being friends with people from different schools is not uncommon here.
12. You’re proud of where you come from and can’t wait to go back and visit.
Despite your complaints that you’ve canvassed all the food places, that there’s no real “weather,” and the lack of diversity at your high school, you know you’re going to miss the Bay once you leave. But you know that the second you land at SFO, you’re back in your element and you’ll feel glad to be home.