I live in Prague, the Czech Republic, and have since 2008. But I am from the city, and lived in Bernal Heights before moving to Brisbane (the one in 415), then to Davis for college.
Having lived abroad for so long now, and speaking Czech at home with my family (my wife speaks Czech and we speak it with our son), I am often mistaken for a foreigner when I visit San Francisco. At a party full of expats who were not from the city and worked for Optimizely and Google and the like, someone asked me what country I was from. I was the only one there actually from the city.
I lived through the late 90s and early 2000s in the bay, and had no desire to be like the people who flocked there when I was a teen. Though my parents were both in publishing, which was kind of indistinguishable from the tech field until the late 90s, the stress of their lives and the competitiveness didn't seem healthy.
The city changed a lot, and I felt by the time I left for college that it wasn't anything like the place where I was born. Now when I go back, it's unrecognizable to me. I don't necessarily dislike it, but I feel no pull there anymore. My parents are not there anymore, but two of my sisters remain. The culture of driving everywhere in the bay, of mass consumption, of high prices and super lofty ambition, are new to me. They didn't define the place when I was a kid.
Now, I really don't like these screeds that you read about how tech ruined SF and all that. It's not true. But it changed things. The city stopped being a place that I could imagine living as a regular person. Maybe for others that's more exciting, but for me, it's too much. A place that is "the place" where you "have to be" also attracts the kind of people who "just have to be there." I chose not to apply to Harvard or Stanford, and I didn't relish the idea of competing in a job market full of people who did choose that route, or one like it.
Being a foreigner in my adopted country, I feel exempted from many of the judgements and pressures that people put on each other in their own culture. I like that feeling, and the opportunity I've had to be whomever I wanted. I ironically still work in tech, but I do it on terms that are far different from those I would have to accept back home.