Urban Adventures

April explores the city.

It’s the most wonderful time in the City. December 10, 2010

Filed under: Exploration — April @ 2:11 pm

Christmas in San Francisco can be described in one word: magical. With the exception of gently falling snowflakes, it has everything. Union Square has the tallest Christmas tree I’ve ever seen and an ice skating rink. Fisherman’s Wharf and the cable cars are decked out with festive garland and lights. Macy’s has a 6-ft wreath in every window a Christmas floor you could spend hours on (I did), and PUPPIES. That’s right, Macy’s has puppies and kittens in the windows. They’re for adoption and somehow I’ve been able to restrict myself from adopting all of them… we’ll see how long that lasts. Our house Christmas tree is so beautiful and topped with Dobby the House Elf. AND there is a new Dave Barnes Christmas video — check out the Christmas cheer!

Merry Christmas, friends.


Take your dad to the city day. November 21, 2010

Filed under: Exploration — April @ 4:36 pm

“Hi daughter; I’m in San Francisco!” my dad exclaimed over the phone on Friday. This weekend is the 9th Annual San Francisco Salsa Congress, and being the salsa lover that he is, my dad drove up to dance all weekend. He took Saturday off from workshops to hang out with me in my new city.
Before the adventures officially began, I insisted that we go back to his hotel in Oakland — not to dance, but to get him in some proper city-exploring clothes instead of the comfy sweats he had been wearing. This was my first time in Oakland, and boy am I glad that I don’t have to go there often. It gets a bad rap for being ghetto and dangerous, which I thought was maybe overplayed by San Francisco snobs, but even at 11 a.m. it seemed sketchy and rundown to me. I definitely won’t be walking around there alone if I can help it.
Once we drove back across the Bay Bridge into the city and found ridiculously overpriced parking, we argued about the pros and cons of Indian food for breakfast (I won) and walked to Union Square for a delicious late breakfast at Sears, which had such a classy feel and thankfully has no connection to the department store. We walked around for a bit, trying to think of what to do and almost rented a GPS-guided GoCar to drive around the city. We ended up taking a cable car to Pier 39 — so San Francisco. This was my first time there and I loved it! It’s fun being a tourist, and kind of funny to see what tourists flock to when they come here instead of the places where “locals” like me go. Pier 39 is great! I saw a sea lion, got some ice cream, and found a store that changed my life forever: Lefty’s, the store for left-handed people. Needless to say I was very excited and stocked up on left-handed items, including a notebook and pen. End the discrimination! Equality for lefties!
After we said our goodbyes and he went back across the bay, I enjoyed the biggest storm of the decade in the parlor. Lightning every few minutes, thunder clapping so loud that it shook the house, and a puddle outside so big that the car parked there was tire-deep in water. It was a good end to a good day.


Octopi die for love. November 7, 2010

Filed under: Exploration — April @ 10:19 pm

It is fatal for both male and female octopi to mate. This is why their lifespan is so short — only two years in the wild. I learned this today while watching a female giant Pacific octopus show off her suction cups at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. She was in her aquarium alone, and for good reason; if there was another female in there one would eat the other, and if there was a male in there, they BOTH could die by mating! This is one of the most convincing and frightening arguments I’ve heard for abstinence.


I am faster than the bus. October 25, 2010

Filed under: Exploration — April @ 9:20 pm

As I walk out the door of work, I see the empty bus stop and the 47 bus rolling away down 11th toward Market. This is not the first time that this has happened to me. I’ll opt for a 6 minute bus ride over a 10 minute walk any day, but today I decide to walk to my transfer. I walk briskly toward Market and Van Ness and make the turn toward my next bus stop for the 21. Two more blocks to go. Imagine my surprise and laughter when I look behind me to see my 47 bus stopped at a red light a block away. I officially walk faster than the bus. Laughing to myself, I arrive at my next stop, where my delight was soon crushed by the realization that the 21 had just left and I had 15 minutes to kill. You win some, you lose some.


A breath of fresh air. October 23, 2010

Filed under: Exploration,Thoughts — April @ 11:47 am

Point MontaraEight weeks in the city and now for some fresh air. The Urban mid-term retreat was this past Thursday. No class and no internship; just 27 college students playing at Point Montara for the day.
Being there reminded of me of my trip to Ireland. We started out in Belfast, a major city, for the first week and a half. It was nice, but not the Ireland I had anticipated. Then we went to Corrymeela, a tiny rural place with rolling green hills dotted with sheep behind me and cliffs and ocean in front of me. In a word, it was breathtaking. Point Montara lacked the sheep, but it had the same feeling of escaping the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoying peace and relaxation for the day. Point Montara is a great spot. It’s less than an hour out of San Francisco, it’s got beautiful cliffs, and the lighthouse there was the first in the US to be run by a woman (yay women!).
It was nice to be able to hang out with everyone outside of the city. We had a brief debrief time, and the rest of the day was ours. We explored the cliffs and beach, played games, and some of us played jump rope on the sand with washed-up kelp.
Since it’s the half-way point of the semester, I figured it’s a good time to evaluate where I’m at and what I want for the remaining 8 weeks. I’m more comfortable being in the city and I’m not as homesick. I love my internship. I’m having more patience with my housemates. I want to get to know more of them. I want to get out of the house more and see more of the City. I have a few places that I know I like, but this city has so much more to offer me and I won’t be living here for much longer. I want to soak it up.


‘Hella’ and Jenny Lewis. October 1, 2010

Filed under: Exploration — April @ 6:34 pm

‘Hella’ is just a joke, right? Something that southern Californians made up to make fun of northern Californians? I have been proven wrong. Things can be ‘hella lame’ and ‘hella tight’ and even ‘hella disrespectful’ (that’s my favorite). I learn a lot listening to junior high students yell at each other at bus stops. I now feel obligated to use this atrocious modifier as often as possible, or else people will know I’m not from here — oh the shame.
With that being said, I had a hella good day. No internship, French toast, and an empty house. It was a much needed recharge after a long week.
The best part of it all? JENNY LEWIS. FOR FREE. She is the best in the world and I love her 100%. She’s got a new CD out with her new band, Jenny and Johnny. That’s Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice. They were playing at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park. It’s a free weekend-long music festival on three stages throughout the park. I didn’t recognize too many of the other names on the bill, but I will probably go back tomorrow or Sunday to check it out. The park is amazing. Today was my first time there and it feels more like a forest than a park — definitely not manicured like Central Park. I want to hang out there all the time. It’s hella awesome.


I ate a lot of food this weekend. September 26, 2010

Filed under: Exploration,Internship — April @ 10:43 pm

What a weekend! Friday, which is supposed to be my day off, I caught the 6:40 a.m. bus downtown to attend the Arc Angel Breakfast. That’s the big donor event I’ve been working on since I started my internship. It’s hard to believe that I’ve only been there for two weeks because so much has happened. I showed up at City Club, the venue for the event, and couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. So upscale and classy — it’s a good thing I wore my fancypants. I was put immediately to work and was in charge of greeting guests. All the stories I had written about clients were on the tables and the video I shot of Briana last week was played during the breakfast, so that was a nice rewarding moment. Overall the event went well and 13 new donors made a 5-year commitment. I’d say that’s a success. Also, free breakfast.
Then I got home and waited for a special visitor (a.k.a. Wyatt) coming from Santa Barbara for the weekend. We got some delicious ice cream at Mitchell’s, which I’ve heard a lot about and is a house favorite, and we only got a little bit lost. Saturday was a full day — full of bus rides. We took a trip to Clement Street in the Richmond District to check out Green Apple Books and get some exotic cuisine at Burma Superstar. SO tasty! My new favorite bread is called platha; I recommend it to everyone with taste buds.
We also went to the San Francisco Zoo, of course! It had a great layout and the exhibits were really spacious. It felt a lot bigger than the Santa Barbara Zoo, which will always be my favorite, but I don’t think it had many more animals or the same charm. But it was a lovely outing, followed by a rather pungent dinner in North Beach at The Stinking Rose. It’s a garlic restaurant that serves absolutely everything garlic. I thought the ice cream was a bit much. We ended the weekend with a walk over to Haight for some crepes at Squat & Gobble this morning. Yum.
I really needed this weekend and it came at just the right time. I’ve been here for a month now and I’m starting to get into the routine of things and realizing that I miss Santa Barbara. I’m enjoying the city and the new experiences for sure, but I just love Santa Barbara. It’s home. So I’ve decided that I’ll be going there for the four-day weekend in October. It will be a good break and so good to see my family and Westmont faces.