Urban Adventures

April explores the city.

GIANTS. November 3, 2010

Filed under: Thoughts — April @ 12:03 am

I erupted with a crowd of thousands outside Civic Center as the Giants won the World Series for the first time since they moved to San Francisco.

We jumped and screamed and hugged strangers.
We flooded Market Street.
We danced in the streets when the crosswalk light turned green.
(We cleared the streets when the light turned red.)
We ran down the line of honking cars and high-fived the drivers.
We drank too much Orange Fanta.
We climbed on bus stops.
We closed down the busiest street in the city.
We stopped the buses.
We cheered for hours.
We saw the City unite.

We are Giants fans.


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.


The best day. October 18, 2010

Filed under: Internship — April @ 9:25 pm

My supervisor was out of town today, so I got to spend the whole day out in the community with some of the clients. Since I am usually at my desk 8 hours a day, this was a welcome change of scenery. I absolutely adore the clients and I love spending time with them whenever I can.
In my group were Willie, Letu, Marco, and Chris, as well as the group leader Cecelia. I learned first hand that you really are only as fast as your slowest member. Letu is a little lady — not up to my shoulders or anywhere near them. Her brisk walk is my slow crawl. And she has difficulty breathing, so every couple of minutes we had to stop and give her a little rest. I expected the other clients to get frustrated with this because we did a lot of walking (including several flights of stairs due to a broken elevator), but they were so patient; Chris even offered to carry her bags.
While we were on the subway to City College for lunch and a workout class, I sat next to Willie, who is a big sweetheart. He didn’t have too much to say, but his huge smile was more than enough. The ride was going fine for Willie until a man boarded the subway who was possibly homeless and definitely talking to himself. Willie kept looking up at me with a really scared look and finally just put his head on my shoulder and slipped his hand into mine. Needless to say, my heart melted.
Later, while we were on a bus to computer class, I discovered that Willie has an urge to touch strangers. And he knows he shouldn’t; every time he reached his hand out toward someone’s shoulder or hair he would look at me with a big mischievous grin. While this was somewhat comical, it’s obviously a problem that I wasn’t anticipating. Strangers don’t like to be touched, and I told him this over and over. I had him hold his own hands or mine, which lasted for all of 5 seconds. Thankfully the woman next to him was very kind and understanding, but I was very relieved when our stop finally came.
This was by far my best and favorite day at work so far. The clients are a huge reason why I chose to intern at The Arc and I really just love them. They are absolutely wonderful people. But you can’t touch strangers, Willie. You just can’t.


Home, growing pains, and positivity. October 13, 2010

Filed under: Thoughts — April @ 8:26 pm

After being away from Santa Barbara for the longest period in my life, I at last returned for the four-day weekend, which I made a five-day weekend. I love Santa Barbara and now that I’m not there I love it even more. The open spaces, the sunshine and year-round sandal wearing, the red tile roofs. It’s home.
I had some good family time, barbecue included. I ate at Pepe’s, the best Mexican restaurant in the world, two times. And my sister Ashley was in town for the weekend. I also had some good friends and boyfriend times. I had a girls’ night out, I played ladder ball, I went to the zoo and fed Sulima the giraffe, and I ate Yogurtland.
As I visited Westmont for the long weekend, I felt like, well, a visitor. The campus that’s been my home for two years now was different — new buildings, new people, and (cliché alert!) new April. Everyone kept asking about how great Urban is. The implied and expected answer is of course “Ya it’s AWESOME and I LOVE it and it’s the BEST THING EVER!”
But it’s not. This semester is hard. Put positively, it’s a “growing experience.” But there is such a thing as growing pains and boy do I have them. First of all I don’t like change. I am a creature of habit and I like my routine. So throw me in a new city with new people and I will maybe freak out a little bit. Also I don’t really like big cities that much anyway.
While I was feeling especially grumpy I made a list of all the things that I don’t like about this place — bear with me because it’s hard to keep a positive attitude when all I want to do is be in Santa Barbara. It’s cold all the time and the fog is atrocious. The city is all hills so I basically have to do a strenuous workout if I want to walk. But If I want to take Muni it takes for-freaking-ever to go anywhere. There are a lot of strangers. And creepers. Cat calls are so disrespectful and offensive; I can’t stand them. Seriously what do these men think will come of whistling at me? It’s not flattering at all and I hate it. There are a bunch of hippies who need to stop smoking, wash their hair and do something with their lives. I don’t like cooking and the kitchen is always dirty. The coffee shops have nasty chai. I can’t wear sandals or sundresses or tank tops, which make up my entire wardrobe. Someone in the house has taken it upon him/herself to become Dobby the House Elf, complete with an email address and Facebook page. I live with 27 people and am kind of stuck with them because I don’t know anyone else in this city. It’s not home.
As much as I wanted to dwell on all the badness and sadness, I realized last night that I’ve still got nine weeks here. That’s a long time to be sad. So I also have a list of good things about the city. I’m making new friends. Community dinners mean one less meal I have to make. There are dogs everywhere in this city. My room has a balcony (fire escape…). My room has its own bathroom. I’m getting real-life job experience and skills. The houses are so colorful. I have an endless supply of fruit snacks. I get a weekly stipend. Every week we have a Glee Club. This city has great ice cream and great restaurants. North Beach is delightful. Golden Gate Park is like a forest. I love the clients at work. I get fun things for free, like jeans and concerts. Winter coats are cute and I like to wear scarves. The house is a mansion.
So I’ve resolved to be proactively positive. Being grumpy is draining. Today I kept a list (this is the last list) of all the happy things that happened. It was a beautiful sunshine day. I was ready for work early. I didn’t have to wait for my bus transfer like I usually do. A client emailed me just because. Another client shared with me a song she wrote about dancing. I got to leave work early. I was able to mooch for dinner. Glee Club is tonight.
It was a good day. I live here. It’s time to start making the most of it.


‘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.