Saturday, June 29, 2013

Hello, San Francisco!

Hey guys! It was a crazy day yesterday! Because I'm still on a Michigan time schedule (which is, actually, really good for my sleep schedule here, because it means I get up earlier and fall asleep at a decent time), I was up super early for my standards. Before 3pm it was hard to do much. Some of you know that Patrick works from home most of the time, but sometimes he is on-site in different places. He is what he calls a "data scientist," meaning he uses software to organize data and then teaches people all over either remotely or in person how to use said software. The day we arrived, he had been teaching a class from home all day, and was also scheduled to teach the next day, too. In order to do this, he does need the house to be quiet because, obviously, his students can hear him and whatever else goes on around him. So Kerry and Jackie and I mostly played on electronics all day while he taught. Then, during breaks during his class, Kerry and I would go out to my car and bring things in so that we could start putting all of my stuff away. I'm mostly all unpacked, it's just a matter of organizing and meshing our things together in a way that makes sense. Today, we're going out to purchase a couple of things to make this easier, like a chest of drawers for me to finish putting away my clothing, a fan because I'm from Michigan and we don't do "hot" there with no A/C (which most apartment buildings around here don't even have, like ours), and a shelf to put up some of my various knick knacks that I insisted on bringing with me.

Finally Patrick finished his class and we got to the part that we'd all been waiting for. San Francisco! We actually don't live too far from the city, however, public transportation is the way to go around here since traffic and parking are downright absurd. So the four of us drove to the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) Station, parked, purchased tickets, and I got on my first train.

I look much too happy and at ease for the way I was feeling, but that's because this was taken before the train started moving!

Obviously, we don't have "trains" in Michigan. Here, the BART is kind of like a subway. This enormous "bus" with a ton of trains attached runs underground, above ground, forwards, and backwards. Being from the Detroit area, it's pretty much ingrained in my brain that public transit is terribly unsafe. You don't take a bus unless you're carrying pepper spray and a large blade, and taxis are somewhat of a newer thing, and mostly not in budget unless you plan on going out of town and need a ride back because you've been drinking. But here, the train is a normal thing. Jackie takes it every day to school. But even though they were totally comfortable with getting on the BART, I was definitely a nervous wreck, especially when I learned that it goes underground, which I was not comfortable with. Then, when the train took off, I was definitely not prepared. I get car sick easily, so the momentum and jerking around made me really queasy and nervous. I couldn't wait to get off.

I knew I was in for a culture shock when I got here, but I've never seen anything like it. We got to our stopping point and got out and the first thing I saw was a guy playing guitar and singing. He was really good! Then we went on our walk. Our goal was an ice cream store, with a whole bunch of weird flavors. On the way there, we stopped in a Mexican pastry shop and got cookies. I'm not a very adventurous eater, so thankfully there was a safe ice cream option for me (Dulce de Leche, which is like a caramel ice cream), but Kerry got Lime Basil sorbet, Patrick got a Bourbon Coke Float with Secret Breakfast ice cream (which is bourbon ice cream with corn flakes in it), and Jackie got Brown Sugar Fennel. So weird! I was not prepared for all of that. We finished our ice cream (but we all know I prefer Han D Dip!), then we went back to the BART and continued our journey to the heart of SF.

There, we wandered around a lot. We went into the Disney store here, which was really neat. Two stories! Patrick, being the non-Michigan person that he is, got really cold while I was still sweating, so he bought himself a pair of jeans from American Eagle, and we continued walking around. The buildings were really neat! As we were walking around, Patrick's friend Sarah was talking to him. She's been really excited to meet me because she, too, isn't a native Californian. Our situations are very similar, actually. She moved out here from Maryland (!!!) to be with her boyfriend, Brian, and was in for a huge shock! But, surprisingly, after we initially met, she was the one giving me a serious tour of the city, telling me all of the history and little facts. When I learned later that she's only been here for a year and a half, I was relieved. She knew so much about everything we passed that I decided that not all hope was lost for me!

Where we waited for Sarah. It was like a little "mall" hallway with shops in it. It was enclosed but there were no doors, it was just all open! There was even a pigeon hopping around inside!

The mall hallway even had a giant chess board! I wish I knew how to play!

There are hearts like this, painted differently, all around the city by different artists. I can't remember exactly what Sarah said, but it was something about a hospital!
(Update: Here is the information!

The city had trolleys! Sarah explained that they are very old and if you actually ride them, there are informational signs that are inside that will tell you their history. From what I understood, they're donated to SF by other cities!

What is this? It's significant, right?

The city had some super cool things that you'd never see back home in Michigan. For example, Pride day is this Sunday (which I am super excited to attend), and in preparation for the parade, the city was showing off its colors! It's definitely going to be a crazy day with the new Supreme Court rulings (three cheers for progress)!

I'm not a very adventurous eater, so when we went to a French restaurant for dinner, I was, at first, really irritated with the menu. I'm not going to eat raw steak or rabbit or blood sausage! Gross! But I ended up finding something that I really enjoyed paired with a yummy Cosmo. We even got some really cool key chains from France of the Eiffel tower from our waitress!


After dinner, we went back to Sarah's apartment, which was really cute! Her building is super fun, there's a dog park for service dogs, no smoking on the grounds, and then comes the fun part... We went all the way up to the roof and it was like a party ready area! There were high-tech grills for the tenants to use, really nice chairs that you could lay/sit in and view the skyline, and a small area with a really nice sized hot tub and a view of the Bay Bridge! We were literally hundreds of feet from it. We sat up on the roof while it got dark and chatted, and we got to see the bridge light up! There are tons of tiny lights on it that go in different patterns up and down the cables. It was really neat.

 The view from the roof of Sarah and Brian's apartment building!

 Sarah! Hooray for new friends! She's super fun!

 Jackie, myself, Sarah, and Kerry all girl-talking by the roof top hot tub! 

The view of the bridge from the rooftop after dark! The lights are pretty, but I still hate that bridge!!!!

When we decided it was time to go home, we started walking back to the BART and were most of the way there when I realized that I left my purse at Sarah's, so we had to walk back. It wouldn't have been so bad, except for she lives at the top of a very large hill. On my way down said hill (the first time, when I was still purse-less), I decided that it would be a great idea to jump on this very springy metal grate that was on the sidewalk, but I jumped on the outer edge, which wasn't so bouncy. This was especially bad because a couple of weeks ago, I twisted my ankle twice in one day. So coming down hard on it on a surface that I expected to be bouncy but was not a good time. I iced it this morning for a while (I have a feeling that I aggravated a tendon which is causing the swelling) and it seems to be doing better, but a long walk through the city probably isn't happening anytime soon!

Kerry and Jackie bonding at the BART station!

Though I hate the BART, I was relieved to get on it so that we could finally go home. It was definitely a long day and we were all very tired. There was no discussion when we got back, it was just bedtime!

This morning, I woke Patrick up from his little bed on the couch. At first he was groggy, but then what did he do? Make me breakfast! He's a keeper!

Feed me and I will love you. 

Today's adventures also include something that I'm very excited to take Kerry to, although I'll update everyone about it tomorrow so that I don't ruin the game plan by letting everyone know what it is! Adios amigos!

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