San Francisco update
Hello everyone! So much has happened lately, so let’s get started…
At the end of January, Michelle was offered a job as the children’s librarian in Brisbane, CA (a small town just southeast of San Francisco, in San Mateo County). She accepted, with a start date of March 16, and we got to work doing all we needed to do– finishing up work, packing, finding an apartment, etc. The line between excitement and stress blurred, and our longing to see California friends clashed with the sadness of knowing how much we would miss our Florida friends and family.
The day came when Michelle, Dr. Kitten, and I got into our moving truck and hit the road. Taking I-10, we got to our new home in just five days, passing through Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and finally California. Saw some deer, rams, and bats in Texas (a bat hit our windshield at one point). Nice mountains and rock formations, some dust storms. Dr. Kitten was a champ, very well-behaved for a small mammal. (photos here)
Michelle had almost a week to get situated before her new job started– we spent that week unpacking and arranging our new small apartment. Our place is in the Outer Richmond District, on the northwest side of San Francisco, just over a block north of Golden Gate Park. We really like our neighborhood– it’s residential, quiet, and clean. Highly populated by a variety of Asian and Russian residents, and this is reflected in all the restaurants and shops around, where we have a crazy selection of eats– dim sum, sushi, Vietnamese pho, Indonesian, Burmese, Szechuan, Russian bakeries, etc. Regular grocery stores here are way expensive, but great deals on produce can be found at various local markets. I’m finding it surprisingly difficult to only prepare my own food– inexpensive good stuff is all around, and it’s so tempting for a food-lover like me.
So we’ve been here almost a month now, and have done a lot. Public transit is pretty cheap and covers a lot of ground, so it’s not hard to travel. We’ve spent some time in the Mission, looking in thrift stores, eating burritos, and having a picnic in Dolores Park, which becomes packed with people on the weekend. Also spent plenty of time in Golden Gate Park, which amazes me. It’s so vast, and has just about any kind of recreational space you could want– bike trails, exercise equipment, soccer/polo field, tennis, radio-controlled boat lake, fly-fishing casting ponds, big meadows with picnic tables and grills, etc.
This city is just bursting at the seams with events to check out… looking through the two indie/entertainment papers every week, I come across constant concerts that I just have to put out of my head, because I can’t spend $50 on shows every week. Luckily, there’s also plenty of free stuff to do, and exploring the city is entertainment enough.
This week, we are indulging a bit. Monday night we saw one of our favorite musicians, Bonnie Prince Billy, play at the Fillmore. Amazing show in a very classy venue. Tonight we’re going to see one of our favorite comedians, Neil Hamburger. Wednesday (April Fool’s Day), I took part in the St. Stupid’s Day Parade, which involved getting dressed up like an idiot and marching through the downtown financial district, venting anger at irresponsible economic behaviors while banging drums, throwing socks in the air (The Sock Exchange), giving out pink slips, etc. Michelle couldn’t make that one, because she had to work. (photos here)
Speaking of work, that’s going well for both of us. Michelle seems to be settling into her position in Brisbane, which has a tiny library. I started work last week as a substitute librarian in San Mateo County, and was surprised to get more hours than I expected, which really helps out in this expensive city. Thursday was Staff Development Day (a thing libraries do once a year where everyone gets together for talks and such), which was a good chance for us to meet other people in the library system. Everyone is so friendly and laidback, and the organization in general here is very casual, in a way that allows more flexibility in terms of staffing and programming. Just my first impressions…
And now we’re starting to meet some new people… while washing our clothes the other night, we happened upon a laundromat birthday party, and were nicely invited over to join the festivities (cupcakes and a washer full of ice and beer). Turns out everyone there is part of a group that puts on a haunted house event every year, so we may get in touch with them and perhaps do some creative work.
Soooo…. that’s where we are now. It’s a big change for us, and we’re still getting used to it all. While living in the city is fun, it is exhausting, and getting around eats up a lot of time. We miss all of our friends terribly– all our Florida friends who we just left, and our friends elsewhere that we haven’t seen so recently.
That’s all for now, but I plan on posting updates here as often as I can, so check back soon! I’ve got more photos to check out here.