Home from Home
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco, CA I made it! After a very stressful couple of weeks of last minute planning (highlights of which included moving out of my house, a manic trip to the Indian Embassy when I was incorrectly told I would have to get my Indian Visa before I left, a worrying moment when I tried to check my flights on-line, only to discover I didn`t have any booked under the reference they`d given me, and various problems with bank accounts and credit cards not arriving), I finally made it to my new home in San Francisco and have settled in to my lovely apartment. I felt a little sad to be leaving friends and family behind, but the internet and Skype make keeping in touch so much easier. Plus, arriving in a city with an instant network of friends is very comforting. I soon met up with the colleagues I had previously worked with in London at their new office – soon to be my workplace. And the new US recruits all seem very nice – and at least 2 of them have names I can pronounce… My apartment is next door to my mate Steve, who I`ve known for nearly 30 years and has his own martial arts studio here. Steve is a massive Hammers fan, and I promised to watch the last few remaining matches of the season with him. What I`d forgotten (other than how bad they could be) is that the match is on here at 7am on the Saturday morning. This all seemed perfectly feasible until I came home at God knows when the night before and woke up with the hangover from hell (well I had been invited out for a “welcome to San Fran” drink, or six). And with margheritas at only $3 a shot, it would have been rude to refuse. So after being here 2 days, I feel totally at home and it seems more like I`ve been here for weeks. I`ve managed to work out how to get back to the apartment (even when very drunk in the early hours of the morning!), have found Safeway, have been asked out on a date outside Safeway(!), have checked out where I can go for Spanish and Pilates classes, which I hope to sign up for next week, and have used the MUNI and the BART (the underground/bus/tram/trolley combo – they certainly like their transport to be varied here – I keep looking out for the stop n` ride horse and carts). Sadly, I seem to have left the good weather back home – and after a couple of Okish days, the weather has turned very wet and stormy. Of course, I packed my flip flops and vest tops, and left out my boots and sweaters. So, I have had to postpone my plans to explore the city for the next few days, which is a shame as I just love walking around the different neighbourhoods. San Francisco must be one of my most favourite American cities – it`s so funky (for want of a better word), although it has most homeless people I`ve ever encountered anywhere. I guess they come here for the climate- and the shopping trolleys??? (although I think they`d be better off in Miami on a day like today). So, I`m looking forward to starting work next week (something I never thought I`d hear myself say!), and becoming a real Californian girl (not sure I`ll be wearing flowers in my hair any time soon though). Next stop: Napa Valley (to admire the beautiful scenery of course….) Observations: 1. The people here are so friendly – on my first walk down Market Street, I had greetings and comments from no less than 4 guys (granted 3 of them were hobos, and the other one had no teeth, but the sentiments were appreciated). 2. I`d forgotten how much the Americans love their food. It is almost certainly cheaper to eat out than buy food to eat in. The number and variety of food outlets: restaurants, the ubiquitous fast food joints, bars, cafes, bistros is astonishing. Obviously the quality varies, but the quantity is always overwhelming for most of us Europeans, and it isn`t difficult to understand surrounded by a ready supply of cheap and accessible food at their disposal, that so many people are obese – even in relatively healthy California. It is disturbing, however, when they actively seem to be encouraging it (see photo) – only in America! 3. The TV is still ****!


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