13 September 2006

My first week in the City by the Bay

This may be redundant for the 2 people who read this, but I feel bad for not updating the blog. Anyway, I'm here in foggy San Francisco. Everyone who has been here told me that it was really foggy and chilly, but for some reason I refused to believe them. Hence, I am stuck here with one jacket and a suitcase full of summer clothes that I can't wear (which I had assumed to be appropriate for California living, but apparently not San Francisco living). Just go give you an idea, let me share this Mark Twain quote that no less than 5 people have already told me since I got here, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." People here seem to be obsessed w/ the weather and talking about how odd it is - I guess in that aspect, I am already assimilated! The Mission is one of the warmest spots of the city, where I live and work is the foggier/colder part of the city. Don't even get started on how much warmer it is in the East Bay - I start to experience weather envy. Supposedly September and October get warmer than the previous "summer" months. Complaining about the MUNI public transporation and expressing an equal disdain for driving (rather, parking and the City's love of giving tickets) seem to be other past-times of people here in SF. The city is in this weird place between being fully public transportationable and neccessitating a car. Good thing I enjoy getting lost on foot in new neighborhoods and find bus rides strangely calming.

Well, aside from lamenting about how much colder it is than I expected and waiting around for inconsistent buses (pic above is the 7, a pretty reliable line I take everyday to work), I've been pretty busy in my first week. One of my good friends and roommate from college, Susannah, has been a gracious and irreverent tourguide. She also introduced me to the wonders of Burmese food and larb gai (a delightful Thai melange of chewy, crunchy, sour, spicy, warm, cold, and overall goodness). I also visited some family friends in South San Francisco, which I learned the hard way - in other words paying a penalty for trying to use my MUNI monthly pass b/c I thought that South SF counted for BART travel w/in the city - is not actually a part of San Francisco! There in "South City" I bought me some sanity in the form of a wooden fold-up chair (I am building on my paltry furniture collection of an aerobed and a desk my roommates were going to trash) and an awesome 8-for-the-price-of-6 pack of Fruit of the Loom underwear at Target. God bless Target. Anyway, It's such a blessing to have friends and family here to provide me with a sense of home.

Oh yeah, and I started work at USF too. That is the University of San Francisco, not to be confused with the University of California-San Francisco or San Francisco State University, because almost every person I tell seems to mix these up. USF is a private, Jesuit school (though surprisingly progressive and liberal) located near Golden Gate park. Since it's a small school with a small number of faculty and staff, it has a really nice community feel to it. Since I'm currently having an obsession w/ the color green, I'm also digging its school colors (green and gold). The picture to above is no exaggeration of the campus. That is one part of campus called "Lone Mountain" where the President's office, some admin offices, and some classes are located. It is in fact on a mountainlike piece of earth, which means it has a fantastic view of the fog - I mean, the city! I've been spending a lot of time setting up my office (I have an office! a phone extension! perhaps I am easy to please) and going through boxes we packed up months ago from Teachers College (Dr. Yeh moved from TC to USF, if you didn't know). The job's somewhat esoteric, so forgive me if it makes no sense. I basically "coordinate" (still vague, I know) stuff related to Dr. Yeh's research and her grant from NIMH. It's really interesting how complicated research and academic work is. I'm also helping out as a TA to Dr. Yeh's Counseling Theory and Practice class, which is awesome experience. I really think I would want to become a professor and teach. I'm inspired by how much students bring and how much they can take away from the learning experience. Hopefully, I will gain more confidence so that I can be an effective teacher!

Last, but not least, I have been doing apartment hunting while subletting for the month in the Lower Haight neighborhood. I love the location I'm currently in b/c it's kinda funky but not too subversive for a Gap-whore like me. It's also somewhat in the middle of the city - close to work and provides easy access to so many other neighborhoods. Right now, I'm looking for a more permanent location either in the (Inner) Richmond and Sunset neighborhoods, as well as the Panhandle region near USF, and Laurel/Presidio Heights. None of that probably makes sense to you. Given that this is my VERY FIRST non-college housing hunt, it has been quite a learning experience. Well, I'm slowly figuring it out - what I've learned is that I can get lots of cheap Asian food and goods in the Inner Richmond and Inner Sunset, I don't feel safe in the Mission, and I am less likely to share a bathroom with 5-6 people in places more central to the city. I will keep you posted on where I end up - should have it figured out in the next couple of weeks.

Yikes, I wrote a lot. Hopefully you found it worth reading til the end. I certainly found it worthwhile to write. I forgot how much I enjoy my self-indulgent blogging. Anyway, peace out til next time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey! Thanks for your comment. I like your descriptions about San Francisco. I love hearing about cities about which I am curious but have never visited. It sounds like it has a pretty high hipness quotient--moreso than NYC? If it makes you feel better, we've had pretty miserable weather in D.C. the past week: off-and-on rain, grey, and a moist chill. Plus, buildings seem to have not registered the temperature drop and are still keeping the A/C on sub-Arctic thermostats. In terms of pleasantness, this weather is about as comfortable as the sunny humidity that I've experienced for most of the summer. SF sounds cool in that you have mild winters and a not too hot summer. I think that's the best of both worlds. The fog gets old, though. And yes, the New Yorker pictures reminded me of those posters of old ads that we got as well! I accidentally left one of mine in my old apartment--it was the photo of the flying "Frigidaire" that I had appropriately hung in the kitchen. I miss it.-Elaine