Getting ready to farewell SF

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Cruising along last week prepared me for my weekend full of fun, starting with Trunk or Treat at our school. It was the first time we had signed up and it was such a good time with kids walking up and down the carpark filling their treat bags with tonnes of candy. I gave away two baskets full starting with around 800 Hersheys chocolate kisses.

The evening was a good time and I started the night off with some delicious tacos from the food truck, which really helped get through the Friday night. My outfit was a 1980s dance outfit – channelling my youth with the bubble skirt, sequins and big hair. The trunks were so creative and ours was a crafty dancy party as I have given away a lot of stuff and I do not have a lot of Halloween decorations. We shone our disco lights through the crochet blanket but the sound of the food truck drowned out our little speaker of tunes!

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My favourite trunk was our friends who designed their trunk with the theme of The Book of Life – it is such a beautiful film.

A couple of standout costumes of the evening was My friend’s costume with the lights on her hat from the character La Muerte from the Book of Life and another fave was the LED jellyfish and her sibling was a stingray – their mum told me that she was the ocean and wrapped in a blue ocean themed throw.

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After all the fun and excitement of trunk or treat my friends and I planned a hop on hop off tour of San Francisco months ago.

It was a bit strange to get the hang of as you waited around at a random bus stop and then when the bus came we had to get the ticket authorised for the Sausalito leg by the office at Pier 39. After we worked all that out half the day had gone but we packed it in and had a late lunch at this lovely traditional Italian restaurant San Drino in Sausalito (see the gnocchi and ravioli before we ate the thin crust pizza, amazing!) and had some ice cream from Lapperts as we were waiting for the bus. My ice cream was the right amount of sweetness the Ube Macapuno – Philippine Ube root with coconut puree, yummo!

Just travelling beneath the arches of the golden gate bridge atop the open bus was so cold but worth it for the incredible views of the bridge and the bay. I highly recommend these tours as you get a great overview of the city the view from the top of the bus allow for some magical photo opportunities. I plan on doing one in Melbourne when I get home to see what is new in the city 😀

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This is one of my fave shots of the day from the top of the bus while it was moving! Still, it was lucky to get this in focus with Karl the fog floating atop the water.

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After our trip to Sausalito, we went to see the rest of the loop and to check out one final destination – Lombard Street, AKA “the crookedest street in the world”. The views were spectacular and the sun was about to set so the sky was just gorgeous! As we were heading down the steep hill to go and get a quick snack for the way home we stumbled across this amazing sunset with the Golden Gate bridge in the foreground – so special and what a magnificent end to the day. That will most likely be my farewell to this beautiful city as I have two months left until we go home for good.

Sunday I had another early start with volunteering for the annual FabMo Textile Art Boutique. I wore my dress made from FabMo squares which received many comments of “cute skirt”, it is always so fun to wear it as it is the special souvenir of my time spent volunteering with FabMo – their ethos and approach to saving fabric from the landfill is something that I aspire to and maybe if I make the connections in Melbourne where I can create a FabMo there too!

This week is my last before I get into my next subject of Teaching Science and Technology – it should be a lot of fun juggling the study with moving home!

New places to play

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I don’t get out much these days with study and a ton of other tasks to do at home so I had a mission to go into San Francisco for the day to renew my daughter’s passport at the Australian Consulate. I hopped onto the train to allow myself a time of chilling and knitting which was excellent as I have many projects going on at the moment. Arriving in San Francisco and walking through SOMA I have never seen so many dudes in my life – hey if you are a single woman get out there! There were packs of them and as my hubby says its ‘cos of all the tech companies in South of Market. Funny they all look the same and dress the same in their little uniforms of trainers, jeans, t-shirt or checked shirt and some facial hair and glasses. Walking through the city there were many homeless people even camped outside the building on Market Street right in the middle of the Financial District. Crazy how there is so much money in this city and there is no real solution to the problem of housing for the homeless. Hopefully, with the upcoming election, some wise nut will be able to do something about it and begin to care for the community. As I was walking down 3rd Street there was a hotel worker strike demanding better conditions and pay – go for it and I wish you all the best of luck, it is a tough and demanding job often disregarded by the many folks who travel and expect more.

Thank goodness the Australian Consulate has such an easy process with the paperwork and it all went smoothly! With 30 minutes to spare I wandered down the road to Bluestone Lane, an Aussie inspired cafe. The story goes that the guy who started the chain began his coffee shop franchise in New York by the need to get a decent coffee and enjoy an Aussie style coffee shop. I went to the cafe in the hope of having a CUP of tea but this is the cafe and only do “to go” so I had a paper cup and had to recycle it! They had a couple of tables outside and there I sat and ate my $8 avocado toast out of a box and read my book on Swedish Death Cleaning. I really needed to go to the coffee shop in Union Square if I wanted to have a latte with a cup and saucer, this is all explained on their website, American style to go or Aussie style sit down, relax and enjoy a cuppa.  Anyway, it was not as exciting as I thought it would be and as I have been living in America for ages I always set my expectations low, so I do not suffer disappointment.

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Our baby girl Bella chilling out – which is where I should be but between subjects for Uni but alas, I have a bunch of stuff to catch up on, mainly sewing!

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To end the week I helped out at my work for a couple of hours on Friday and volunteered at the school walkathon for another 3 hours and I was done and dusted for the week, time to chill. Missy had just come back from her trip away on science camp for 4 days and was determined to get herself a t-shirt by walking 75 laps which equals around 18 miles (28 km) that is quite a walk! She did it and was quite pleased that she scored a shirt but by the time she got to the end they had run out of t-shirts so she will get it this week! Still, I am quite amazed that these 5th-grade girls mustered up the energy to complete the walkathon after their epic 5-hour hike on science camp, though they did say that was training for the walkathon 😀

The weekend was pretty packed with stuff to do with the kids going to the harvest festival with their chickens for 4H and sharing their chickens at a petting zoo and pet parade. Unfortunately one of the white king pigeons flew away, hopefully, he finds his way back to the coop – it was quite distressing for the kids to see him fly away!

On Sunday we met our friends up in San Francisco at a hidden gem called Glen Canyon Park where we hiked around the natural habitats to the main drag of Portola and found some food before we walked uphill to Twin Peaks and Sutro Tower. Glen Canyon Park has such a fascinating history which was saved from development by the “Gum Tree Ladies” in the 1970s. The park provides habitats for Red Tailed Hawks, coyote, racoon and many other critters of the city. There is a fenced off super cool park for the kids to climb and play but be warned – Adults must be accompanied by children! 

We enjoyed burgers at Tower Burgers which was a 10-minute walk away from the top of the hill and with some energy we continued our walk uphill towards Twin Peaks.

The views on Twin Peaks were breathtaking, as was the wind that was blowing us sideways! The crows were having a grand old time flying in and out of the wind currents up there. Here is San Francisco in all its glory. The kids had a blast pretending to be crows using their jackets as wings.

We headed back to the car by walking along the Gum Tree Girls trail and encountered many obstacles such as tree roots, low hanging branches, tunnels of scrub which makes it such a wonderful walk you have to be aware of your surroundings. This was another fun time in San Francisco with our friends being tourists for the day and discovering new places to play!

 

Immigration stories

It was so good to have a mental health day away from studies over the weekend! It needed to happen as Uni has been pretty full on and now with booking my flight to arrive in Melbourne on the 29th December, its all starting to get real!

I went out for an SF stairs walk with my friends – we were doing the walk up to Telegraph Hill. First, we had to have something to eat so we found this incredible Mexican joint, Don Pistos on Union Street. There I discovered spiked horchata – that is spiked with rum! I took one sip and tipped the whole thing all over the table, lucky my friend got out in time!! The guys cleaned it up quick sticks and bought me another, thank goodness it was not as strong as the first, I am such a lightweight drinker lately. Oh, and the fish tacos were just incredible with a bit of spice on the fish and the slaw was so fresh atop fresh corn tortillas – divine!

After lunch, we headed up the hill to Coit tower and travelled up many stairs to the top checking out the many vistas as we went along. The view of the bay was stunning. We walked right to the top of the hill and then we went back down feeling a bit of vertigo on the way.

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There is the Bay Bridge that connects the city to Oakland and here are the stairs, which proved to be a great workout – thank goodness I was not too wasted!

After our stair adventure, we wandered down the Embarcadero for a little while checking out the scene, the weather was absolutely perfect!

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This incredible art piece of a polar bear was in San Francisco after being built at Burning Man. It was installed as part of the climate summit held in the city over the week – this is such a statement to global warming – a thin polar bear suffering at the loss of its Arctic habitat.

Oh and here’s a little immigration story… my son was asking about why my family immigrated to Australia for a school project.

My mum and her family moved over in 1962 and travelled to Melbourne by ship called the Oriana and it took about 2 weeks to get to Station Pier in Port Melbourne. They moved to the coldest place in Victoria – Newborough where my nan moved from her teaching job to work as a librarian. It was funny that they moved there from tropical Sri Lanka. The reason they left Sri Lanka was that there was a coup d’etat in Columbo and there was no scope and no future for their family there. They left with their suitcases, a few furniture pieces to white Australia. The only reason they were accepted into Australia was that their credentials were important – meaning they had to prove they were of European background. As it turns out my Nan side was Dutch and my Pops side was French. The white Australia policy ended in 1973, such a fascinating racist past in what is now multicultural Australia.

My mum and dad met at a cricket match in Melbourne and they married in 1965 when they went up to Queensland for a holiday that was where they wanted to be with the tropical weather.

My dads family moved over in 1949 and lived and went to school in St Kilda as his Dad has retired from the railway so they migrated to Australia. They too had to write out their genealogy to prove they had a European background and my dad’s side is German. His family moved to the country when he grew up when he met my mum when she was 21. Dads family also migrated for a better life in Australia and he travelled on the ship Orontes, this is history we need to retain for our future. Thanks, Mum and Dad and Cheryl for sharing this story with me over the weekend!

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The ship my Dads family travelled on from Sri Lanka