It feels like my last post was forever ago, especially since I’ve been living out of a backpack for the past two weeks in various Californian locations. More on that shortly. But first I want to note the fun Chicago meetups which happened before I left, especially dinner and drinks with Ellen and Emilie, having Marte and Alex over to play board games (even though we didn’t actually get round to playing any board games, but we did learn how competitive Marte would have been) and McKenna and Rusty’s ‘leaving’ party. I mean, they really are moving to Berlin, one assumes. They just haven’t actually left yet.
So, California! This was a three-part escapade which I have illustrated with this hastily labelled map:
1. Palo Alto
As you will know if you’ve been following along, this was for work. For our purposes, the most important thing is that I had my regular catch-up with Nolan, this time over fried chicken and waffles and beer. Also, the guy in the build-your-own-burger place learnt my name, which is a little worrying. I don’t come to California for the salads.
2. San Francisco
That relationship-building with Nolan in step #1 was critical, because for the weekend I borrowed his apartment in San Francisco while he was away. Kudos to his roommates for (a) being great and welcoming, (b) encouraging me to steal their baked goods, (c) not calling the police when they thought I was slowly breaking into the apartment, and (d) having an electric kettle.
While in SF (which, I must say, was a joy to walk around) I was lucky enough to hang out with not one but two cousin families. On Saturday night I had dinner downtown with Jamie, Paul and Lori before Jamie and I saw Weightless, a rock opera retelling of Procne and Philomela’s story from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Not being cultured enough to have read Ovid (sorry) I was not sure what to expect, but it was really, really good. We especially enjoyed the narration from an unidentified Greek god, and the music was engrossing enough that I was tempted to buy the CD afterwards despite not actually having any way to listen to a CD anymore. (Thankfully, there were other options.) It’s the kind of production which obviously takes years of work to put together, and if this ends up touring more widely, I recommend seeing it.
The night afterwards I hung out with Jonah, Staci, Julien and Desmond in their local Oakland kid-friendly sort-of-pub, which was really lovely and a great opportunity to plant the seeds of future travel in the minds of the next generation.
Dear Lori, Julien and Desmond: one day, the odds are that you’ll want travel to distant cities and countries. We’ll be ready and waiting with the free sofas to sleep on. Lots of love, your older cousins.
Finally, a grateful shout-out to the Mechanics’ Institute Library & Chess Room of San Francisco. For a mere $15, you provided a quiet place in the city to sit and read, and you were well worth it. I feel so old.
3. Yorba Linda
Finally, Randi joined me at her parents’ house in Yorba Linda for her mum’s 60th birthday and surprise party. My role in the surprise was minor and slightly embarrassing (I had to hide in the toilet so that we wouldn’t leave the house too early) but I was happy to play my part. Happy birthday!
We also escaped a bobcat. That’s two wild animals which haven’t killed us so far.
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